Golfobserver's Peter McCleery analyzes NBC's Ryder Cup telecast, focusing his criticism on the outdated nature of tape-delay coverage in the Internet era. He says sucked the life out of the Friday/Saturday telecasts here in the States, and I would agree. But even on tape, NBC could have done better...
If you're going to tape everything, use the time more wisely. As it was, there was 20 minute of nonaction to fill on Saturday, and the 20 minutes before that featured only one match still in progress.
Might NBC suggest that they didn't have enough time to edit the dreadfully slow morning four-balls, even though we know they did based on those tacky Rolex clocks decorating each tee?
Anyway, McCleery concludes:
Here's hoping this is the last tape-delayed Ryder Cup ever and the last walkover in a while. The PGA and NBC have another four years to figure it all out. That's twice the time that the American players have. It should be enough to finally get this thing right.
They just had two years since the last Cup to devise an Internet strategy for this year's event, announcing the exclusive online coverage the day before the matches started.
However, there may be hope for U.S. viewers when the matches are played at Celtic Manor in 2010. It has been rumored that Friday Ryder Cup play may be spread out over two days (like the Presidents Cup). This would allow for 1 p.m. tee times on new host network ESPN, meaning a respectable start time in the east coast. And of course, we know that's all that matters.
This would also allow for a 10 or 11 a.m. start at Valhalla, allowing European viewers to go to bed at decent hour.
However, a Thursday start still doesn't solve the Saturday-on-NBC issue. And of course, we know that's all that matters.