Golfweek's Review Of CBS's 2016 Masters Coverage

Martin Kaufmann comes down pretty hard on CBS's 2016 Masters coverage. I can't really speak to what the home viewing was like as The Masters provides amazing monitors that allow us to access multiple feeds. I will say that Lee Westwood's amazing 15th hole eagle chip in that got him within one of Danny Willett took an excruciating amount of time to show.

And there was this, a huge issue in the eyes of most viewers if polls and social media are to be believed about the #1 request of fans. (Apparently they've been using it here since 2013, which would mean they definitely have the club's blessing.)

Beyond that, however, the Masters was noteworthy for its lack of even the most basic technology, such as Protracer. And for all of the talk about the hills and slopes and wild undulations on Augusta National’s greens, we never see any 3-D hole graphics. Similarly, for all of the talk of high winds on Saturday, did we ever see a wind gauge?

Here’s something odd: Sky Sports and the BBC use Protracer and 3-D graphics in their Masters coverage for U.K. viewers. Why is the coverage overseas more sophisticated than what we see in the U.S.?

(A CBS spokeswoman provided no explanation as to why Protracer is not used in the U.S. telecasts.)

Nicklaus: "I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth."

Interesting that Mr. Nicklaus felt compelled to issue a sympathy message.

I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth. He had a chance to do something truly special and something very few have done before—and be the youngest to accomplish that—and he just didn’t pull through. My heart goes out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.

I’ve watched Danny Willett play on television a few times and when I’ve seen him swing the golf club, I have thought, “Well, this young man looks like he’s a pretty darn good player.” He had moved himself up to 12th in the world, so he’s obviously done something right and was playing very good golf coming into Augusta. What impressed me so much is that when he realized he was in a position to win, he finished it—and that’s the mark of a champion: To finish a good round; give yourself an opportunity to win; and when the other fellow doesn’t finish, you’ve got to be there. Danny Willett was and kudos to him. What an amazing couple of weeks for him—from becoming a new father to becoming the latest Masters winner. My congratulations go to Danny for what he did.

Jordan Spieth On The 12th Hole Tee Shot

It's amazing to think that the player who prides himself as a tactician and who has proven himself at a young age to out-think a course fell victim to a tride-and-true axiom of Augusta: do not play toward the 12th hole's Sunday pin placement.

From Spieth's post-round comments:

Just a lapse of concentration on 12 and it cost me.

Q.  How disappointing is this?

JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's a tough one.  I knew the lead was 5 with nine holes to play.  And I knew that those two bogeys weren't going to hurt me.  But I didn't take that extra deep breath and really focus on my line on 12.  Instead I went up and I just put a quick swing on it.

Temptation? Pressure? Poor swing? The genius of the 12th? A little of all the above.

He continued...

Q.  What did you learn today?
    JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean just ‑‑ I learned what I learned in 2014.  And it's just stay committed.  12 is a 150‑yard shot and I feel I can bleed it next to the hole, and it's a stock 9‑iron for me.  But that hole for whatever reason just has people's number.  Stay committed behind the bunker.  That's about ‑‑ it was really one swing.

Video: The 2016 Masters Final Round Aces

It was a hole-in-one-fest on 16! In case you were doing something besides watching the Masters final round.

Starting with Louis Oosthuizen's epic ace gets a full assist from J.B. Holmes:

 

Shane Lowry's 8-iron ace on No. 16:

Davis Love's 16th hole ace:

2016 Masters Final Round Primer And Notes

There was a surreal sight in watching post-round interviews following another tough round three.

The young guns looked spent. The geezer from Germany who has won two of these? Fresh as a camelia.

Christine Brennan on Langer having a chance to win one for the old guys.

Matthew Rudy looks at how Langer is doing it with the unanchored stroke.

Scott Michaux on the showdown fizzling in the difficult conditions.

Sam Weinman notes that McIlroy, amazingly, still has hope.

Rory's 77 was a killer, but he's not out of it. Jim Litke on McIlroy losing ground to Spieth in the aura sense.

