First off, if you have not watched the replay, by all means do so. Thanks to Geoff Shackelford for publicizing the availability of the video.
You know the details of the tournament play, so I’ll skip all that. No need to rehash the greatest tournament in golf history. What astonished me was the quality of the broadcast. I highly praised the Golf Channel/Gannon/Rankin coverage of the Dinah Shore yesterday. I found many similarities between that coverage and this 1986 Masters coverage. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Dinah Shore coverage marked a change of direction for golf broadcasts?
As you read these points, think about the people who erroneously claim Nicklaus got outrageously obsessive coverage when he was playing, that he dominated coverage to the detriment of the rest of the field and the broadcast itself.
- Jack was mentioned in the opening as a past winner along with Arnold Palmer and several others. Less than ten seconds were spent on him. He started the day T-9, four shots off the lead.
- After 24 minutes (commercials were stripped, so it was probably longer), Nicklaus gets his first real mention. He birdied No. 9 to go 1-under on the day.
- On No. 10, only his putt was shown. Another birdie.
- On No. 11, only his putt was shown. Another birdie.
- The massive gallery at No. 12 saw Nicklaus bogey the hole. Starting with this hole, CBS began showing more of Nicklaus.
- At the 1:37:30 mark of the video, note the leaderboard. Nicklaus was listed third of the three players at -5. CBS did not screw over the other players and artificially push his name up the leaderboard.
- At the 1:42:50 mark, they show the leaderboard again, verifying they did not artificially push Nicklaus up the leaderboard.
- Nantz is a darn kid! He looks 15 years old.
- Sandy Lyle, whose caddie this week, someone recently informed me, will be Esteban Toledo, was Nicklaus’s playing partner that Sunday thirty years ago.
- There were a very limited number of replays. (Graphics were even more limited.) What we got instead were more live shots and an incredible flow to the tournament.
- I don’t think I heard a single, “He pushed that one, Rog,” or, “Rog, it looks like he pulled it.” That seems to be de rigueur on every putt nowadays, accompanied by a slow motion replay of the putt, of course. Because that is so, uh, fascinating and enlightening and all.
- There was no Amateur Night at the Comedy Club shtick. The closest thing to it was when Gary Player commented that Seve’s short game was like a locksmith (or something like that) and a couple of the announcers made little puns. Far and away, priority one was coverage of the tournament.
The lesson for broadcasters: Less is more. Broadcasters nowadays destroy tournament flow by cramming in too much useless, superfluous nonsense. They assault you with sizzle — and never serve the steak.