The Hits Just Keep On Coming...

nyt-paper.gifSports and business writer Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has the best dissection of the PGA/CBS screw up, as well as Monday's golf-light, commercial heavy telecast that yours truly wrote about for Golfobserver. Sandomir writes:
CBS's commercial load was a distraction yesterday - even more than on Sunday - creating a disjointed viewing experience during the year's final major. The commercials interrupted the narrative flow of this five-hole event, with 12 golfers finishing their final round, half of them separated by three shots, and half of them paid little or no attention by CBS (except for a note by Jim Nantz, as the camera focused on Vijay Singh, that yesterday was the 60th anniversary of V-J Day).

CBS could have reduced the number of commercial blocks it had, or more boldly, eliminated advertising in the final 30 minutes. Perhaps it was waiting to go commercial free for a playoff, which would have caused the network to blow off more than "Guiding Light" and the first half-hour of "The Price Is Right."

But commercial interests won out over golf, even if no crucial shots were missed while CBS was in a break. Peter Oosterhuis, one of CBS's on-course reporters, seemed to believe the action was more important than mercantilism. After Mickelson missed a birdie putt on No. 17, Oosterhuis said, "Let's go to 18," but CBS went to commercials instead.
And he offers this quote from CBS's Rob Correa, a CBS Sports senior vice president for programming:

"The P.G.A. of America is responsible for the scheduling of the tournament," he said. "It's up to them." He said CBS would not have objected to an earlier start "if the weather reports were that severe."

The party lines seems to be: blame the weather reports for not making enough of a fuss. Only, that won't work as the forecasters were on the record with Golfonline's Tom Mackin as early as Friday that Sunday had the potential for severe, course-clearing conditions. Anyone watching the Weather Channel knew Sunday's afternoon forecast was for possible severe storms.  As reader Stan pointed out, a simple "we goofed" would make this go away, but as usual, the spin will only prolong the criticism, and unfortunately, may even begin to taint Mickelson's win.

Meanwhile, Sam Weiman in the Westchester Journal News and Robert Lusetich in The Australian review the situation. Lusetich looks at the various "what if" scenarios had play been started earlier and not halted. Even though Steve Elkington says that even though he was the hottest player on the course, the wind shift would have made the finishing stretch brutal. So he was glad play was halted.

Speaking of the man with the best swing in the world, Jim McCabe talks to Elkington about the PGA and the Scenarios that are already keeping him lying awake at night.