News & Opinion

What’s not to Love about CBS move? Plenty

Davis Love III US PGA Championship 2015
Davis Love III

Hawk & Rude deliver 2 thumbs down on ouster of Gary McCord and Peter Kostis, despite cautious optimism for Davis Love III

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Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Jeff Rude are co-hosts of a weekly podcast, Hawk & Rude, in which they discuss and debate the hottest issues in golf. They also share their takes in this weekly installment.

Do you agree with CBS Sports’ decision to fire Gary McCord and Peter Kostis, then hire Davis Love III?

Hawk’s take: Dumb move. Why would anyone trade two perennial all-stars for a rookie with a modest ceiling? Why does a dog lick his private parts? Because he can, which seems to be the case here with CBS honcho Sean McManus. It’s his job to shake things up when necessary, and for all the times those things end up becoming better, there’s also a good chance they’ll blow up in your face. McCord was unique, irreverent and consistently funny. Kostis was the best in the business when it came to on-the-spot swing diagnosis.

Those were irreplaceable parts at a network telecast showing signs of distress. Love is one of the nicest and most likeable tour pros I’ve ever met, but nice guys aren’t always so good when it comes to analyzing golf on TV. Ben Crenshaw was a bust during his brief tenure at CBS years ago; DL3 has a lot of Gentle Ben in him. The best analysis is delivered with objective, unfiltered insight, something Johnny Miller perfected during his three decades at NBC, and the lack of such a voice has been haunting CBS for quite a while now.

McManus should have canned the inept Nick Faldo and sweet-talked Phil Mickelson into spending his weekends sitting next to Jim Nantz. Instead, he dumped a couple of old reliables for a glass of warm milk.

Rude’s take: No, neither part. Davis Love III is one of my favorite people. I’ve said many times and written that he is the most affable superstar in sports. I also love my grandma, but I wouldn’t put her in the booth.

Replacing the witty Gary McCord with Love is like replacing Johnny Carson with Mr. Rogers. CBS’ loss of McCord and Feherty over a four-year period alters the tone and tenor of its golf broadcasts, in the form of a downer. The last of the laugh factor just left town, and it looks as if vanilla just arrived in the form of the PGA Tour’s No. 1 company man of the past quarter century.

I hope DL3 proves me wrong and turns into Tony Romo or John Smoltz as an announcer, if not Bob Uecker.

But, the take here is that CBS would have been better off playing the humor card. In the name of infotainment, bring in former Tour players with playful personalities. I would have hired PGA Champion Rich Beem. I’d have given former Masters runner-up Dan Pohl, also blessed with the gift of gab, a look. John Maginnes is another funny man with a brain. And then there’s that famous social-media comic, Phil Mickelson.

You get the idea. Perhaps it’s not too late.