Top 10: Picking golf’s top TV talkers

Top 10: Picking golf’s top TV talkers

Uncategorized

Top 10: Picking golf’s top TV talkers

Who is your favorite golf announcer?

That’s a popular topic of conversation among those of us who spend far too many of our weekend hours watching far too many flat-bellies joylessly shooting 66s. I got to thinking about it again after the staffs of Sporting News and SportsBusiness Journal recently published their list of the top 25 football broadcasters.

I thought SN/SBJ nailed their top two picks – CBS college analyst Gary Danielson was No. 1, followed by NBC’s lead NFL analyst, Cris Collinsworth.

Their assessment of Danielson: “He explains it before most of us have seen it.” If I were picking that list, I’d say something similar about Danielson; each Saturday during the fall, I’m struck by his almost-clairvoyant comments on strategy. That’s what I want from an analyst: someone who gives me better insight into what I’m watching rather than resorting to clichés. Danielson and play-by-play man Verne Lundquist (No. 8) are so good together they even manage to make those weekly 13-10 Southeastern Conference scrums seem exciting.

I could quibble with the SN/SBJ list in other places. Al Michaels seems too high at No. 3, and Ron Jaworski is way, way too low at No. 16. But it’s not a bad list.

It inspired me to put together a list of my favorite golf announcers. I’ll limit my list to 10 since the pool of golf broadcasters isn’t as deep as it is in football.

<!—->

Here’s one man’s very humble opinion:

1. Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel – Whether he’s working in the studio or the 18th tower, Chamblee’s take on issues always is worth hearing. Thoughtful, provocative and persuasive. He’s “The Natural.”

2. David Feherty, CBS – His wit sometimes causes viewers to overlook his wisdom. He’s TV’s sharpest on-course announcer. Unlike colleague Gary McCord, Feherty has found a happy balance between levity and insightful commentary.

3. Johnny Miller, NBC – In past years, he probably would have finished first on this list. He still makes for must-listening, though I sense that he too often relies on intuition rather than informed analysis.

4. Dottie Pepper, Golf Channel/NBC – She’s the type of announcer I always hoped Lanny Wadkins would be when he worked for CBS – a fiery player who adapts well to broadcasting. Her decision to cut back her schedule in 2010 and work only for NBC is a blow to Golf Channel.

5. Paul Azinger, ESPN – He initially developed a substantial fan base several years ago when paired with Nick Faldo on ABC. I actually thought his work was markedly better – crisper, more assured commentary – following his Ryder Cup captaincy.

6. Curt Byrum, Golf Channel – If you told me I could watch only one tour each week, I’d pick the Nationwide Tour, and the underrated Byrum is a big reason why.

<!—->

7. Nick Faldo, CBS/Golf Channel – He suffers from erratic performances. There are times when his work is good enough to be ranked No. 1 here, and other weeks when he wouldn’t even sniff this list. He needs to bring his “A” game to the booth more often.

8. Judy Rankin, ESPN – Count me among those who have a soft spot for Miss Judy. She has a reputation as a hard worker and it shows in the quality of her commentary.

9. Peter Kostis, CBS – His swing analyses alone might be enough to earn him a spot on this list. His post-round interviews are painful to watch, but his on-course analysis is spot-on.

10. Frank Nobilo, Golf Channel – He probably suffers when compared to his sidekick, Chamblee. But his work is steady, and I sense that he still has a big upside if Golf Channel pushes him harder.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home