From The Inbox

TV viewing is all a matter of taste

Reader concedes that his favorites behind the mic might not win your OK, but that’s why we have a mute button ... and the 'inbox'

While I generally agree with John Hawkins’ take on CBS golf coverage, it should be pointed out that broadcasters are a matter of personal taste, as one person’s trash is another person’s treasure (“CBS faces widening gap in its golf coverage,” Nov. 19).

I earned a degree in communications/broadcasting, and worked in the sportscasting business for 15 years before settling into the business side of sports. From the time I would watch games as a kid, I would pay attention to what the announcers were saying, how they said it, and what I liked and didn’t like.

Sports announcers should not have their jobs for life. They get comfortable and stale, and too many people equate longevity with greatness. Think: Al Michaels, who now turns an “S” into a “SH” sound. Nobody believes in miracles anymore, Al. Jim Nantz, with his prewritten and rehearsed lines, fits this category, too. Verne Lundquist is a legend, but let’s remember that Ben Wright dropped the original “Yes, sir!” on 15 about 30 minutes before Lundquist recycled it on 17. I’m OK with Nick Faldo’s storytelling and his knowledge of being on the biggest stages in golf. He should be encouraged to tell more tales. Ian Baker-Finch is one of the nicest pro athletes I’ve ever met, but as a golf announcer he’s always finding the silver lining and never too critical of players’ mistakes.

On the NBC side, Mark Rolfing comes across to me as a bit condescending and a stodgy no-fun type. Gary Koch is terribly annoying, starting every analysis with a very breathy and distressed-sounding “…well…,” and is the golf announcer who is most responsible for the dreaded “this was a moment ago…” Paul Azinger is great, kind of Johnny Miller II, but more likable.  I like Mike Tirico anchoring. He is always well-prepared yet still good on the fly.

Don’t forget NBC’s affinity for the foreign accent, as well. David Feherty, Tom Abbott, Craig Perks, Karen Stupples and others work for the Peacock.

The best-case scenario would be a mix of talent from each network, but I’m sure the next “inbox” read will be from someone who likes everyone I do not, and bashes everyone I like. I guess we all have our own mute button to use as we see fit.

Gregg Cook
Mechanicsburg, Pa.
(Cook is the executive director of the Hershey Harrisburg Sports and Events Authority.)

Less talk, more golf
John Hawkins is spot on, except his recommendations don't go far enough (“CBS faces widening gap in its golf coverage,” Nov. 19).

Nick Faldo was unlikable as a player, and his quest to be warm and fuzzy now comes across as fake. Get rid of him. And now to Jim Nantz. He is a pompous windbag full of himself. How many times do we have to endure him droning on and on about nothing? Get rid of him.

For the Masters, bring back Peter Kostis and bring in Tony Romo. For the week-to-week, bring in a hot young female golfer, and use Paul Azinger as your lead guy.

Less talk, more golf.

Wallace Pippin
Grandview, Texas

Masters.com offers best viewing option
I've read the readers’ comments regarding the falling TV ratings for the 2020 Masters Tournament on CBS (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Nov. 20).

Taking into consideration the current interest by all regarding sports viewership in this COVID-19 climate, all TV ratings are dropping, including golf on CBS. It has as much to do with who is doing the broadcasts as well as the format.

NBC’s “Playing Through” picture-in-picture feature while commercials are in progress is as distracting as anything I've seen on sports programming, and if I hear “this just happened a moment ago” one more time, I fear I'll go crazy. This brings me back to the Masters broadcast. Of all the comments I read about CBS' failed attempt to deliver interesting commentary and broadcasting, I did not see any mention of the broadcast that was featured on the Augusta National website Masters.com. This live broadcast was exceptional in so many ways that I cannot list them all. Best of all, the broadcast was commercial-free. I did not watch a single minute of the CBS coverage on network TV and opted instead to stream the live broadcast from Masters.com, and will to do the same come next April.

Augusta National got it right. What a pleasure.

Jim Baker
Schaumburg, Ill.

Mickelson and Rankin would help CBS
John Hawkins had an excellent article regarding CBS golf coverage (“CBS faces widening gap in its golf coverage,” Nov. 19)

Here is a possible answer. Pay Phil Mickelson whatever he wants, but allow him to play if he wants to. Just mic him up for the round. 

He is still my pick probably forever, but he isn't exactly making cuts on the PGA Tour, so this puts him in the booth for the final rounds. And if he does make the cut, his hole-by-hole analysis as he plays would be the most insightful comments on the course ever. He can finish in the booth if he is early enough to get there, unless he wins. Imagine the people watching as a mic-up Mickelson reads the winning putt. The guy loves to talk, and CBS ought to buy into that.

I know CBS might need a backup actually in the booth for other groups, but I am sure that Mickelson would have a suggestion for that, as well. Someone interesting, insightful, funny, definitely not banal or inane, like now. Or get Judy Rankin and just don't allow those idiots she announces with to interrupt her as they do now. Rude, so rude.

I also think they need more golf instruction during the telecast. They could try a really good player or instructor re-creating a difficult shot that is pulled off in the last group. They could re-create, as the last group would have moved on to the next hole and actually provide something useful instead of watching the last group walk down the fairway, again, and yet again. They have the 360-degree-camera view now so they can show ball position and swing metrics and really provide some golf instruction. 

Donald Beck
Phoenix

Calling out Nantz for ‘calling it in’
For too many years, I've been addicted to the writing of John Hawkins. Along the way, I haven't agreed with everything but nonetheless, it's compelling commentary.

Regarding CBS golf coverage (“CBS faces widening gap in its golf coverage,” Nov. 19): I agree with Hawkins’ observations, but there seems to be an issue which no one (including Hawkins) is addressing: Jim Nantz.

He has been “calling it in” for years, and he has become painful to watch/listen.

Marty Seltzer
Palm Springs, Calif.

Dustin Johnson is cool enough to bag your groceries
Dan O’Neill’s column about Dustin Johnson’s quiet demeanor was excellent (“Celebrate Dustin Johnson for what he isn’t: Full of himself,” Nov. 18).

During the baseball playoffs, Ronald Acuna demeaned himself, his teammates and the game with his self-aggrandizing antics. Even when someone else hit a home run, he almost seemed to take credit for it. In football, the touchdown dances seem to have been choreographed. In some cases, more time was spent on the dances than on the actual game. And a good tackle seems cheapened by the chest pounding.

C’mon, it’s your job. Act as if you’ve been here before. You don’t see the bag boy at the supermarket spiking the asparagus into the bag. Why? Because it’s his job.

M. Jo Holker
Englewood, Fla.

Right on
So refreshing and true (“Celebrate Dustin Johnson for what he isn’t: Full of himself,” Nov. 18).

Dino Merced
Sterling, Ill.

Take it easy on Masters and CBS
Alex Miceli shouldn’t be too hard on the Masters and CBS (“Expect golf fans to watch Tiger Woods and son,” Nov. 19).

This is the first time that they had to go up against the NFL. The PGA Tour reconfigured its playoff system to avoid a similar confrontation. Now, had Tiger Woods been in the mix, I think it would have been a fairer fight.

Mike McCoobery 
North Easton, Mass.

Woods should use final 6 holes of Masters as a model
After taking a 10 on No. 12 during the final round of the Masters, Tiger Woods threw caution to the wind and played like he did in his younger days ("Keeping score," Nov. 16).

He can’t afford to play methodical against the younger generation, because he won’t keep up. Let it go like you used to, Tiger.

Sonny Runyan
Eldon, Mo.

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