GolfDigest.com's crew did manage to find some birdies and bogeys from an ugly Saturday.

The players have a long, excruciating wait Sunday. Steve DiMeglio talks to Rory McIlroy as well as former Masters winners on how they pass the time, including Ben Crenshaw and Nick Faldo.

Kevin Casey at Golfweek.com on Smylie Kaufman and Hideki Matsuyama lurking. Wayne Staats on the Kaufman family and friends following their (young) man around.

Smylie Kaufman's interview with Jim Nantz was a gem according to Luke Kerr-Dineen. I found it veering into Hord Hardin territory.

Billy Horschel experienced a horrible break on 15 in stride, amazingly. I wrote it up for GolfDigest.com. Here is the video posted by The Big Lead.

As Weinman notes, Sky Sports asked for follower questions for Monty and it didn't go well. An #askMonty link for your reading pleasure.

Kindred on DeChambeau. The kid is hanging around, he just can't quite master the par-5s.

Lee Trevino tells Phil Stuckenborg that the players are "gutless" to not fight back against the club's cell phone policy.

Sang Moon Bae
is doing his 21 months of military service in Korea and Gene Wojciechowski goes to Korea to check in with the man who's missing out on this week's Masters.

After a soft first day, ESPN's Friday Masters ratings were strong and up over last year.

ESPN’s live telecast of Round 2 of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 8, earned a 2.2 U.S. household rating, averaging 3.060 million viewers, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media. The telecast aired from 3-7:30 p.m. ET.
 
The rating and viewership rose for the second consecutive year for the Friday telecast, up from a 2.1 rating and an average of 2.952 million viewers in 2015 and a 1.8 rating and an average of 2.465 million viewers in 2014.
 
Viewers were able to watch more than half of the round played by leader Jordan Spieth as he and the other players battled wind and tough scoring conditions in the 80th edition of the Masters.
 
Friday’s telecast peaked with a 2.6 rating and 3.727 million viewers from 5:30-6 p.m. During that time, the telecast followed longtime golf star Tom Watson, competing in his final Masters but not making the cut, as he completed his last round at Augusta with a walk to the 18th green.

Interesting note from SportsTVRatings on Golf Channel Live From coverage vs. ESPN's during the Masters telecast run-up:

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

CBS's coverage in the United States begins at 2 pm ET and is simulcast at Masters.com. Jim Nantz Remembers features Jack Nicklaus at 1 pm.

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 10:50 am ET with Featured Group coverage of Hunter Mahan-Justin Thomas followed by Sergio Garcia-Bubba Watson (10:35), Daniel Berger-Rory McIlroy (1:55 p.m.) and Jason Day-Dustin Johnson (2:25 p.m.).

All other groups and Masters.com coverage info is here in Ward Clayton's five things to look for.

Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 11:45 am ET.

2016 Masters Day Three This And That

Good news! It's not raining and there was no frost this morning at Augusta National.

Bad news? It's cool, the wind is blowing hard (already at 11 am) and the forecaster appears to have nailed this one. It's not looking like the early starters will have much chance to gain an edge, but it won't be pretty late either. The wind forecasts: 12 pm WNW 15-20 G 25-30 mph; 3 pm NW 12-18 G 25; 6 pm NW 10-15 G 20 mph.

Morning scuttlebutt under the oak and in media dining continues to focus on (A) the dreamy final pairing, (B) is Jordan Spieth really that slow, (C) how about those crazy things Bryson DeChambeau says.

My take?

(A) Dreamy pairing, what else can you say? Spieth-McIlroy, 2:50. Be there! Kyle Porter with some of the history between these two when they've played together.

(B) Jordan Spieth is not fast, but his playing partners were the problem on Friday. DeChambeau is not fast and Casey was in all sorts of trouble all day. Spieth's post-shot whining--"I can't even take my time"--after being given a warning by official Jim Duncan was understandable in the context of where the grouping's pacial blame game lies. But the notion that he is entitled to wait out gusts was a rare sign of entitlement from someone who rarely exudes spoiled tendencies. I'm chalking it up to the supreme pressure, difficulty and stress of the moment.

