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Sunday
Jan172016

Shark! Greg Norman Out At Fox, Azinger In?

That's what Links Magazine is reporting on Twitter and I can confirm from a second well-placed source.

That source could not confirm, however, that Paul Azinger will be announced as Greg Norman's replacement after just a year as Fox golf's lead analyst. However, Azinger has gone very quiet of late on Twitter and has been widely rumored in recent days to be talking to Fox.

Furthermore, Azinger worked with Fox golf producer Mark Loomis when the trio of Mike Tirico-Nick Faldo and Azinger was widely revered for their fresh, fun and smart approach.

Azinger has most recently been lead analyst on ESPN's golf telecasts, but with the network down to just The Masters, his much-needed smart approach to players, championships, courses and the golf swing would be a great addition to Fox. Azinger will be an enormous upgrade over Norman, whose first year was marked largely by sounding unprepared, appearing unaware of players who were born outside Australia, and most of all, seeming very impressed with former World No. 1 Greg Norman.

If you're nostalgic, here is the Shark's first suggestion he would be Fox's lead man on USGA coverage, just hours after the announcement had been made.

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Reader Comments (41)

Of all the topless photos and assorted others (on the ranch or with the bust) shown of the Shark on this site the past few years, this one may be the most bizarre.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Geoff, after hearing his 30 minute dissertation on jason days ear crystals....... Now can we do a 2fer and rid ourselves of joe Buck
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel creek
Now if Joe Buck can get his act together...
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterN Johnson
Norman has always been the leading money winner on the ( I love me tour). Makes a great golf shirt and lousy wine
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel creek
Should have been Joe Buck
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterBen
So does this means Fox has another year of excuses that their coverage missed the mark because everyone is getting used to working with Azinger?
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterJjhardy
Let's see. Norman not prepared. Hmmm.. Divorced in 2008 married Chris evert in 2009 divorced her in 2010 and remarried another woman later in 2010.. I think he's little distracted
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel creek
I hope this is true, Azinger is fantastic.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo
They both suck
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterMac
Zinger is one of the best in the business, very refreshing and full of great knowledge. I always enjoy his commentary.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterMark
Anyone surprised?

Yes/no.

No here. I think he realized this was a bad idea from the start. Only my opinion.

Azinger will be better, I agree. He does have off days though, that can be pretty bad, but don't we all.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I like Azinger's work in the booth....good news.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Skippy, your resident insider, is a genius:
http://tinyurl.com/zucyese
Everything he predicted last April came to pass and will soon be verified.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterSkippy
Pretty darn impressive Skippy!!
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Great stuff Skippy! Fox has to absolutely nail Normans successor in the booth. Can they do it?

Wonder what kind of out, if any, the USGA negotiated into the deal? They had to negotiate one right?

If they didn't this has the makings of a long 11 years to go on the contract. Likely doesn't matter to the USGA as long as the checks/wires from Uncle Rupert keep clearing.

You know for the good of the game.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
Skippy, impressive call.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered Commentermeefer
Mark Loomis will try to get his best bud Faxon in the booth but there's no way they will go for that. Zinger will be an upgrade. Issue was Zinger and Norman hate each other. Lots of people and Norman hate each other.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterAK47
Skippy, you nailed that in April 2014 (not last year). Nice job.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterKevin part deux
Skippy +1

Can't decide if that is a picture of Judge Smails or Ted Baxter.
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Good work by you Skippy!

Who you like in the upcoming Broncos/Patriots game?!
01.17.2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Bausch
Great call, Skippy!
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
I always wondered about the puff piece that appeared in one of the golf mags about three months before the USGA announcement on Fox is being given TV rights. It cast Norman as this wonderful, thoughtful taste maker and exemplar of Australian culture, and just an all-around good fellow. It struck me that is being really out of the blue, and took several months before I made the connection between the article and the subsequent announcement by the USGA on Fox. Makes me wonder who was greasing whose palm. I remember Skippy's comment at the time of the announcement and being impressed by the detailed thinking about how Norman's apparently fragile persona would handle a more normal, if still high pressure, job.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterMHF
Another victory for Faldo vs Norman. Greg should be happy that he doesn't make wine or he'd lose to Nick at that also.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Yes, Skippy was all over it. Why even take the job when you become bored easy and need full control of your living brand? Self-promotion can be a double-edged sword if you do a poor job. I may be completely off on this because of not following him. I know, it's a sin. Does Greg have or did he ever have "giving back to the game" initiatives? I've heard him say the words. Keep in mind the question is framed in the view of the public. Not his.

