Monday, October 09, 2006 at 10:23 AM
Nick Faldo Joins CBS Sports: Birdie or Bogey?
While adding Faldo to the CBS dream-team looks wonderful on paper, there's no guarantee that it will be a match made in heaven. Faldo worked out great at ABC because he injected a needed shot of humor into a broadcast team that was the television alternative to Ambien. Faldo also turned out to be a great foil to the usually serious but opinionated Paul Azinger. Both of them livened up ABC's golf coverage immensely.
However, Faldo will join a CBS team that's already the most entertaining in the business, chock-full of interesting and humorous personalities. David Feherty and Gary McCord are two of the funniest and wittiest sports commentators. I will always remember the time when I saw a pro hit an errant shot on a CBS telecast and then hearing Feherty quip, "Well, it looked good until he hit it." These are the kind of humorous comments that make CBS golf tops in my book. Will adding another funny fellow to the mix be too much?
Living in the heart of the entertainment industry, I have been exposed to the stand-up comedy culture first-hand. Surprisingly, it is a very competitive and cutthroat business where envy, jealousy and ego often turn comics against each other. Yes, comedians secretly want their fellow comedians to bomb. Sometimes, when these people are forced to work together, the results can be disastrous. Several casts of Saturday Night Live are proof of this phenomenon.
But if the chemistry is right, funny people can feed off of each other and produce great entertainment. The Howard Stern Show is one example where it keeps getting better every time they add a new cast member. While it remains to be seen whether the CBS golf team will improve with the addition of Faldo, can you really go wrong hiring someone with a Spinal Tap-esque British accent? Regardless, I can't wait to hear him comment about SwingVision. Also, it'll be interesting to see if Faldo mutters anything "offensive" during the Masters broadcast. Would the "Men of the Masters" dare banish a former Masters champion? I'm sure Gary McCord will take notice.
I never thought about the overkill aspect of Faldo, Feherty and McCord on the same broadcast team. Hopefully it won't turn out that way. Feherty is the funniest SOB in sports, period. Faldo doesn't seem to have the arrogance that Wadkins had. I think he'll do alright.
I agree w/ woundedduck on the Nantz deal. What is it about him and the Masters anyway? Mystique? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ain't that a stripper name? Tradition? Blah, blah, blah. So what? Its turned into a big circus. Dyeing the water for TV is just stupid and adding trees and lengthening holes is what every other course is doing. He treats it like a strange mix of a religious experience and an orgasm. Please.
When I hear talk of golf announcers, for some reason, humor is mentioned a lot. You don't hear that comment about the NFL, MLB or even Bowling. heh..heh.. I think what fairly knowledgeable golf fans value over everything else is honesty. There's Johnny Miller and the "excuse makers" - I don't think you'll ever hear Faldo say, "goodness, a blast of swirling wind came up just when he hit that shot!" I think he'll be as honest as Miller and that's good.
Faldo's humor isn't as in your face as Feherty's or McCord's so he should be fine as far as fitting in with them. I agree he isn't likely to make up excuses for bad shots. He did call Monty's shank a shank at the HSBC thing and that was right before the Ryder Cup when you'd think he would be diplomatic considering he's the captain now. And it's funny that sbr67 brought up strippers. I saw that phrase "men of the masters" and automatically thought of 'that kind' of calendar. LOL
faldo has a unique style. he will do fine because he doesn't need to be anything but who he really is. i like his cockney rants very much.
i esp. liked when zinger would make comments about what it takes to win - you could just sense faldo giving old zingster one of his famous stares. he is like johnny in the sense that he is the real deal squared. all the others are those who won a few and maybe a single major - faldo has 6 - he is his own man and that definitely comes across.
he has a long way to go to get to johnny's level but he is a champion and he will find his own way to the top. david f. and mccord are personalities with limited pedigree - they will be smart to jump on nick's wagon and ride it for as long as they can. they really are just entertaining goofballs, faldo is very different - he is a very funny champion just as johnny is a very astute tell-it-like-it-is champion.
it is quite ridiculous to worry that the faldo-david f.-mccord combo will be too over the top with the humor. mark my words - d.f. and c.m. will stiffle whenver nick leans in to comment. they are sidekicks - if they don't mesh with nick they will be squashed like bugs and thrown into the wind.
All of the above posts astound me, as I see Nick Faldo as a snob who's not even close to being funny. He's much like Jay Leno, close to being completely incapable of being TRULY funny. Faldo is rude and abrassive. abrasive. Did anyone here him boasting about the fact that driving around Europe can only really be done in a Porsche? Much of his audience haven't been paid ridiculous prizes for playing a game like himself. Oh yeah. I also feel the opposite of you in regards to Lanny Wadkins. I honestly thought that he was the best golf commentator I've ever heard in 20 years of watching the sport. Werd.
What I've always liked about the networks' golf broadcasting is the variety of personalities who do the announcing and commentary.
In the past, there were four major networks covering the sport. NBC, CBS, ABC, and ESPN. Now there are only two, CBS and NBC with the Golf Channel providing weekday coverage. So far this season, it seems that the GC is using the resources of whichever network is covering the weekend for its broadcasts.
This means that we will have to listen to Nick Faldo for all four days of coverage during the weeks that CBS carries the baton. Mr Faldo is an accomplished golfer and commentator but his is not the easiest voice to listen to for four days in a row. Especially when his jokes are repeated over the weekend from his golf channel broadcasts. During the Sony in Hawaii for example, Faldo repeated the joke about Kelly Tilghman smelling better than Paul Azinger each of the four days of broadcast
The great thing about the golf channel carrying the weekday coverage is that those rounds are now repeated during prime time which enables those who have to work during the week the ability to watch the entire coverage of a tournament. Add in the bonus of the high definition option on the Versus channel and the quality of weekday golf coverage is a thousand percent better than last year.
However, I miss the variety of voices on the weekend broadcasts. I did not mind Lanny Wadkins and felt he was a good complement to Jim Nance who is the best golf anchor (although he gets a little sappy sometimes when talking about the traditions of golf). Wadkins was also a good balance for the humor of Feherty and McCord. Baker-Finch is a good addition to the CBS team. He is a good balance for Faldo.
Thankfully, we still have Johnny Miller and the NBC staff on about a third of the year's PGA tournaments. Although Johnny has gotten a little lazy in the last few years, he is still the best analyst and he refuses to whitewash mistakes made by the pros.
I just wish we had that third alternative which was filled by ABC and ESPN the past few years. I still miss Curtis Strange who I thought was a better fit than Faldo and Azinger with anchor Mike Tirico. It's hard to believe that ABC dropped both golf and football in the same year. Back when ABC was the new kid on the block, it was the foremost sports network. At least, we still have them for the British Open. But, will Faldo be on that team too?
© Golf Grouch 2006