SI's Richard Deitsch hosted a panel discussion with various sports-TV types about how to improve their product and ESPN Sportscenter anchor John Buccigross delivers a nice rant about golf on television.
Of course, he's airing a common gripe post-Masters about not getting to see all 18 holes of rounds by mega-stars, which is only slightly awkward since his network is the rightsholders and the folks at Augusta National work on one-year contracts. Though it's not like many disagree with him, especially since the digital offerings this year left a lot to be desired with the normally criticism-reducing Featured Groups.
Anyway, Buccigross on televised golf:
Golf telecasts are woefully behind the times and in need of a major overhaul. Shot tracer needs to be utilized on nearly every swing and way too much putting is showed. Also, every major should have 18-hole, four-round coverage. I can watch every Patrick Kane shift, every Marshawn Lynch carry or every Mike Trout at-bat in every game they play if I choose. I should be able to watch all of Tiger Woods shots at a major on my big, beautiful TV. If I have to shell out $29.99 to watch it I will pay it. Golf is concerned about growing the game yet they restrict access to their best golf courses and restrict access to its best players on television.
I can't watch Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy play all 72 holes of a major live here in 2015?
We're only two weeks away from the first Fox Sports golf telecast from Olympic Club and while Fox producer Mark Loomis doesn't reveal much new in this interview with Craig Hill, I continue to think the Fox goal of better putting us in the seat of the golfer looking at the architect's canvas will force all network hands to think twice about camera locations.
A: A lot of times golf is covered from the green back to the tee, because that’s where your biggest cameras are. One of the things we’ve put some energy into is figuring out if we can give you a little better look at what the golfer is seeing. Kind of look from the tee toward the green.
I think we are trying to take advantage of some of the new technology … (such as) drones. Audio has always been a staple for Fox and how can we make the sounds of the golf course better.
You always kind of lose the audio on the green. … How can we get on the green and hear a little bit more about what’s going on?
The main focus is, how can we tell the story about what’s going on on the golf course better? Not just come up with cool tricks.
Q: But there will be cool tricks, right?
A: There is kind of an old saying: “There’s nothing new in television. It’s just people doing the same thing in a different way.” I think the answer to that is that we’ll take some of the technology that people have used over the years, like the tracer.
One of the things we’ve talked about is whenever you see a green on your TV it looks flat, whether it is or isn’t. So, how can we do different things to make the greens come to life so you see them the same way you would if you were standing on them?
If you want to call them cool tricks, that is true, but they are tricks for the sake of making the person at home feel like they are getting a better look at the golf course.