Perhaps the only thing more disappointing than Team USA’s performance on day one was the coverage for the United States audience. Coverage critiques should never be a part of this recap email, but NBC’s effort on Friday was so atrocious that it has to be mentioned. The commercial load was heavy and coverage of the actual golf was pathetic. In the morning session, NBC struggled to convey what was happening in the four alternate-shot matches where only eight golf balls are in play. To me, it’s not too much to ask for a telecast to be able to follow eight golf balls.
In the afternoon, it was much the same. Golfers like Sam Ryder, Tony Finau, Derek Jeter, Michael Block and Annika Sorenstam had more airtime through their commercials than many of the players in the competition. It’s sad when golf fans dramatically alter their life schedules to watch perhaps the most exciting event in the sport and a network makes it challenging to enjoy the product. Anyone who woke up at 1:30 AM wanted to watch golf shots. Instead, they were served ads and prepackaged segments. Making a successful golf telecast isn’t rocket science. It’s simple: show the shots and let fans follow the matches.
Hopefully coverage will get better over the weekend, but I don’t have much confidence. In the future, perhaps golf fans’ only hope is that the rapidly diminishing number of cable subscribers prompts some sort of change in the philosophy of TV golf coverage. Until the bottom falls out, it seems that NBC will only get worse.
This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.