Thoughts on Golf Channel's Prez Cup coverage
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Some thoughts on Day One television coverage of the Presidents Cup:
7:02 p.m. ET – I arrive home to find that my undependable DVR didn’t record the first hour of Golf Channel’s three-hour “Live from the Presidents Cup” pre-game show. I should be angry, but in truth, I’m relieved.
2011 Presidents Cup: Day 1 in pictures
A look at the foursome matches from Thursday in Melbourne, Australia.
Photos: On the eve of the Presidents Cup
Images from the Opening Ceremonies and the final practice day before the Presidents Cup kicks off at Royal Melbourne.
7:15 - Charlie Rymer channels Vince Lombardi as he gives an imaginary pep talk to the International team: “Adam Scott, you’re one of the nicest guys to ever play the PGA Tour. You’re not going to be nice this week. . . . Get up on the first tee, look Stevie Williams right in the eye and say, ‘Today you’re going to carry the bag and shut up.’ ”
7:16 – Wardrobe, please! Emergency! The off-putting plaid tie worn by GC’s Jason Sobel tells you all you need to know about why some guys were meant to sit in front of a camera, and others were meant to sit in front of a laptop.
7:17 – Brandel Chamblee on Rymer’s rant: “I think all that screaming is going to scare those (International) guys. They’re going to be tighter than Dick Cheney’s left ventricle.”
7:34 – Chamblee, who plays a psychologist on TV, theorizes that Woods and Williams were such a good team for more than a decade because of their shared animosity toward, well, everything and everyone. “It’s palpable when you talk to Steve Williams. It’s palpable when Tiger Woods does an interview with Jimmy Roberts and Jimmy brings up the slump. When Bob Macatee doesn’t phrase a question right, the animosity is there. When Peter Kostis has broken down his golf swing, the animosity is there. I don’t know. It’s palpable.”
8:00 – Hmmm, decision time. Two MAC football games are about to kick off on ESPN and ESPN2. Normally I can’t get enough of these weekly 72-69 shootouts. I briefly consider bolting golf and coming back at halftime, but that wouldn’t bode well for meeting my 2 a.m. deadline.
8:07 – Chamblee properly tsk-tsks those who fret that the Presidents Cup suffers because the U.S. has dominated to date. “The Presidents Cup has not really traveled,” Chamblee said. “Only twice has it left North America, and the U.S hasn’t won either one of them.”
8:37 – GC’s John Hawkins refers to the Woods-Ernie Els playoff in 2003 as “one of the great moments in Presidents Cup history,” which is true, though it still sounds odd talking about the “history” of an event that is only 17 years old – sort of like waxing nostalgic about the professional career of Rickie Fowler.
8:39 – Still troubled by Sobel’s tie. There’s still time to run over to the Saks outlet and get him a replacement before his next on-air segment.
8:55 – I note that Chamblee is sporting a natty pink tie in what appears to be a crisp Prince Albert knot. Maybe he could give Sobel a few fashion tips. C’mon, Brandel, help a brother out!
9:04 – We’re approaching the opening kickoff. GC analyst Curt Byrum, getting his shot as the leading man, says “Stevie Williams and Tiger buried the hatchet last week.” Hmmm, I’m not so sure. We’ll come back to that.
9:06 - We’re under way, and already we see a good early decision by Captain Couples: The solid blue-on-white pairing assures the U.S. of uniform fashion supremacy on Day One.
9:19 – The first group just reached the first green, and I’m already yawning. This is going to be a long alternate-shot session.
9:24 – Charl Schwartzel’s opening drive dings a spectator who literally is standing one step off the fairway. It’s like they’re having an Occupy Royal Melbourne demonstration on the first fairway.
9:53 – We see a close-up of the green surface as Geoff Ogilvy holes a 35-footer on No. 3. Even on TV, the green looks harder than my kitchen tiles. Cleaner, too.
10:03 – Woods and Williams share a decidedly awkward first-tee handshake. Williams appears reluctant to extend his hand, while Woods’ expression is more along the lines of, “Have we met before?”
10:06 – Anchor Terry Gannon says Woods and Williams “talked it out” at the Australian Open. They sure don’t look like two guys who “talked it out” or “buried the hatchet.”
10:39 – As K.J. Choi turns his back to the hole to putt on No. 3, GC’s David Feherty says, “I gotta tell you, I’m not seeing that much break in it.” The ball curves about 110 degrees and stops a foot short of the cup.
11:04 – Dottie Pepper suggests that Dustin Johnson “is overthinking things the way he did at the Ryder Cup last year.” Johnson has never struck me as the sort of guy who overthinks anything.
11:51 - Byrum asks GC’s David Feherty why Aussies tend to be good bunker players. Feherty says it’s not just bunker shots, but “less-than-perfect lies, whereas Americans are used to playing from one perfect surface to another. These kids (Australians) grew up playing on golf courses that weren’t in such great shape.” Adam Scott subsequently stiffs a long bunker shot to save par.
12:06 a.m. – Gannon calls it “a shocker” that Woods and Steve Stricker are 5 down through nine holes. There’s a fleeting thought: Maybe it was Williams, not Woods, who intimidated opponents all those years. Maybe? Nah. . .
12:37 – Scott and K.J. Choi close out Woods and Stricker, 7 and 6. In a post-round interview, Steve Williams calls it “the greatest victory of my career.” OK, that didn’t actually happen, but I had you going, right?
1:53 – Gannon throws it over to the "Live from the Presidents Cup" post-game show. That's my cue to hit the send button on this story, then hit the sack.
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