The latest edition (January) of Golf Digest arrived a few days ago, and inside were the results of the magazine’s latest survey of subscribers (nearly 2,000 of them), on their golf viewing habits and preferences on television. As a longtime subscriber to GD, I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed the opportunity to participate in this poll. But what I found most interesting about the results was, I didn’t agree with most of them.
Here are some of the highlights, from roughly 30 questions asked, with my humble and completely irrelevant comments following.
Favourite Network Analyst: Nick Faldo (58%) favoured over Johnny Miller (53%) and Paul Azinger (46%) (You could list as many as you liked, in order.)
Well, I still like Miller more, though Faldo’s gotten better, but surely the most interesting, insightful and courageous analyst on TV today is Brandel Chamblee, on the Golf Channel. Brandel finished 6th, just a point above Greg Norman, who I thought did a very poor job on the US open. Brandel’s not afraid to say controversial things, but never without a good reason, and a compelling argument.
Favourite hosts/play-by-play announcers: Jim Nantz (66%) over Mike Tirico (33%) and Peter Alliss (32%)
I’m quite surprised that Alliss even registered here, but I’m delighted because he’d easily be my pick. Interesting, intelligent, and wickedly witty, Alliss carries on that tradition of articulate understatement first heard on U.S. television with Henry Longhurst at the Masters. Nantz, in my opinion, has really sunk, and seems to be excited only by the sound of his own voice. Kelly Tilghman finished 4th, which is great, but has anybody seen Kelly on a tournament broadcast in the last three years?
Favourite hole announcers/analysts: Gary McCord (52%) over Peter Jacobsen (50%) and Ian Baker-Finch (41%)
Well, gag me with a spoon. I will often NOT watch a broadcast if I know that self-loving gasbag Gary McCord is going to be on it. How he gets more votes than everyone else in this category just floors me.
Favourite on-course reporters: David Feherty (74%), Peter Kostis (52%), Roger Maltbie (49%)
No surprise here, although I’m not sure I would’ve voted for Feherty as number one in my book. Yes, he’s funny, and yes, he helps the broadcast, but I sometimes wonder whether he thinks it’s the David Feherty Show or a golf tournament he’s covering. Judy Rankin finished 4th in this one, and I probably admire her the most.
Favourite reporters/interviewers: Jimmy Roberts (32%), Tim Rosaforte (24%), Holly Sonders (23%)
I think Jimmy Roberts does a fine job, so I have no problem. I also like Steve Sands on the Golf Channel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Holly Sonders do a post-round interview, so I can’t comment on her. But I certainly DON’T like Tim Rosaforte, who seems to have a very superior attitude about his involvement in golf, as if it’s a privilege for us that he’s there.
Favourite televised golf event: Masters (66%), Ryder Cup (12%), US Open (11%)
Like you probably, I probably watch 30 golf events or more each year, sometimes only in passing to catch the leaderboard. But my MUST WATCH events are the Masters, the Open Championship, US Open, TPC, Ryder, and anything with Brooke Henderson in it. (Funnily enough, that last item did not appear on the GD survey.)
This wasn’t a question on the survey, but here’s my dream golf broadcast…
The US Open, played at Turnberry in Scotland (yes, I know – not possible, but this IS a dream, remember?), ending in a 3-way playoff with Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Trevino. Vin Scully is hosting the broadcast, with analysts Peter Alliss and Brandel Chamblee, and hole announcers Henry Longhurst, Verne Lundquist, Nick Price, Peter Jacobsen, and Jimmy Demaret. The winner is interviewed in the Butler Cabin by Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, and Gene Sarazen. The winner receives a Mountie from my wife Barb, wearing a dress by Duffy Waldorf.
I know that makes no sense. But I did say it was a dream.