Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 10:46 am
ORLANDO, Fla. -- An interesting posting apppeared today on Deadspin, the snarky sports website that frequently offers a good bit of insight into the inner workings of the media business.
This time, the Golf Channel is in Deadspin's crosshairs.
If the report is true, then the networks mega-promoted new Morning Drive crew, which began broadcasting just 2 1/2 months ago, has become a tight little circle pretty quickly.
A Golf Channel spokesman declined to confirm, deny or comment on the report.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:25 pm
MARANA, Ariz. -- For those who believed there's something of a rift forming between Europe and America in the golf world, the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship did nothing to minimize the belief that the U.S. is far too insular in its view of the game.
Viewers of the Golf Channel's feed in the U.K., watching on Sky Sports, were sending out reams of emails and Twitter comments late Wednesday complaining that several key European players were barely included in the daylong coverage of the opening round.
World No. 1 Lee Westwood even joined the frey, chiding the Golf Channel with a Twitter message for all but ignoring his victory over Henrik Stenson. Little of the match between Martin Kaymer and Seung-Yul Noh was broadcast, either, viewers complained.
"I think it shows a general lack of respect," said Chubby Chandler, the manager for Westwood and several other top seeds, including Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy.
Chandler said broadcasters in the U.K. were apologizing to viewers for not showing Westwood's match in particular. Chandler conceded that as a U.S. media outlet, he understood why there was an emphasis placed on the Americans in the field, but given this is a World Golf Championships event being beamed all over the planet, focusing on a certain spectrum isn't going to feed the growing appetite for the game abroad, he said.
Chandler said the emails and Twitter messages were flying fast and furious, by the hundreds, and that his agency received one from a U.K. viewer that said, "I suppose they will have a camera tomorrow at Isleworth."
That's a not-so-veiled crack about the home track of Tiger Woods, who was eliminated Wednesday in the first round by Thomas Bjorn. Most of the shots in that match were broadcast.
Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 11:07 am
Gray, a free-lance reporter who long has been known for his bold reportorial style, was benched Friday by the network after players and caddies in Dustin Johnson's threesome complained after Gray questioned Johnson during live play in the first round of the Northern Trust Open.
Johnson arrived late for his tee time Thursday morning and was penalized two shots, a story that became a headline during the first round. Gray spoke briefly with Johnson during the middle of his round and asked questions about why he was late to the tee, then reported Johnson's remarks on the network's pregame show.
Bobby Brown, Johnson's caddie, was particularly upset about the interruption, which came on the back nine. As a general rule, reporters do not speak with players during live play unless the player initiates the discussion. Certainly in matters relating to more emotional issues, like rules issues or the gaffe that nearly got Johnson disqualified, that unwritten editorial tenet would doubly apply.
An agitated Brown profanely complained to reporters after the round and to Gray directly about the interruption. Playing partners Steve Stricker and D.A. Points were also said to angered by Gray's decision to question Johnson during live play.
The network issued a formal statement Friday: "Our focus is to provide the best possible golf coverage for our viewers. Anything else is a disservice. In order to avoid further distraction, we've decided to remove Jim from this particular assignment."
Posted on: March 21, 2010 8:29 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2010 8:43 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Five minutes?
Five hours might not have been enough.
After four months of refusing to answer questions, issuing parsed website statements crafted by unknown parties, and reading from honed scripts before a handpicked audience, Tiger Woods actually deigned to answer questions on Sunday.
Still, the choreography continued.
Offering invaluable access that few would dare refuse, the Golf Channel and ESPN accepted invitations onto the grounds of his home course, Isleworth Country Club, for exclusive interviews. But there was a catch: The exiled world No. 1 gave Kelly Tilghman and Tom Rinaldi a total of five minutes each to ask questions, the first he has fielded throughout the whole seamy, sordid affair.
It’s not nearly enough.
The Woods interviews were aired simultaneously on the two networks at 7:30 p.m., at the exact moment that Jim Furyk was winning for the first time in 2½ seasons, at the PGA Tour’s rain-delayed Transitions Championship in Tampa. Just like he did with the Accenture Match Play Championship, Woods inhaled another event in one selfish and ill-timed gulp.
