The condition of the course at Chambers Bay isn’t the only aspect of this year’s U.S. Open that people are complaining about. The coverage has also largely been a disaster. For the first time, NBC isn’t airing the USGA event, but Fox Sports is. And, well, some, including renowned golf reporter Dan Jenkins, say the network is missing a few basic elements.
Jenkins (full disclosure: he is Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins’s dad) is most upset about the lack of details Thursday’s Fox Sports 1 was offering its viewers during the tournament’s first round. At times, the network didn’t disclose who the golfer was on screen or where that golfer fell on the leader board.
For example, midday on Thursday, Rory McIlroy appeared on the screen, but the telecast neither posted his name nor his score even after he finished the hole, the number of which was also never posted on the broadcast.
(As it turns out, according to the Internet, it was hole. No. 1, his first of the day, which he made par on in four shots.)
Lack of labeling wasn’t the only issue either. For part of the broadcast, Fox Sports had no leader board.
Comedian Norm McDonald saw the irony, at least. Others didn’t.
And while the above issues are all fixable with a few technical tweaks, some things might take a bit more practice to perfect. A lot of people aren’t happy with the camera work, for example, which has shown golfers shooting from bizarre angles so that their shots were lost in the air.
Joe Buck, who’s known mostly for his play calling in the NFL and MLB, and broadcast partner Curt Menefee were also getting slammed. But the biggest issue for many was the broadcast’s sheer lack of what makes the sport’s fans want to tune in — golf.
Fox Sports did little to address the thousands of complaints on Twitter, but did take the time to thank the few who complimented the coverage, two of whom happen to be named Jake.
NBC Sports, meanwhile, is getting some inadvertent great PR.
Unfortunately for NBC, however, Fox outbid them in 2013 to gain the rights to air not just the U.S. Open, but also the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Senior Open for the next 12 years. Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long for Fox to figure out how to put words and numbers on the screen …