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Improve the PGA Tour TV Product


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On the Shane Bacon podcast recently with Claire Rogers (Get a Grip, episode 82) he listed a few things he thought could make the PGA Tour a better product for fans. The two things he gave that I remember included:

  • Have a skins game for 48 FedExCup points (he said 50, but 48 divides more easily into 1, 2, 3, and 4 as whole numbers) each day. If you eagle a par four, you might earn an extra 48 FedExCup points. No word on whether they carry over or not, but it'd give guys who are out of contention a reason to maybe play more aggressively or something, and that might be more entertaining. Plus, golfers know what skins games are, and it'd be automatic highlights.
  • Award FEC points for the low round of the day. If you shoot 81 on Thursday, you can still compete on Friday instead of just going through the motions. Find yourself in T64 heading into Sunday? Again, something to play for. Shane may have said something about sponsorships here, I don't know, so I may have mis-remembered this one. But I know it was awarding something for the low round of the day, so here it is.

Shane also pointed out that if you can only watch on Saturday, or Thursday… it still gives you something to watch for, something with a conclusion or an ending.

My other ideas include:

  • Show more graphics with the likelihood of something happening, or the average, or whatever. For example, I like when they list the make % of a putt from 22'4" or something, because it clues people in to the difficulty or ease of the shot they're seeing. It gives more context with more information. If a guy is 122 yards out in the fairway, and he hits it to 11'6", a circle showing the average proximity would show you how great that shot truly was, even though it didn't end up right next to the cup. Or, you know how they'll put those colored golf balls out there showing birdies and bogeys and such? Put those on the screen when someone's hitting their approach shot. It'll be clear if someone hit a good shot if they're closer than most of the other shots hit into that green. In other words… more graphics with more information.
  • Cut cam. On Friday, the guys trying to make the cut are often a compelling story. Focus on them - you want to see some emotion, some grinding, some "this is what life is like on Tour for a lot of guys," show the guys near the cut line late on Friday. You'll get to see the human experience. This isn't new and I'm not the first one to think of it, but it's a good one IMO.
  • Putting microphones on the guys is really not enjoyed by the players themselves, because they have to think about all that when they want to focus on golf, but… maybe there's some way to do it in a way that doesn't make them self conscious? Maybe an advisory panel (or person) chooses which conversations can get out there, so it's not live. I wouldn't mind if, after a great shot (or a disastrous shot), they re-played the caddie/player conversation if the panel deemed it to be good. It's interesting to hear that stuff.

What are your ideas?

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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really like the idea of showing how good a shot is.  When a player hits a pitch from 50 yards in the fairway and gets the ball to a makeable distance but still outside of tap-in range from the pin, I'd like to hear about how that's better-than-average, or about how it reduced the expected score from here, not something like "oh, he'd like to have gotten that one closer."  

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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49 minutes ago, Shindig said:

really like the idea of showing how good a shot is.  When a player hits a pitch from 50 yards in the fairway and gets the ball to a makeable distance but still outside of tap-in range from the pin, I'd like to hear about how that's better-than-average, or about how it reduced the expected score from here, not something like "oh, he'd like to have gotten that one closer."  

Expected scores (SG stats) are great, yeah. On putts it's often not too different than the make % (except on longer putts). But on full shots, hell yeah, tell me he's 2.92 from there, so if he stuffs it, we'll know how great it was.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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The one main thing I want, and maybe not for the main TV broadcast, but it should be doable for things like PGA Tour Live, is some ability to customize your own viewing experience.  If I want to watch Patton Kizzire instead of Rory on Thursday, I should be able to.  If I'm more interested in following my fantasy golf team than the top of the leaderboard, I should be able to do that.  However its used, there are cameras all over the course, it shouldn't be that hard to have a camera on every shot that is happening.  Let me choose who I want to watch, or what scenarios I want to watch.  The Masters does this, and I would love to see it improved and expanded.

As for the normal broadcast....the cut cam needs to be a thing.  Friday afternoon they talk all the time about projected cuts, but they don't show any of the guys trying to stay on the right side of it.  Who makes and misses the cut is arguably more interesting on Friday afternoon than the top of the leaderboard.

