TV blog: More quiet on the set isn't such a bad idea

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TV blog: More quiet on the set isn't such a bad idea

Golf

TV blog: More quiet on the set isn't such a bad idea

If you follow politics, you almost certainly have heard the saying, “People are policy.” It’s an indisputable truism, and it applies to pretty much every realm of professional life.

We saw an example of it during Golf Channel’s coverage of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Golf Channel has made a greater effort this year to capture on-course audio. Without question, the LPGA crew has done the best job of executing on that strategy.

So it’s probably not surprising that the week when Golf Channel did its best job to date of capturing on-course audio at a PGA Tour event, it was the week when three regulars from the channel’s LPGA crew – anchor Terry Gannon and course reporters Kay Cockerill and Jerry Foltz – were on the call. A fourth announcer, Curt Byrum, has spent a little time covering the LPGA, and director John DelVecchio also directs LPGA coverage.

Gannon set the tone in the first round when he shushed David Duval so viewers could listen to Keith Mitchell discuss his approach to No. 9 with his caddie, Pete Persolja.

We heard Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie, Tim Tucker, talk about hitting a draw on No. 5 (kudos to Cockerill for having the discipline to remain silent when Byrum asked her to pick up the call).

A few minutes later on No. 6, Zach Johnson was heard questioning a yardage: “I’ve got more than that. I’ve got a lot more than that. I’ve got 80, 85 (yards) even. Do you think there’s enough help for an 80-yard shot?” His caddie, Damon Green, apparently assured him there was. There wasn’t, however, and Johnson ended up in a bunker.

“Don’t plug! Don’t plug!” Johnson yelled as his ball fell short.

We heard Graeme McDowell discussing where he wanted to leave his second shot on No. 5 and whether he had enough club to carry that front bunker on No. 6. “A good, solid one is definitely giving you clearance,” caddie Ken Comboy assured him. That transitioned to McDowell’s playing partner, Pat Perez, asking his caddie, Michael Hartford, “This is that pin on Sunday last year, isn’t it?” (Perez won at Mayakoba last fall.) Hartford confirmed it was.
“What are you thinking, like seven to eight (yards) down?” Perez asked, referring to the wind.

“Off the right, mostly, with a little help,” Hartford said.

That was followed by DeChambeau and Tucker discussing how to play a shot on No. 7 from behind a cenote, which required him to get the ball airborne quickly.

“No chance you can get that up (over the cenote)?” Tucker asked.

“I could hit a cut 3-wood, honestly, but what the heck?” DeChambeau said before laying up.

This was all within the first 45 minutes of the first round. And it continued throughout the weather-plagued coverage Friday and Saturday.

There’s no question it’s a little easier to get good on-course audio at a boutique event such as the OHL Classic, with its small crowds and relaxed atmosphere.

Still, to this viewer, this coverage was textbook stuff. This should be required viewing for anyone in the Golf Channel/NBC orbit when discussing how to cover live golf.

The Golf Channel had time to kill Saturday before play resumed following a weather delay. Some of that time was spent discussing Patrick Cantlay’s first Tour victory last week. Duval made some good points, expanding on a theme we’ve heard him discuss with regard to his 2001 British Open victory.

“(Cantlay will) recognize that he probably didn’t play perfect golf,” Duval said. “And you really, truly don’t need to do that. Sometimes out here, with the technology, all the teaching, all the gurus, you can fall into that trap of trying to play perfect. And you forget it’s a game, a game of artistry. You’ve got to hit golf shots, you’ve got to adapt to the situation.”

As I noted last week, Duval sometimes is mentioned as a possible successor to Johnny Miller. I think he, like Brandel Chamblee, probably is better suited to the studio or other venues in which he has the chance to flesh out his thoughts. But his observation on Cantlay was an example of why he’s an interesting voice.

Just a bit over the top

Duval drew a laugh Saturday when Hunter Mahan snap-hooked his tee shot badly on the par-3 15th. “That looked like a little bit over the top,” Duval said of Mahan’s swing. When Mahan’s iron shot landed about 60 yards left of the pin, Duval added, “That was, uh, awful. That was just a really bad golf shot.”

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