(C) DeChambeau's unshaken confidence and good attitude after his 18th hole 7 was summed up nicely by Scott Michaux here in the Augusta Chronicle. I certainly love hearing any player who has a smart take on the game, but can certainly understand why answers like this rub some the wrong way:

Q.  Did you allow yourself to think about being in the final pairing, potentially, looking ahead?

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  I mean, yeah, but I was on 17 and I went and striped the drive, cranked the drive.  I think what may have been part of the issue, too, on 17 I hit a crank drive, which is a really different golf swing.  And usually when I go back down to the lower speed swing the club face does rotate a little bit more.  I just didn't take that into consideration.

Or this...

Q.  What did you hit into 13?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  13, I hit the gamma, whatever that is.

Q.  You were able to give a pretty cut and dried breakdown of what happened on 18.  Is there an emotional part of it or do you shut that off?

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  I'm not emotional.  An execution is what I'm trying to accomplish on the golf course.  If I can do that, stick to my game plan, nothing else matters.

Anyway, he's young, he's fascinating and he's an amateur in contention at the Masters. And while he may come off as cocky at times, he's respectful of his peers, his elders and the game's history.

As usual, some links you need to know along with great coverage at GolfDigest.com, Augusta.com and of course, Masters.com:

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

CBS's coverage in the United States begins at 3 pm ET and is simulcast at Masters.com. 

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 10:50 am ET with Featured Group coverage of Scott and Hoffman. All other groups and Masters.com coverage info is here.

Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 11:45 am ET.

4K & VR At The Masters: The Next Traditions Unlike Any Other?

The folks at NEXTVR have been demonstrating the Masters in virtual reality and the technology demonstrates incredible potential to change the way we view sports. Think of it not as a replacement for the traditional telecast, but as the ultimate inside-the-ropes view designed to compliment our appreciation of the action.

The VR app and viewing experience is already pretty simple and affordable. The $100-and-up headsets that will only get better with crisper imagery, portending well for adoption as soon as the content hosts--Augusta National in this case--are willing to allow cameras in more locations.

For its 2016 debut, the VR demo is available to the Masters media and exclusively to Android users with the NextVR app and a headset. For this year's debut, two cameras show a 180-degree, stereoscopic view of the 6th tee and the 16th green (with sound). Move your head left or right, up or down and you get the live view. The sensation suggests you’re there, only without the chance to buy a pimento cheese sandwich.

It’s very easy to imagine a VR approach to Amen Corner Live (II), with cameras at the tees and greens taking us “there” without actually bothering the players or patrons. We could listen in on chats, feel the moment the leader walks up to the 12th tee and get the sensation of being bird just hanging out on a dogwood branch, observing players and caddies as they tackle Amen Corner. 

As for the 4k demo that DirecTV subscribers are enjoying this week if they have a 4k television, the pictures are as stunningly crisp and jaw-dropping as you'd expect.

Given that this is the first-ever major sporting event broadcast this way, the enthusiasm from viewers and already widespread adoption of 4k TV's will hopefully usher in this technology. In a strange paradox, adoption of 4k sets would normally be the issue, but it sounds as if the content providers are a little behind the television makers, perhaps burned one too many times by "next things" that did not pan out.

But 4k is the next iteration of HD and kudos to the Masters for pushing the technology forward.

Day Two At The 2016 Masters Mini-Primer

A nice dusting of sprinkles kept things moist enough for the anticipated afternoon winds.

It's another beautiful day here otherwise and we should see another lively day. Spieth tees off at 12:55 pm ET and Rose and Scott bring up the rear with 1:50 and 2:01 starting times.

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

ESPN's coverage in the United States begins at 3 pm ET, though they showed quite a bit of live golf during the hour leading in. Of course, most of us are just watching the Featured Group and Amen Corner coverage, anyway.

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 9:26 am ET with Featured Group coverage.

Featured Group coverage kicks off at 9:35ish with Bubba Watson, Branden Grace and Ian Poulter. The Day-Els-Kuchar group is also part of that coverage.

Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 10:45 am ET.

