The babble of TV commentators is lousy!


For me, weekend afternoons from February through August are clutter-free opportunities to sit back in the recliner, with clicker in hand, and enjoy live televised golf, without the interruptions from the National Football League, also known as, the largest religion in North America.

Most weekends, I don’t know where the pro tour is playing or what channel is carrying the broadcast, but I do know that I will tune into the live broadcast at some point to watch. It’s an addiction I’ve engaged in for 20-plus years & I’m not about to stop anytime soon. I enjoy watching the live action; unexpected results, and, I like the slow, uneven, sometimes awkward, monotone babble of the TV commentators even though it’s recycled, clichéd and patronizing.

   My name is Tom and I’m an addicted golf TV couch potato. Can someone recommend a  12-step recovery program? I watch and listen way too much to the incessant bullshit of Gary McCord, David Feherty, Roger Maltby, Ian Baker-Finch, Peter Osterhuis, Jimmy Roberts, Peter Kostis, Tim Rosaforte and many more, including the most incorrigible golf talker of all time – Johnny Miller.

   From where I sit & watch on weekends, golf’s talking heads desperately need to pick up their game because the telecasts are producing shanks, bogies and other applicable nasty golf terms, directed more to golf for dummies.

  During the live final round broadcast of the British Open I do not want to hear Judy Rankin talking over Stuart Cinks’ shot. And, to infuriate me further, she rattles on about “how Stuart’s been working with Butch Harmon,” the egotistical, buffoon swing coach to the stars. Who cares? Please, Judy, tell us something interesting from inside the ropes, where you walk all day, or just shut up!

   Here is a list of former players and my ranking of their careers babbling about golf into a microphone: Frank Nobilo (6), Brandel Chamblee (7), Curtis Strange (6), Nick Faldo (3), Peter Oosterhuis (6) , Bob Murphy (4), Ian Baker-Finch (4), Steve Melnyk (3), Dottie Mochrie (4), Judy Rankin (1),  Roger Maltby (2), Gary McCord (7), David Feherty (6), Johnny Miller (10), Brad Faxon (1), Andy North (2), Bobby Clampett (3), Billy Ray Brown (0), Bob Rosburg (4),  Mark Rolfing (2) , Gary Koch (1) and Tom Weiskopf (2).

  Employment as a TV golf commentator is one of the most politically correct and visible occupations in the world. Nothing compares with the angry tide of criticism that surfaces when a commentator demeans a player on live TV. A few select words about lesbians on the LPGA Tour abruptly ended a successful career of Ben Wright in 1995. For 23 glorious years CBS broadcaster Ben Wright was amiable, well-spoken and bursting with opinions and stories, until it all came crashing down at the 1995 McDonald’s LPGA Championship at DuPont County Club in Wilmington, Delaware.

  CBS Sports executive director of golf, Frank Chirkinian, terminated Wright for statements attributed to him in an interview with Valerie Helmbreck, of the Delaware News Journal, in which he is alleged to have said, “Let’s face facts here. Lesbians in the sport hurt women’s golf.” He also is quoted, “Women are handicapped by having boobs. It’s not easy for them to keep their left arm straight, and that’s one of the tenets of the game. Their boobs get in the way.”

  At the time, Wright spent three decades in golf’s elite circles but the story had all the elements needed to ignite a modern-day press bonfire: gay sex, male chauvinism, political incorrectness, sports, network television and a TV personality. He was blackballed and has not been hired by any major golf media outlet since.

  So who’s the best in the business?

My favorites include Peter Kesler, who has produced, written and hosted over 1500 hours live on the Golf Channel from 1995 – 2001, until they terminated him for mysterious reasons, reportedly over a personality dispute with Arnold Palmer. Kesler is considered one of the world’s leading golf historians.

One of the most impressive talents in the business is Jim Kelly, the Voice of the Senior PGA Tour, with 37 years broadcasting experience. Another outstanding announcer is Peter Kostis, a respected teacher since 1990, who joined CBS in 1994. Jennifer Mills, an anchor/reporter on the Golf Channel helped launch the Golf Channel from a viewing audience of 300,00 to over 55 million households. The Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner is brilliant, informed and at the top of his game after 20 years on the sidelines.

   Dan Hicks is the host golf announcer on NBC Sports, the network that covers the Ryder Cup and USGA’s national championships. Hicks is a likeable personality and has covered golf on many of the world’s finest courses. In a job where every sentence uttered is heard by millions of viewers, last week he said  “this is a tricky green  – it’s not very level.”

  Jim Nantz is the franchise announcer of CBS Sports. He is the voice of The Masters, the Final Four and NFL Football – including several Super Bowls. He brings a “big event” presence to any show on which he appears. The primary reason I think Nantz is the No. 1 announcer is his uncanny knack to know when to shut up and let the picture tell the story. Professional golf is an emotional journey for every player in every tournament and Nantz was in the booth as CBS-TV captured Ben Crenshaw’s finish as it occurred on Augusta National’s 18th green in the 1995 Masters. One of the most sentimental scenes ever televised live worldwide on network TV occurred when an emotional Ben Crenshaw tapped in his final putt to win his second Masters in April 1995. Nantz kept his mouth shut as an emotional Crenshaw unabashedly shed tears of joy as it unfolded on the TV for the whole world to witness it fully without interruption.

Tom Gorman, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, International Network of Golf and Golf Travel Writers of America,