Presidents Cup: Blowout puts NBC telecast in a bind

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Presidents Cup: Blowout puts NBC telecast in a bind

PGA Tour

Presidents Cup: Blowout puts NBC telecast in a bind

Some observations from Day 3 coverage of the Presidents Cup:

Perhaps the most memorable moment in 10-plus hours of coverage was a rules violation. Jordan Spieth got dinged for touching Louis Oosthuizen’s ball while it still was in motion on No. 12. That gave the International team a 1-up lead in that match.

Predictably, it was irrelevant. Spieth and partner Patrick Reed rallied to close out the match on the 17th hole.

Anchor Dan Hicks said, “I know that the score’s lopsided right now, but it’s still entertaining stuff.”

Actually, it wasn’t. From a TV producer’s standpoint, there’s not really much you can do under these circumstances. If a producer is working an entertaining, competitive game, his job simply is not to screw it up. If it’s a mediocre game, you just try to present it competently, perhaps with a few flourishes. If you’re handed a Presidents Cup that might be decided before the final session, you’re pretty much hosed.

When Hicks noted the U.S. team hoped to close out the matches before Sunday singles, Johnny Miller deadpanned, “That wouldn’t really help our ratings too much tomorrow.”

Hicks laughed, but tried to salvage it, saying, “But the singles is always good stuff.”

Miller agreed, half-heartedly: “Yeah, it will be. It’s good stuff. Even today was nothing but fun.”

Nice try, guys, but we’re not buying it.

The only remaining questions are: Did the U.S. team just kill the Presidents Cup? And, how many “Landslide” headlines will we see in recaps of this Presidents Cup?

Scroll appears! … momentarily

You know what I saw late in the day? A small, scrolling scoreboard popped up out of nowhere, showing the day’s results. As I noted on Day 1, I believe a scrolling scoreboard should be on screen throughout the matches to keep viewers updated and save them from following along on a second screen.

Oddly, however, no sooner had the scoreboard popped up Saturday, it disappeared. So I have to wonder: Why show it just once, out of the blue? Why not show it all the time, much like we see in coverage of every other sport?

Heritage feature hits home

Between sessions Saturday, NBC aired an essay by Jimmy Roberts on the heritage of Presidents Cup players. It was inspired by the presence of the Statue of Liberty and the millions of immigrants who legally have entered the country through Ellis Island.

The piece struck a pleasing chord given the sorry state of the media coverage on hot topics such as immigration and the NFL flag protests. Leave it to an immigrant, International captain Nick Price, to express why the U.S., for all its imperfections, remains a powerful magnet: “So many millions of people have looked upon (the Statue of Liberty) as exactly what it is – just freedom, liberty and free speech. I think that’s what this country is all about.”

Why no Jersey City love?

A colleague was griping to me Saturday about the announcers’ constant references to Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the scenic setting. It hadn’t really bothered me; after all, that is what Liberty National is all about. If it weren’t situated just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, it would be just another nice private club.

However, it would be interesting if, rather than constantly showing us the New York backdrop to the east, NBC occasionally would turn its cameras westward toward the Jersey City, N.J., neighborhood where Liberty National is located. The pictures of Manhattan suggest Liberty National is just another amenity for well-heeled New Yorkers, and that’s largely true. But it’s an anomaly in Jersey City, which is – how to put this nicely – not quite as prosperous as New York. Those images wouldn’t be as stirring as the Statue of Liberty, but the contrast would be striking.

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