Tilghman and Rinaldi threw questions at Woods as though they were competing in the lightning-round of a network game show. He bobbed, weaved, kept working religion into the equation, he admitted that he had screwed up in transcendent fashion.
“I’ve had a lot of low points,” Woods told Rinaldi. “Just when I thought the low points could not get lower, it got lower.”
Surprisingly, neither network asked Woods about his relationship to the Canadian doctor who has ties to HGH use and is the subject of an investigation in two countries. They didn't ask if he had been interviewed by the FBI.
“It’s all in the police report,” he said, claiming the rest is between he and his wife, Elin.
Actually, it isn’t all in the report. He never talked to the Florida Highway Patrol about what happened, his blood-test results (if any were taken) were not made available and he wasn’t asked about whether he had taken sleeping pills before the crash, which means he dodged a possible DUI charge.
Despite mentioning several times that he remains in outpatient rehabilitation, he declined to state the nature of his affliction. It has been variously reported that he underwent treatment for sex addiction, and to overcome a reliance on prescription medications.
“That’s a private matter as well,” he told ESPN.
Woods also denied that anybody in his camp had knowledge of his affairs, even though multiple reports have indicated otherwise. The head of his design group, Bryon Bell, has been named in multiple TMZ reports as having set up rendezvous with various women.
The two interviews were taped Sunday afternoon on the deck of the clubhouse at Isleworth, where on Monday, the Tavistock Cup matches will be played. Thursday, the Arnold Palmer Invitational begins and he is the two-time defending champion and a six-time winner.
“I miss the game. I wasn’t ready for Tavistock or Bay Hill. I started too late with my preparation,” he told Golf Channel.
CBS was contacted and also asked if it was interested in interviewing Woods, but the network passed because of the five-minute ground rules.
“Depending on the specifics, we are interested in an extended interview without any restrictions on CBS,” network spokesperson LeslieAnne Wade said.
Good luck with that. Woods is still pulling the strings, issuing quotes in dollops and dashes, and he’s already indicated that answers will not be forthcoming on several key fronts.
Yet despite the brief window, Tilghman and Rinaldi got some seemingly frank admissions out of Woods, though he’s bent the truth beyond comprehension before, so it’s going to be impossible to tell if we’re being played again.
Selected nuggets tossed at Golf Channel:
“I tried to stop and couldn’t stop. It was horrific … You become disgusted.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do [about playing in events after the Masters]. That, to me, is a little bit bothersome.”
At one point, Woods admitted to Rinaldi that he can’t be sure how spectators will react given that thousands feel personally betrayed by his actions, or are furious that he turned out to be a false idol to their kids.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said. “I’m a little nervous about that. It would be nice to hear a couple of claps.”
“It was disgusting behavior. It’s hard to believe that was me looking back on it now,” he said to Tilghman. “I take ownership of it. Nobody else did it.”
Albeit, ownership on the five-minute installment plan.
Posted on: February 16, 2010 5:57 pm
There several so-called “beginnings” to the golf season. For some, it’s when the PGA Tour stages its season opener in Hawaii. For others, it’s when the tour hits the mainland at Torrey Pines, where the stars usually show up to play.
Some say it’s when the Florida Swing begins, or when the first major of the year is held in April at the Masters.
What about this week?
Not only is the first big-money World Golf Championships event on the docket, so is an opposite event on the PGA Tour outside Cancun, Mexico. Moreover, the LPGA is staging its season opener, with a stacked field, in Thailand, in its first season of a new 10-year deal with the Golf Channel.
For the latter, with European and Champions tour footage to crowbar into the mix as well, this means it’s O.D. time for remote-control-punching couch potatoes.
All this over five days, too.
Just for the sake of you chair jockeys, here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the first-run Golf Channel coverage plans for the week (Note: The Accenture Match Play semifinals and finals will be televised on CBS on Saturday and Sunday).