"The house that Augusta National's millions can't buy"

Steve Politi visits with 1112 Stanley Road residents since 1959, Herman and Elizabeth Thacker, who have held on to their home while all of their neighbors have sold property next to Augusta National.

Politi writes:

They'll even invite the man representing Augusta National inside whenever he visits. And make no mistake: He still visits.

"He'll come by here every so often and he'll say, 'Just want to let you know we're still interested in your property,'" Herman Thacker said. "And we'll tell him the same thing again."

That message: Augusta National's money can't buy everything after all.

The best part of their holdout: grandson Scott Brown is on the PGA Tour and has contended in several events, meaning a Masters invitation may some day come. (He talked about the course and best patron viewing areas earlier this week with Amanda Balionis.)

That grandson took quite a liking to the sport. His name is Scott Brown, and he is now a 32-year-old player on the PGA Tour who is still trying to qualify for his first Masters. If he does, there will be more than one curious reporter walking down the Thackers' driveway.

This And That From Day One Of The 2016 Masters

Happy reading after a day one that lived up to the expected hype, with some stellar play in very difficult winds and a few big surprises.

Jordan Spieth's 66 gives the defending champion a five-round streak as leader and put to bed any questions about having to put a new driver in the back. Ron Sirak's account includes quotes from Ben Crenshaw, who was out following Spieth.

Speaking of Crenshaw, Jim McCabe quotes him at length for Golfweek.com about Thursday morning's honorary starters moment.

Tom Watson called a penalty on himself, shot 74, but still has a chance to be the older player to make the cut, writes Golfweek.com's Adam Schupak.

Rickie Fowler posted an 80 and sounded a little shell shocked, reports Dave Shedloski. He also took to Twitter to push back at some of his critics.


Bryson DeChambeau discussed his grace, artistry and 72 played in the company of Jordan Spieth. My account at GolfDigest.com. He also showed a little bit of non-Hoganesque playing to the cameras.

Phil Mickelson's serviceable 72 in under three minutes:

Ernie Els' 10 9 included 7 6 putts. Alex Myers and Joel Beal compiled this video and account from eyewitnesses.   

Els spoke to reporters after and admitted he was having trouble taking it back.

Matthew Rudy talked to some instructors about the situation, which was utterly bizarre on so many levels, especially considering how well Els was able to hold the round together.

Some stellar images from the Golf Digest team Thursday.

Cheng Jin has evolved the blog entry we used to get from Masters.com into a video diary. He talks about getting a putting lesson from Nick Faldo and his first Masters round.

 

Sunday's Drive, Chip and Putt averaged 377,000 viewers over four hours according to SportsTVRatings. The ANA Inspiration won by Lydia Ko (and in east coast prime time) averaged 398,000 viewers over four hours.

The Ancient Twitterer On Tweeting The Masters

Ed Sherman interviews Dan Jenkins for Poynter on Tweeting the Masters at 86.

I enjoyed this on Jim Murray:

Of your old colleagues and the all-time greats, who would have excelled at Twitter? Have to think Murray would have been pretty good.

Murray would have been great at Twitter. In fact, some of his columns were like reading a whole bunch of tweets.

A couple of samples from day one at the 2016 Masters. 

Gary Player: "I listened to the Golf Channel yesterday, and I've never heard such crap in my life."

After hitting their ceremonial opening shot to commence the 2016 Masters, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player appeared in the press room to talk about the day and some of their favorite memories. (The Masters.com video here.)

This was interesting for the elder-statesman-will-say-the-craziest-things files:

Q.  Could you tell us what your feelings were about Jack's performance in 1986?

    GARY PLAYER:  You know, I've got a different philosophy about sports.  I listened to the Golf Channel yesterday, and I've never heard such crap in my life (laughter).

    I mean, I'm listening to ‑‑

    JACK NICKLAUS:  What was the question?

    GARY PLAYER:  What did I feel when you won the Masters at 46 years of age.

    JACK NICKLAUS:  I'm sorry, okay.

