"Perhaps the most important round of golf on The Golf Channel all year — this was a major blunder."

The New York Times' Richard Sandomir was not too wild about the logistics of Golf Channel's Friday Super Bowl Tour Championship coverage.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern yesterday, with the second round of the Tour Championship under way, The Golf Channel came on the air with taped coverage of the morning’s rain-delayed resumption of Round 1.

Tiger Woods was midway through shooting a seven-under-par 63 in Round 2 — live, I say, live! — to propel his surge to a three-shot lead.

But The Golf Channel was mired in its Round 1 videotape, although NBC Sports, which will carry Rounds 3 and 4 today and tomorrow, was feeding it live coverage. To anyone expecting live coverage of Round 2 of the final tournament in the FedEx Cup — perhaps the most important round of golf on The Golf Channel all year — this was a major blunder.

The errors continued. While a network spokesman said that the channel had announced it was carrying taped coverage when it came on the air, I saw nothing until 2:11 p.m., when a small-type “Recorded Earlier” graphic appeared for three minutes on the screen. The spokesman insisted that the network had done nothing to mislead viewers because the action was being shown as it had happened. (But, unfortunately, not as it was happening.)

From about 1:13, when I began watching, until 2:11, no one from the The Golf Channel studio told viewers they were watching a Round 1 tape. Similarly, the crawl on the bottom of the screen offered no help.

The Golf Channel compounded its taped-is-better-than-live philosophy when, at 2:28, it decided that it was time to travel into the second round.

But it wasn’t live. No, sir. The Golf Channel cut from its tape of Round 1 (where Woods had just birdied No. 15 and Vijay Singh had teed off on No. 18) to its tape of Round 2, showing Woods on the fourth hole and Phil Mickelson on the fifth. And, yes, a few times, the channel broke out its “Recorded Earlier” graphic, which would have been unnecessary if the coverage were live, which it should have been.
But Sandomir gets to the heart of the matter...
If a logical reason exists for The Golf Channel spending the day in taped coverage when live action was available, it is this: for five hours, it had Woods full-time. It’s not a good reason to look foolish and shameless, but it’s a reason.