A new contract kicks in next year for the PGA of America with CBS and ESPN. Details are sketchy, and given the PGA’s tendency to prioritize profit over what’s best for their fans or the game, I’m not optimistic that we will see a cutback in promos and ads.
What is also not clear: will there be higher standards demanded by the PGA of America of their broadcast partners beginning next year? It’s always a tricky thing to be telling television professionals how to do their job, but for starters the odd tradition of CBS witholding major production elements from their weekday PGA Championship partner needs to go. We can only hope the PGA would have stipulated this in writing to protect their product when it airs on ESPN.
One thing you can’t legislate: production mistakes. As Andy Nesbit writes at For The Win, fans are livid with the certified disaster that was CBS going to an interview with Dustin Johnson instead of staying with the incredible drama at the 18th hole. That’s where Brooks Koepka was faced with a brutal lie on a bunker edge. A double bogey sends the tournament to a playoff.
An unusually chatty Johnson was gabbing away as Koepka hacked his ball quite impressively back into the fairway. The ball was easily chunkable from such an awkward position.
Nesbitt writes before rounding up the Twitter outrage: “It was just terrible timing and angered fans watching the drama unfold on TV.”
While it’s not comparable to the infamous Heidi debacle, had Koepka flubbed the shot and collapsed, the decision to conduct an interview would been one of the great blunders in television history. Still, the moment will be remembered and analyzed given the need to set up the scenarios facing Koepka, who is notoriously fast. Fans were deprived of watching a huge moment and undoubtedly CBS’s Lance Barrow feels awful about it.
Let’s hope with a new contract and a clean slate at Harding Park, all of the parties get together and beef up the PGA Championship broadcast in the interest of their credibility, the health of the championship and most of all, the desires of fans watching at home.