    GARY PLAYER:  I'm listening to Brandel, and I'm listening to ‑‑ what's his name from New Zealand, Frank Nobilo, talking about all the guys, you've got to win in your early 20s, and as you get into your 30s, you're starting to deteriorate.

    Have they no idea what is transpiring with the human being?  Have they have no idea what's taking place in the world today?  They're so oblivious to what's around them.

    So I've always said that a man at 50 would win the Masters and I was ridiculed.  Raymond Floyd needed to birdie No. 17 with a 9‑iron, and he would have won the Masters at 49, nearly 50.  But be that as it may.

    I win the Masters at 42, which I thought was quite impressive.  He comes along and wins it at 46.  But don't forget, Julius Boros, won the PGA at 48.  People forget about these things.

    So it was amazing, it was amazing.  And you know, we are inundated with listening to commentators, all they talk about is long distance off the tee.  Long distance is not what wins golf tournaments.  It's from 100 yards in, because 70 percent of golf is played from 100 yards in.

    Now Ballesteros at the time, remember we had the screens, Ballesteros hits his drive at 15 and I think he's leading Jack at that stage, whatever the case would be, and Ballesteros hits his drive at least 330 yards because he hits his 5‑iron for his second, put it in the water.

    Simultaneously, Jack holes this vital putt at No. 17 which enables him to win, and he wins it at 46.  It was incredible.  It was a marvelous effort, particularly on a tough golf course like this.  But the man was a hell of an athlete, not only at golf but at other sports, as well.

    And it was very, very ‑‑ for me, it was encouraging because I've had a different philosophy on the body and fitness and what the human being is capable of doing, as far as longevity is concerned.

    So I was not surprised because I know what an athlete he was and what we're going to see in the future, we are in our infancy right now.  But what a remarkable effort.  The thing is, coming to the conclusion of it, the world's tendency of thinking you are old playing golf at 40, it changed the whole concept, which is fantastic.

Video: The Honorary Starters Kick Off The 2016 Masters

Another stellar moment as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus kick off the Masters in style.

Mr. Palmer was taken to the tee in a cart and gave everyone two thumbs up. Player outdrove Nicklaus to kick off the day. From The Masters Twitter account:

Tiger Can Hit Drivers But He Can't Play The Par-3 Contest!?

Strange to hear that Tiger's is hitting drivers in his rehab/return to the game but chose not to play the Par-3 contest where nothing more than a wedge is needed.

I certainly understand not wanting to play the Masters until he's tournament ready, but since he was here for the Champions Dinner and Tweeted what fun he had, it wouldn't have been a stretch to play the Par-3.

Tim Rosaforte's
Golf Channel report.

The 2016 Masters Is Here! A Day One Mini-Primer

Augusta National took on 1/2 inch of rain overnight when a loud storm moved through the region. The forecast calls for a high of 74 with Southwest winds expected to blow 15-20 mph, shifting to west winds later on that may include gusts of 25-30 according to forecasters.

With the wind in the forecast I ultimately made Rickie Fowler--native of wind tunnel Temecula--my choice in a year that is nearly impossible to settle on a favorite. (Here is the Augusta Chronicle's annual compilation of writer picks for Masters winner.) Like a wide open Kentucky Derby, this one may come down to who has a good trip in the form of tee times and a little bit of luck.

Just a few things that caught my eye, but as always I'd point you to GolfDigest.com, Augusta.com and all of the other fine people doing great work for your final pre-tournament reads...

Tom Watson is playing his last Masters and Bill Fields sums up an occasion that, in my view, has been a little under-discussed for such a legend.

Bubba Watson has managed to come in a bit under the radar and Jaime Diaz ponders the many things that make this complicated dude a fascinating study.

Adam Scott is a favorite and you may be able to get a good sense of how he will do this week based on how he plays the first hole, Brian Wacker notes for PGATour.com.

Jordan Spieth's two-year-old driver cracked on Wednesday. Doug Ferguson notes that Spieth showed up at the GWAA awards dinner in golf clothes because he was practicing late with his backup.

There are other amateurs this week besides Bryson DeChambeau, Ryan Herrington reports.

