Rating the Commentators, 2009 Edition, Part Two

The much anticipated… ok, “sort-of looked forward to” second installment is here!

Thrash TalkLast week, I assessed the performance of the microphone holders from CBS. This week, NBC’s announcers are up for their single paragraph of scrutiny, or praise, as the case may be.

Before I proceed, I’d like to respond to what I anticipate will be the most prominent reader question: “If all these announcers/networks are so mediocre, what should they be doing differently to please you, you pompous doofus?” My answer is this: “You’ll have to wait for my next column!”

Without further ado, on to the ratings!

Rating the Commentators, 2009 Edition, Part One

Ian Baker-Finch and Jimmy Roberts are bringing up the rear, but how do the rest of the talking heads from NBC, CBS and the Golf Channel (or disembodied voices, as the case may be) fare?

Thrash TalkThe latest Nielsen Ratings came out for golf coverage, and they reveal a few interesting tidbits.

First is that CBS and NBC performed about the same as one another this year. Yawn.

Another yawner: more (often many more) viewers tune into to golf coverage when Tiger Woods is playing. More still watch when he’s in contention on the weekend.

Third: Though I rarely ever hear anyone saying anything positive about Golf Channel or its commentators, and though I rarely read any positive reviews of their coverage, I was surprised to see that their viewership has grown over the past few years.

Perhaps golf fans tune in to see and hear their favorite announcers and not because a significant tournament is being covered, or Tiger Woods is playing. I don’t think this is the case. I am sure the majority of readers don’t either.

Some of the announcers I am rating here are downright awful. Further, the general consensus is that they are aren’t very good. Yet, year after year, they keep their jobs. Can networks succeed with subpar commentary teams and lackluster coverage? Apparently. As such, Ian Baker-Finch and CBS aren’t likely to be too concerned about the “D” the aforementioned announcer is receiving in my 2009 Rating of Golf Commentators.

Tour Could Lose Events Next Year? No Big Deal.

A short term rebound is a given, however, it’s never too early to begin preparing for the post Tiger Woods era.

Thrash TalkThe eminent Tim Finchem announced last week that the PGA Tour “could lose a couple more events” in the coming years. Obviously, this news isn’t a proclamation of imminent disaster, or an LPGA-esqe “we may not even have a Tour next year” scenario. As the PGA Tour isn’t a publicly traded corporation, it isn’t obligated to continually grow in order to return profits to its shareholders. My point here is that downsizing, and potentially losing money in the process, ought not to be a terrible prospect.

The Tour has to pause while assessing the present difficulty in order to take a look further into the future when real trouble will come.

My Three Favorite Golfers of 2009

Three guys whom I enjoyed following in 2009, Tiger Woods not included.

Thrash TalkI present to you my list of three golfers whom I enjoyed watching this year. Not included are any of the major winners or Tiger Woods. As they year winds down into the manufactured drama of the FedExCup, and the majority of PGA Tour pros have been sent packing, these guys stand out in my mind for reasons which are not entirely clear.

I feel obligated here, too, to extend an honorable mention to Jeff Klauk who earned $1,036,524.50 this year as a rookie. Must be a tough life being the 77th highest paid golfer on the PGA Tour in 2009. Well done, Mr. Klauk. Also, Marc Leishman, who bettered Klauk on the money list and is yet to be eliminated from the FedExCup. Seeing their success inspires me to search the couch cushions for the $20,000 it costs to head to Q School. I’m not sure my 4.2 index would travel though…

Goodbye, Eye Candy

Recently, an agency which provides female models to caddy for interested golfers was banned from a number of courses in England. Good move?

Thrash TalkI woefully regret that it has taken me more a week to learn of the grim news. Eye Candy Caddies, a reputable British business entity which provides (theoretically) capable and attractive young women to serve as loopers is currently in the process of being blacklisted; it’s services having been banned from a number of courses in England managed by the villainous entity known as Leaderboard Golf.

Begging the Question(s)

Eighteen non sequiturs for your reading and responding pleasure.

Thrash TalkOne
If the FedExCup is starting to work the way it’s supposed to and that “way” looks a lot like the traditional season money leaders list, what’s the point?

Manufactured drama? More money for the Tour’s elite? More FedEx commercials (which, I admit, are generally funny)?

Not, however, as funny as this.

What’s Next for Wiesy?

Michelle goes 3-0-1 at the Solheim Cup. What should we expect, looking forward?

Thrash TalkAlthough I, like many, am neither a Wie-maniac nor a committed Wie-watcher, I was pleased with Michelle’s performance at the Solheim Cup this past weekend. The Michelle Wie Story will always be one of failure to meet the ludicrous expectations which surrounded her. It is, of course, a wholly fruitless endeavor to speculate as to the exact genesis of said expectations, but the recipe is surely some part B.J. Wie, some part mass sports media hysteria of the Tiger Woods variety.

What do we make of Michelle’s 3-0-1 record at this year’s event?

Thoughts on the 2009 PGA Championship, Briefly

Random musings on the aforementioned.

Thrash TalkAs Tiger Woods limped home Sunday (figuratively, this year) looking thoroughly befuddled and not at all the “Sunday Tiger,” we’ve come to expect, a few disjointed thoughts were swimming about my own befuddled consciousness.

In no particular order of significance, I mulled over the following, which I don’t present as any insightful recapitulation of the final round of this year’s PGA Championship, or nuanced breakdown of Tiger’s failure to secure victory after leading in the final round of a major (for only the second time in his career). Rather, I pen (alright, type) the following as a presentation of a few talking points loosely associated with my impressions of a few days ago.

2009 PGA Championship Predictions

Everyone has an opinion… but at least ours are right! Joking…

Thrash TalkFor this year’s edition of The Sand Trap‘s PGA picks, we are both predicting and responding to the pressing questions you’ve been mulling over as of late, including, but not limited to, “Was Rich Beem’s dance at the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine the worst victory celebration ever?”

More pertinent inquiries and speculation inside.