Laurel creek - The initial wine releases were really good. Luck or a hook? The quality has suffered since.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
DMac, I'm in the wine business he's cut corners since his first release.. Even his california varietals stink.. I do buy his shirts at tiburon. Awesome. He should stick to that..
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel creek
"Wonder what kind of out, if any, the USGA negotiated into the deal? They had to negotiate one right?"

The USGA do not want out -- the money is way too big.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
From Van Sickle's piece: "Many TV execs felt Norman dropped the ball during the drama on the 72nd hole in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. After Dustin Johnson played an exquisite 5-iron shot to the green and then three-putted for a bogey to lose the Open to Jordan Spieth, Norman said very little to set up the situation or explain it."

In another time, an announcer would have been lauded for just letting the events play out without a lot hype and overthink. I often get bugged by the way broadcasters overanalyze every putt. Thus i felt it was OK to not wear us out with detail during Johnson's unraveling.

That said, Norman is not a raconteur like Azinger. Norman is more Hail Fellow, Well Met. A cheery guy. But not a teller of tales. I've heard Zinger be tremendously engaging in a small group of people; I've also heard him be pissy and weird. But he's been pretty good at keeping that side off the air, hasn't he?
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaude
Fox really making a mess of this. Surprised a bit, figured they'd do a decent show. But guess they don't have a real golf guy leading this as shows they don't have a clue evidenced by who they hired for their announcing crew. It's like the 'bad news bears'

I said all along, Loomis not the right hire. They didn't to hire a star producer and they need ro. Than all else would've fell in place.

USGA totally f'd this up.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul
The Greg Norman brand clothes stink as well! They are made from inferior textiles and wear quickly. I bought a GN polo a few years ago and had to throw it out after two wears. Good riddance!!
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterRT
USGAs view:

Pros:
A new outlet for TV Golf, which in the future could help create bidding contests as contracts renew
Exposure for second tier events and "history" content that previously did not exist.
Tons more money
Tons more money

Cons:
Fox will have some TV growing pains, and ultimately they might not be as good as NBC was.

I think the USGA is fine with how this is working out.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Great move...Normans weird ego was never going to allow him to do a proper job- that's for the little analysts.
Love Azinger, he was outstanding the last few years at the Open Championship with Turico.
Shame they can't do a one shot deal and dump Buck for Mike,
All in all a big plus.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
I'm not surprised. I predicted on this very site that he would never put the time in to prepare for the telecast the way the best guys do. Their description of it is spot on: he was never engaged in the telecast. Sad part is, I'm sure this cost Fox a pretty penny.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
So Faldo beats Norman again.
Norman will spin it and tell us how by losing he really won.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
BrianS,
The reaction has been awful and that money they are raking in they are spending to run ads on the Golf Channel because they have lost touch with their core audience. So whatever extra cash they got hasn't been worth it to date. Geoff and others lambasted this deal from day one for all of the reasons we are now seeing come out.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterOB
whatever happened to Azinger on Twitter?
Norman was never a good choice but for me the sports broadcast I watch are about the competition not the announcers. I do not ever remember choosing to watch a broadcast because of the analyst. I have watched many broadcasts muted because of the analysts. So at best they add very little but at worst must be eliminated. I have never understood why they are paid so much money. From comments on this sight over the years it appears folks like shot tracer and want more of it. They like other graphic aids or angles that show the 3-d aspects of golf ball flight and the course terrain. Instead we get one or 2 shots and more commercials than we thought possible. No wonder most of my viewing in now taped.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
Thank God! Now if we can lose Joe Buck.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobert M. Young
Thanks for the confirmation of my nose and taste buds, Laurel creek.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
BrianS
The exposure for the second tier events is way off too as a Pro. If you read the sports tv rating blogs, it has been quite interesting the freefall those events did in viewership in year one on Fox. They need the support of The Golf Channel to generate interest by the base. Without that - nobody is looking for these events with limited stars on fox sports. Actually is quite concerning to the USGA that their full slate of championships are being seen by 30-50% less people. No money can make up for insignificance.
01.18.2016 | Unregistered CommenterDraper

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