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

ESPN's coverage in the United States begins at 3 pm ET.

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 9:26 am ET with Featured Group coverage. Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 10:45 am ET.

Chairman Payne Doesn't Rule Out Some Big Course Changes

Unusually frank and in fine spirits despite a recovering back, Chairman Billy Payne even laughed after his own slip up dropping a "toonamint" on the assembled scibblers.

I was pretty interested in his remarks about the 13th hole possibilities and wrote about them for GolfDigest.com, including his assertion that changes could be made to combat distance that did not include lengthening. A frightening notion the more I think about it given the consulting architect's proclivity for point-missing changes to classic courses.

It also sounded by the press conference comments that the 4th and 5th holes may be different soon.

Q.  The 5th and 4th holes have always been landlocked by Old Berckmans Road.  Now that you have control of that area, what sort of plans do you have maybe in the immediate future for doing some renovations or expansion of those holes?

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Well, we don't talk about the immediate future as it relates to our plans, as you know, Scott.  Certainly that creates options which heretofore did not exist, and, bingo, those are a couple of the holes that we now have under consideration.

My question about the distance issue, just in case he had changed his mind.

Q.  You mentioned the distance the ball travels, and Mr. Nicklaus reiterated his views yesterday on that as a solution.  You discussed the shot values of the golf course.  Is that something you have ruled out, modifying equipment rules for the Masters, to address maintaining those shot values?

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Well, as we've stated many times going back many years, we retain all options.  At the same time, it's not something we would want to do.

And as it relates specifically to 13, which seems to be the subject du jour, we think there are multiple options where we could increase the difficulty of the hole and restore the shot values, only one of which deals with extending the length.

So we are in the middle of all of those studies, a lot of arithmetic, lot of design issues, and we would only resort to equipment as the last resort because we believe that the governing bodies in golf deal with that very effectively.

Oh yes, superb!

In other Payne news, Steve DiMeglio highlighted Payne's optimism over Tiger's appearance at the Champions Dinner and his potential for a recovery.

On the comedy front, the funnier answers, starting with this about junior golf.

Q.  Mr. Payne, I want to ask you a question about Junior Golf.  My 14‑year‑old and his friends are active on the circuit and it's made me realize that these youngsters can play at a really high level.  Your neighbor, the Augusta Country Club, does a great job of fostering this love of the game.  What are your thoughts on extending an invitation to the Masters one day to a junior champion?

 CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  I haven't thought about it before.  Our Asia‑Pacific Amateur Championship and our Latin America Amateur Championship are doing a pretty good job of feeding teenagers to us, so I guess we're already in that a bit (laughter).
   
As I said earlier, I don't think we are close to creating another qualification criteria because of the limitations of the daylight hours.

And this on his tenure going forward.

Q.  This is your 10th Masters, I guess, now as chairman.  Have you been able to accomplish everything that you had wanted to starting out, and has it changed in your mind, your role, from what you thought it was then to now?  And then the follow would be, do you have any thoughts on how long you want to keep doing it?

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Well, that committee hasn't met yet (laughter).

The job, I didn't have a lot of coaching in advance.  The responsibilities emerged from the potential of Augusta National, which is enormous, and it's positive, and we have discovered through some of these international efforts that people want to be associated with Augusta National, and we want to help them.  So it's a mutual love affair.

And as to specific goals, I didn't have any specific goals.  My goal is to serve whatever tenure that I serve and then fade into the background, because, as I've said multiple times, Augusta National has only two people who forever will be a part of their culture, and that's Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones.

And my favorite, on the possibility of the PGA preceding the Masters in Olympic years.

Q.  With this being quite a busy summer with the Olympics, and it will be the same in 2020, you've been the first major of the year since 1971, how would you feel if the PGA Championship decided in those Olympic years to try and stage its championship in February?
   
CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  Hmmm.  Haven't thought about that.
   
Do we have an opinion on that?

FRED RIDLEY:  It's happened before.

CHAIRMAN PAYNE:  It's happened before?  It won't affect our ticket sales, I can promise you (laughter).