Add something more permanent on the screen to give me a better idea of the course.  The players and commentators have walked the course for days and know every corner of it.  I, sitting on my couch at home, likely at the very best have seen a couple pictures of a few different holes.  I love it when they do the hole flyover so I have an idea of what the hole looks like, but I also am not going to remember every hole instantly.  If they added a hole overlay on a portion of the screen, it would help me see the shots they're trying to play.  Hell, I'd give up the left 1/3 of my screen for them to place a hole layout there for the shots they're showing, make it interactive for the commentators to sprinkle some of those graphics onto, such as the birdie, par, bogey locations from other players and probably a ton of other creative things they could do with it, and keep the camera on the other 2/3 of my screen.

And I don't really know the answer to this, but there has to be a better way to show ball flight on approach shots.  The shot tracer on drives (especially if they could couple it with my hole overlay, so I know if the ball is tailing toward trouble or following the fairway) is great, but it seems like the default on approach shots is to get the camera in the sky following the ball until it lands.  Like, thats probably really talented camera work, but it doesn't show me much of anything as a viewer.  I'm just holding my breath not knowing if the ball is headed right at the pin, 20 yards left or right of the green....its all a mystery until it just lands somewhere.  At the very least a shot tracer on all approaches would be nice, but some sort of advancement in technology where I could follow the flight of the ball on TV from the golfer's perspective would be ideal.

 

-Eric

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I like the idea of the focus on the cut, aside from the commentary where they might show someone on the cut line once in a while.   My main thing is to mix it up with a couple of different formats a couple of times per year more.   We already have a team event in LA, and the Match Play.  There used to be a Stableford which I think encourages more aggressive playing, especially if they limit the points deducted for bogey or worse.  The thing is, I'm not a huge believer that we need big changes to the product.   I enjoy it as it is now.   Most stops have a certain amount of history baked in which helps the product.

Heck, what if they did a "ringer" tourney like my Club Championship the past couple of years.   You get to take your best score on a hole overall.   It's 2 day for us, so you can take a 10 the first day and then do better the next.   On the right course that could be interesting for risk/reward shots.

Also, maybe instead of guaranteed money, what about payouts daily on days before the cut?   Did well but missed by 1 shot, then you are still in the money and get something for trying.

A lot of the talk about "improving the tour" is Mickelson and his ilk just wanting more money because they think they are the biggest draw.   personally I like weeks with "weak fields" because it gives someone new a chance to shine (sometimes) and you get some interesting stories.   There is room for improvement, but I think it's pretty good as is.

—Adam

 

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13 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

I like the idea of the focus on the cut, aside from the commentary where they might show someone on the cut line once in a while.   My main thing is to mix it up with a couple of different formats a couple of times per year more.   We already have a team event in LA, and the Match Play.  There used to be a Stableford which I think encourages more aggressive playing, especially if they limit the points deducted for bogey or worse.  The thing is, I'm not a huge believer that we need big changes to the product.   I enjoy it as it is now.   Most stops have a certain amount of history baked in which helps the product.

Heck, what if they did a "ringer" tourney like my Club Championship the past couple of years.   You get to take your best score on a hole overall.   It's 2 day for us, so you can take a 10 the first day and then do better the next.   On the right course that could be interesting for risk/reward shots.

Also, maybe instead of guaranteed money, what about payouts daily on days before the cut?   Did well but missed by 1 shot, then you are still in the money and get something for trying.

There is a lot of interesting things that could be done with different formats.  I don't want to see a different format every single week, but a little variety here and there would be a good thing for viewers too.  Match play has become a must watch tournament for me, and while the Zurich Classic team event isn't as high on my radar, I get the appeal of having something different for a week.

I have a format that I think would be interesting to watch, and keep interest every single day for both fans and players.  It would basically consist of 1/4 of the original field size is cut each day, and scores reset each day.  So your only goal is to survive and advance from each day while starting with a clean slate.  So for a field of 100, 25 guys are cut after round 1, scores reset and the 25 worst scores of round 2 are cut, reset again and cut the 25 worst scores of round 3.  Then the final 25 guys play 18 hole stroke play for final standings.  I'd envision entertaining playoffs all over the place to get cuts exact as well, no advancing on ties.  Maybe a little off the wall but exciting all the way through

-Eric

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I would like Jack and Tiger in the booth on the Back nine Sunday at the Masters.  

