05/29/2015

Fox Sports was awarded a 12-year contract to telecast USGA events starting in 2015– the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. How will they fare?

The biggest event to date will be the broadcasting of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay June 18-21. A great deal has been said about the upcoming tournament and its coverage. Fox Sports has been under the eye of scrutiny. Will they perform one of golf’s staple events in front of the world?

For most of the past year, Tour players and people associated with the PGA Tour have put forth complains about the extreme set-up of the course. And with less than one month before the opening round on June 18, the broadcast team at Fox Sports is still working to find their own game and be tournament ready.

At the recent U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships, the golfing world was given an idea of what to expect on the Fox broadcast. It left most people wondering what the network had been doing the past 21 months since being award the contract with the United States Golf Association.

They used the telecast as a test run, wind-direction and speed were rarely used–an obvious omission, as the tournament was played on seaside links. They used a graphic depicting the yards that was very good, but it was rarely used as well. The team would do themselves a service by providing more of that.

Read this piece on Global Golf Post about Fox Sports

The camera angles were not interesting, no graphics were shown to illustrate the contours of the greens and no conversation could be heard from the players or caddies. That is big part of amateur golf – the communication between teammates, players and their caddies. Fox Sports struggled to provide it.

Too often, the camera remained on groups that were preparing to line up putts or players remained on the tee waiting to tee off, when the telecast could have jumped over to other matches in action. This was an oversight I’m sure will be corrected come U.S. Open time.

More of the Fox Sports team:

  • Joe Buck will be the lead anchor for the telecast. A football and baseball guy, Buck has learned the cadence for golf is a bit different, a bit more mellow
  • Greg Norman will be the lead analyst, and even though he might not be a renowned television personality, his knowledge of the game and how tough majors are will come into play often.
  • Shane O’Donoghue will help keep fans listening with this Irish flair and zest
  • Juli Inkster was a bit disappointing during the Women’s Four-Ball, she’ll need work come U.S. Open time to see ample TV time.
  • Brad Faxon will figure prominently in the telecast and he should. He is very knowledgeable with Golf Channel experience and will be a big asset.
  • Holly Sonders will be a necessary addition too, whereas she is good on-camera (long-time host of Morning Drive) and knows the game as a former player and employee of the Golf Channel

Faxon said following the telecast of the Four-Ball Championships that the telecast was not very good. He said they all met afterwards and knew they must get better as they will have the collective golf world focused on them in June.

Regardless, U.S. Open golf will be the highlight.

Let’s just hope–no matter how much effort the Fox Sports team puts in–that they remember that.