SI's Richard Deitsch gives us a behind the scenes look at how CBS captured Sergio Garcia's winning moment at the 2017 Masters. It's easy to forget the role television production plays when a moment like Sergio's comes off so seamlessly, particularly given the difficulty of covering golf courses.
Add in Augusta National's 18th hole limitations--no crane, blimps, helpful topography--and covering the moment becomes a huge challenge. Oddly, the best shot may have been the view from down the fairway with Sergio and putting surface just a blip amidst the patrons (screen captured).
Milton said during the live coverage of Garcia’s winning putt, he went through a familiar sequence for a golf director: First, you go wide, then you go tight. The goal is to capture every reaction you can from the scene.
“I was lucky in the sense that Sergio gave those primal yells after the putt went in,” said Milton, who also serves as the lead director for SEC football on CBS. “Then he composed himself and we went wide, so you could see all the crowd celebrating. Then he composed himself to shake Justin Rose’s hand. We stayed on Sergio for quite awhile because I did not want to miss any emotion coming from him after trying to win this thing for 20 years.”
Milton said the CBS production compound at the Masters (which sits next to the Par-3 course) had roughly 12 staffers in the main control room working the final holes. There was also an adjacent room with 12 people working on graphics. As the final shot was made, Barrow and Rikhoff were filtering the best replays. Rikhoff watches all the isolation shots directed by Milton and notes what will work for replay; Barrow decides in what order the replays will sequence to create narrative.
The last minute or so of this CBS highlight reel captures the incredible coverage work described in Deitsch's story. Also, seeing these clips again makes you realize (A) how much of a slope the 16th hole cup is on (B) how long Rose's putt was on 17 for par, (C) how close Rose's in-regulation putt on 18 was to going in, and (D) how great Sergio's final putt was both in execution and in ending the Masters on a high note.