The Pellucid Perspective - August 2013 - (Page 18)

THE LAST WORD Random shots G olf Channel announcer Rich Lerner typically discusses birdies and bogeys, not broadcast deals, but he left no doubt about his feelings regarding the USGA’s blockbuster announcement that they have signed a 12-year deal with FOX and its new FOX Sports network to broadcast the US Open, Senior Open, US Amateur and Women’s Open golf tournaments. During an analyst talk-fest on the eve of the PGA Championship, Lerner worked in a quick dig at the USGA between speculation over whether Tiger could hit some fairways and finally win another major. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically Lerner said the timing of the USGA announcement, on the very eve of the PGA of America’s signature event, was at best tacky, and at worst a childish payback to the PGA for publicly opposing the USGA and R&A ban on the anchored stroke. The intimation that USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and President Glen Nager may have shared a wink and a low five as the timing of the Open announcement was discussed is probably not too far-fetched. On the other hand, it’s even more obvious that Lerner, as an employee of The Golf Channel, a subsidiary of Comcast and NBC, was feeling his employers’ pain at losing their marquee golf event to, of all people, FOX, home of Homer Simpson, NASCAR and devotees of the radical right news slant everywhere. Michael Bamberger of Sports Illustrated and speculated that the USGA’s motivation in handing the Open broadcast rights over to FOX was not merely due to the fact that FOX reportedly doubled NBC’s going rate of $50 Million a year, but also provided a branding opportunity to expand golf ’s viewership from the current golf-centric audience to those NASCAR and Simpsons buffs who think “plus fours” refers to a new buffet offering at the local diner. Amid some speculation about who might replace Johnny Miller as the voice of the US Open (maybe Johnny Miller?), my colleague Harvey Silverman posited the horrifying thought that FOX might 18 The Pellucid PersPecTive give their lead baseball analyst Tim McCarver a seat in the Open broadcast booth. Egged on by Harvey, I toyed with the idea of suggesting some potential McCarver-isms that might result - there is no shortage of material to base those on, since a quick Google search of “McCarver quotes” unearthed dozens of inane statistical or circumstantial observations such as “It’s the guys who can breathe. It’s the guys who have moisture in their mouth. It’s hard. The water goes down in lumps.” Finally I decided that most real baseball fans, like myself, have mastered the art of tuning McCarver out lest we do damage to our TV sets, and wouldn’t Finally I decided that most real baseball fans, like myself, have mastered the art of tuning McCarver out lest we do damage to our TV sets, and wouldn’t really understand the reference. really understand the reference. When it comes to malaprops, and McCarver’s are legion, he’s no Yogi Berra. Living in San Diego, the home of the Padres and the Chargers, the sports pages of the local paper can be pretty dismal reading. Lately it’s become even more so, with the reams of copy related to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDS), some of which has affected Padres players, which begs the question of how far back they’d be in the standings if their players weren’t juicing? Golf has its problems, but despite periodic “We test too” affirmations from Tim Finchem, nobody of any stature has been collared for PEDS. Leave it to golf to be different - the PEDS issue in golf centers around a multi-layered, surlyn-covered spheroid known merely as “The ball.” Now that the ever-vigilant USGA and R&A have put the anchored putting stroke on the no-fly list as of 2016, the modern golf ball finds itself accused of being the chief culprit in the game’s on-course ills. The ball, and the distance it flies, have been blamed for everything from skyrocketing course construction and maintenance costs to slow play. Jack Nicklaus, who seems to pick a cause a month to champion lately, recently opined that today’s performanceenhanced balls create logjams on par-5’s because more people can reach them in two shots (or think they can), errant shots require more time to locate in the second cut of rough or the woods, and players have to allow more time (or think they do) to allow the group ahead of them to move out of range. There may be something to all that, but I suspect that the furor over the anchored stroke will be a mere blip on the golf radar screen compared to the controversy and legal wrangling that a roll-back on the ball would instigate. And, as Eagle Golf CEO Joe Munsch recently wrote to the USGA’s Nager, his customers, and those of other operators, are not one bit concerned about their shots going “too far.” Speaking of the equipment industry, I recently wrote an article on golf industry manufacturers located in the San Diego area for a local magazine. Articles in numerous golf industry publications, including The Pellucid Perspective, have detailed the difficulties facing many of the industry’s equipment manufacturers in today’s business environment, with declining play and participation, economic woes both domestically and abroad, Asian counterfeiters, etc. Cobra/Puma Golf President Bob Philion had perhaps the most colorful description of life in the golf equipment trenches, saying “The golf industry is like a knife fight these days. Fortunately, we like our knife.” This is being written on the eve of the final Sunday of the PGA Championship, so you heard this here first (and probably for the only time), but if Cobra endorsee Jonas Blixt has his name on the Wanamaker Trophy by the time this is published, Philion and company will like their knife even better. —Jim Dunlap August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - August 2013

The Pellucid Perspective - August 2013
Say good-bye to Ladies Day?
2013 mid-year review: Anyone get the license place of that truck?
The true cost of barter
Snowboarding is to skiing as ??? is to golf
New private club buyer/investor emerges
Skybrook Golf Club, Charlotte Golf Links owe millions, placed in receivership
July golf weather impact: Finally, a weather-favorable month vs. ’12
Finding golfers no circus act in Sarasota
Random shots

The Pellucid Perspective - August 2013