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17 minutes ago, jmanbooyaa said:

I would like Jack and Tiger in the booth on the Back nine Sunday at the Masters.  

That would be fantastic other than the part where Tiger isn't playing.  

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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The skins proposal is too gimmicky for my taste.

But I like the idea of rewarding the low round of the day.  But if they are going to do that I think the reward should be money, not FedEx points.  In a tournament with a $1.5 million first place, something like $100,000 per day for low round of the day, with maybe $250,000 for the low round of the tournament makes a lot of sense to me.

But then again, what the hell do I know?

Rich - in name only

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For the TV product, always have the coverage on screen. Need ads, just share the screen. Keep coverage going. I’d like to see more realistic stats on performance and expectations versus the babble the announcers usually say. 

Philip Kohnken, PGA
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2 minutes ago, phillyk said:

For the TV product, always have the coverage on screen. Need ads, just share the screen. Keep coverage going.

I dislike the “playing through” parts. I usually just fast forward through them as I do for regular commercials.

Craig
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I’d like to see the cameras set up on the tee so that we could see both down the line and front on looks as they drive. Then maybe a slow motion replay of the views in slow motion when things go wrong (or right). At home learning experience. 
 

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6 hours ago, jmanbooyaa said:

I would like Jack and Tiger in the booth on the Back nine Sunday at the Masters.  

That's not the Tour product, that's the Masters. That doesn't do diddly the other 45 weeks of the year there's golf.

3 hours ago, turtleback said:

But I like the idea of rewarding the low round of the day.  But if they are going to do that I think the reward should be money, not FedEx points.  In a tournament with a $1.5 million first place, something like $100,000 per day for low round of the day, with maybe $250,000 for the low round of the tournament makes a lot of sense to me.

FEC points are essentially money, but they satisfy the sponsor, so they're more likely to be implemented.

3 hours ago, phillyk said:

For the TV product, always have the coverage on screen. Need ads, just share the screen. Keep coverage going. I’d like to see more realistic stats on performance and expectations versus the babble the announcers usually say. 

I don't know why, like F1, and hockey, and baseball… we don't have "green screen" type things, or virtual signs posted on the screen.

Something like this quick hack job:

ad_bunker.jpg

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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(edited)

I know going into the Fedex cup playoffs there is a considerable TV coverage on who is on the bubble and who is in and out virtually hole by hole.  I think it adds quite a bit as players try to squeeze into one of those 125 spots.

I like the idea of following those trying to make the cut.  I really don't like following a particular group from hole to hole.

Also, maybe reward one player, from the group of those who miss the cut, a spot on the weekend for the lowest Friday round.  I don't have to catch those guys, I just have to beat these guys.  Or even one from the the lowest Thursday and and one from the lowest Friday from the cut group.

John

Edited by 70sSanO
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1 hour ago, 70sSanO said:

Also, maybe reward one player, from the group of those who miss the cut, a spot on the weekend for the lowest Friday round.  I don't have to catch those guys, I just have to beat these guys.  Or even one from the the lowest Thursday and and one from the lowest Friday from the cut group.

No, I'm not on board with that. They missed the cut.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Was just watching Wimbledon and they could spilt screen more often. Sometimes they’ll wait for someone so long to play his shot only to go to another hole. Show more shots simultaneously and you can show more… shots. 

Steve

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Featured groups are already a thing but more of them. I rarely watch the main broadcast anymore. 
 

The masters app has the feature where you can watch every shot from every player. Would love to have that customizable during the day. Queue up a set of players and it plays their shots. Maybe PIP. 
 

More caddy n player audio or even player/player interactions. Should have more on course interviews too. 
 

Love some of the technology ideas already stated  

 

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2 hours ago, Brock said:

More caddy n player audio or even player/player interactions. Should have more on course interviews too. 

Caddies and players don't want that.

It takes them out of the game and makes them have to worry about what they're saying, thinking, doing.

In other words, it compromises their play.

Justin Thomas said a bunch more on a podcast, but basically… it'd negatively affect their play and result in a worse score or shot or competition.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | 5SK.com | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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