I am very blessed to be able to live in the California Bay Area which has a plethora of awesome live sporting events. We have 2 football teams, 2 baseball teams, a basketball team, a hockey team, a number of college football teams, and even a soccer team. The PGA Tour comes to our parts regularly for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and now the Fry's.com event. Every few years we get a US Open, at Olympic and Pebble.
This past weekend I went out to watch the Fry.com event a few miles from my house. What is nice about the Fry's tournament versus the US Open is the total number of people who attend is far less and you can get closer to the action. Even when I spent some time following the leaders on Saturday I could easily find a good spot for viewing. While at the US Open there were so many people there that even with the players not in contention it was hard to get a view where you were not having to look over someone. Then if it were the disaster of the Tiger and Phil grouping then you had a mob on your hands.
I felt even with my wonderful view that the golf is better on TV than in person. High Definition certainly makes watching golf much more pleasurable than a few years ago. I have also watched some of the Masters coverage in 3D and I think that adds an even further element of excitement, because you can see hills and bumps even better than with the HD coverage. HD in my opinion is an enormous boost to all sports, especially football and golf. We can now easily watch the flight of the ball, see where it lands on the green, even the worm cam is better in HD.
What I like about the TV coverage is not so much that I am sitting in my couch, while that is nice, it is not the most attractive advantage. There are two things that I like best about golf on TV; one is the DVR, the second is the new trend of having the microphone close to the caddie player discussion. The DVR needs little reasoning on why it is so great. A male golf fan can only watch so many Cialis tablets commercials in his lifetime. The only great mystery there is where they will put the two bathtubs next. The DVR helps to bypass sneaky commercials by CBS where they spend 10 seconds showing you the blimp with Snoopy and his corporate sponsor, I can zip through this and also Jim Nantz interviewing the CEO of the sponsoring company. The DVR bypasses a great deal of junk.
The biggest advantage is the microphone they place near the caddies so we can hear the players discussion. I really like this feature. While at the Fry's I spent much of my time trying to listen in because it is interesting to hear what good players think about over the shot. I wish that the networks would do more of this because there is so much for us average golfers to learn. How much they think the wind will affect the shot, when they are between clubs do they go for the longer one more often or the shorter one. How do they calculate for their adrenaline?
I would be willing to wager that pros do not like us listening in. I am sure they do not want to be second guessed by the media once the round is over if they make a poor decision. I can sort of respect that argument, but I still think the benefit outweighs this drawback for us average fan.
I would still encourage golf fans to attend an event if they have never been. I also would strongly recommend taking your child to an event as well. Seeing a golfer in person to a young child may hook them on the game forever, and besides it is a great bonding experience where you get some exercise and a chance to share something with your child that you feel passionate about. But on the whole I will be watching my golf on television in glorious high definition.
You may call me lazy and that part of what makes sports great are to be a part of the action by actually being there. I can remember attending a Premier League Soccer game and thinking the atmosphere was electric, and I have had the same feelings at a number of NFL games, but not yet at a golf tournament. With the action happening on multiple holes the best way to view golf in my opinion is on TV.
I am wondering how everyone else feels about this topic. Would you rather go watch the event in person or would you rather watch in the comfort of you own home like me?
Photo credits: © Robert Laberge.