Friday, November 27

Golf’s Top 10 TV Talkers

Nick Faldo signs an autograph.

GOLFWEEK’S MARTIN KAUFMANN WROTE a column the other day about his favorite golf broadcasters, a top 10 list. It’s a great topic. Everyone who watches golf on a regular basis seems to have a strong opinion about the broadcasters and commentators.

“I’ll limit my list to 10 … ” Kaufmann wrote. “Here’s one man’s very humble opinion.”

(Note: I’ve included a tidbit from Kaufmann’s comments in quotes under each name, followed by my brief comment in parentheses. Please also note that the list is limited to American golf broadcasters.) 

1. Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel
“Thoughtful, provocative and persuasive.”
(My comment: I like Brandel.) 

2. David Feherty, CBS
“TV’s sharpest on-course reporter.”
(My comment: Funny, but sometimes sounds forced.) 

3. Johnny Miller, NBC
“Makes for must-listening.”
(My comment: I’m in the Miller camp.) 

4. Dottie Pepper, Golf Channel/NBC
“A fiery player who adapts well to broadcasting.”
(My comment: Well prepared and opinionated, a nice combination.) 

5. Paul Azinger, ESPN
“Crisper, more assured commentary following Ryder Cup captaincy.”
(My comment: I like Zinger.) 

6. Curt Byrum, Golf Channel
(My comment: Not familiar with his work.) 

7. Nick Faldo, CBS/Golf Channel
“Suffers from erratic performances.”
(My comment: Nondescript.) 

8. Judy Rankin, ESPN
“Hard worker.”
(My comment: Old school, less is more. Like.) 

9. Peter Kostis, CBS
“On-course analysis is spot on.”
(My comment: Comes across as knowledgeable.) 

10. Frank Nobilo, Golf Channel
(My comment: Maybe not the best, but earnest.)

After watching a few European Tour events, I was reminded that America’s golf talking heads are a noisy bunch. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but TV is a visual medium. Well-chosen words can help frame the action. Words can also detract from telecasts. The European Tour events had fewer words and commercials, a welcome difference for this viewer. 

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Chase McAlpine/Flickr)


Lancer said...

Agree that the European announcers seem to do such a better job with little effort. The American announcers seem to think that they are the show. Too bad, but it's still the only game in town.

Matt said...

Azinger is horrible. I'm amazed at how often he discusses the Ryder Cup win and how great every strategy he devised was just ingenious. Yes, it was a great win and about time for the Americans to win anyway. He just needs to let it go and stop rubbing in towards Faldo.

The PGA Tourist said...

I have to say that as a bbc viewer from the uk, Peter Alliss is Golf to me. It's not so much the golf commentary, but his little ramblings, putting words in the mouths of the people, players and animals the camera focuses on, just makes you feel at home, long may he continue.

As for american coverage, Feherty is untouchable.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Matt: Fair point. I haven't heard a lot of Zinger lately, but I'm sure you're right about the Ryder Cup stuff. Of course, if Nick's team had won, Nick would have hardly mentioned it, right? :)

PGA Tourist: I always enjoy listening to Peter Alliss.