I was able to catch the final round of The Players Championship on NBC, Game 2 of Ottawa-Buffalo on Versus and part of Game 2 of Detroit-Anaheim also on Versus. You already read my complaint about Versus’ coverage of Ottawa-Buffalo and its quick sign-off in favor of Professional Bull Riding. I wanted to see some analysis from the studio, but instead, fans were short-changed.
NBC’s coverage of The Players was similar to CBS’ coverage of The Masters and perhaps it was an audition for Augusta. There were short commercial breaks, just four an hour and all did not go over two minutes. Also, there seemed to be an effort not to criticize the TPC Sawgrass and the 17th hole. I do have to say NBC did an excellent job in focusing on the duel between Phil Mickelson and Sean O’Hair.
Johnny Miller seemed to defer to Roger Maltbie or Mark Rolfing who were on the course while Johnny was in the 18th tower. Replays of missed putts were telling and Miller, Maltbie, Rolfing and third on-course reporter Dottie Pepper were on top of the breaks on the green. Best analysis was Miller’s and Maltbie’s questioning O’Hair’s use of a 9 iron on the 17th hole where golfers were using no more than a pitching wedge. Sure enough, O’Hair’s shot sailed over the green and went into the drink. Plus, you could hear the anguish in Miller’s voice when O’Hair’s next shot also went into the water. “Painful to watch,” Miller opined. Truly was, especially after O’Hair had spent the first 16 holes trying to stay with Mickelson.
Replays of O’Hair’s and Mickelson’s reactions were timely and appropriate. And Dan Hicks was quick to point out that O’Hair’s fall was Sergio Garcia’s gain as he vaulted into second place. NBC’s golf crew was on top of all trends and worked quite well together. Good on NBC for getting an interview with O’Hair who said he wasn’t there for the money, he was there to win which is why he went for the flagstick on 17 after missing a key putt on 16.
Bob Costas was hardly seen except for an interview with Golf Magazine’s Tim Rosaforte and at the end when he interviewed Phil Mickelson while he was accepting his trophy. I’ll have to give NBC an A for its coverage for the final round. It’ll be ready for the US Open next month at Oakmont.
Versus is just amateurish. Nothing more need be said about its NHL coverage.
Today, Fox and MLB will announce a mid-week start for the World Series. It will begin on October 24, a Wednesday giving a long layoff in between the League Championship Series. This means Games 1 and 2 will be on Wednesday-Thursday, Games 3 and 4 will fall on Saturday and Sunday. USA Today’s Michael Hiestand has more.
Later today, the network upfronts will begin. NBC will begin today. We already know that Friday Night Lights will remain on the schedule after mounting a huge “Save Our Series” campaign.
USA Today’s Gary Levin says Law & Order will remain on NBC’s primetime lineup, but L&O Criminal Intent moves to cable sister network USA. We’ll have more as the lineup is announced later today.
The upfront schedule this week is as follows:
May 14: NBC
May 15: ABC
May 16: CBS
May 17: CW and Fox
We’ll have reaction as they come available.