This seems to be the consensus opinion on the 2007 Masters:
“Tiger-proofing” has made Augusta National too difficult
As a result, birdies and eagles were rare, taking the excitement out of the event
Bottom Line: It was a borefest
I must be in the minority, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 71st Masters. Maybe the setup was too difficult for a traditional Masters, but when it comes to tournament golf, I prefer attrition warfare over shootouts. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that a course can be too difficult. The 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock was a prime example of the silliness that can arise from a sadist greenskeeper gone wild. But as long as a golf course is fair, I think that it’s fine. After all, everyone plays on the same course.
The difficult conditions left a wide-open Masters for the final round. On Sunday, Stuart Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Retief Goosen, Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods all owned a piece of the lead at some point. Call me crazy, but I find such a “neck and neck” competition much more interesting than someone trouncing the field by 5 strokes the entire day.
Unfortunately, there was one key ingredient missing from this year’s Masters that would have made it magical: a classic Tiger charge. We all expected it, but it never came. Uncharacteristically, Tiger lost a final-round lead! However, don’t blame the course for that, Tiger clearly didn’t have his A, B or even C game. But take nothing away from Zach Johnson. He did not fold under the pressure and instead played brilliant golf. Unlike many winners this year, Zach won this tournament.
But imagine if Tiger was his usual self and forced Zach Johnson into a playoff ala Bob May in the PGA Championship circa 2000. Wouldn’t that have been exciting? All of a sudden, this Masters goes down in the history books as one of the best ever. Oh well, I guess Tiger is indeed human. It's either that or the Masters has truly been "Tiger-Proofed." Regardless, I'm just glad that I watched it all unfold on CBS in 100% high def, unlike that NBC "HD-lite" treatment.
Last week it was reported that Nick "Han" Faldo joined CBS Sports as its lead golf analyst. This is welcome news for anyone who was a fan of Faldo in the ABC booth and was concerned about his future when ABC bailed out on the PGA Tour. The news only gets sweeter as it means that Faldo replaces Lanny Wadkins, arguably the weakest link of the CBS golf team. Faldo now completes an all-star golf broadcast team that includes David Feherty, Peter Kostis, Bill Macatee, Gary McCord, Peter Oosterhuis, Bobby Clampett, and Jim Nantz. Faldo will take the co-captain's seat in the tower alongside Jim Nantz.
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.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well, that couldn't be more true for me this past weekend when there was an absence of CBS golf coverage.
Why you ask? Well, who doesn't get a chuckle or two out of David Feherty's and Gary McCord's witty comments? But the real reason is CBS' super-slow motion "SwingVision" swing analysis feature. It's the coolest thing in golf broadcasting since...well let's be honest, there haven't been that many cool innovations in golf broadcasting ever.
SwingVision takes slo-mo and takes it up a notch. But what really makes it cooler than other slo-mo features, is that there is a camera solely focused on the ball at impact. You know how they say to "hit down" with your irons? While it's true, it's probably one of the hardest things to comprehend in the golf swing. I know that it took me a very long time to fully understand the concept. Well, it is instantly understood when you see a close-up of Tiger's 7-iron (my guess) spanking the rock on a descending path and then clipping a shallow divot in textbook fashion:
SwingVision is a great feature that tremendously improves watching golf on TV. I only wish that CBS used it more. And why not? I mean, there's usually enough downtime during a typical golf coverage to fit in a full-length feature film.
Anyway, if there's enough interest, I can try to dig up some more SwingVision screen shots. I think I can get screenshots of Tiger and Els hitting the driver. Please leave comments of what you want to see, and I'll see what I can do. Stay tuned.
P.S. Here's the video of Tiger hitting iron off the tee:
The following are some additional SwingVision-related posts on Grouchy Golf. Eventually, I'll have all the videos available for you to enjoy, so be sure to check back in the future!:
Grouchy Golf does not claim credit for any images featured unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyright to its respectful owners. In no way are we responsible for, or have control over, the content of any external web site links. Information here may contain errors or inaccuracies; proprietors do not make warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site's content. If you own rights to any of the images, or are depicted thereof, and do not wish to appear here, please contact us for prompt removal.