Mike Tirico is the only blot on an otherwise perfect weekend of Golf.
It's was not only a treat to see Jack Nicklaus leave the competitive golf this week and have his heir apparent, Tiger Woods conquer Golf's greatest theater but almost more fulfilling for a fan like myself was to see so many battle tested veterans rise to the top of the leaderboard at St. Andrews. Forty- Six year old Fred Couples who has been one of the best players through the years at the Open, though he has never won the Claret Jug, finished tied for 3rd his best showing anywhere in several years. Watching Vijay Singh and Michael Campbell once again compete at the highest level and carry the flag for the South Pacific was special as well. For all the talk in the golf world that Europe's stars only show up once every two years at the Ryder Cup, seeing Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Bernhard Langer rise to the of a leaderboard for the first time in years at a major championship was a major delight. As great as that trio was, nothing was better on the final day than watching ABC Golf analyst Nick Faldo finish birdie, eagle the only player in the field to finish that way in any of the four rounds. Faldo, who impressed me this week with his humor and wit in the booth still has too much golf left it appears to spend all his time trying to make the lifeless Mike Tirico actually bearable to listen to. (As good as Faldo was in the booth, he still has miles to go to be Johnny Miller: Despite the other networks efforts to imitate there is only one Johnny Miller in all of TV sports, and NBC has him). Why the Disney networks continue to showcase Tirico on all sporting events of significance is really mind boggling. The BCS title game, you see Tirico. The NBA Finals you see Tirico. The British Open you see Tirico. Why do we have to see this guy constantly? In fact you will see Tirico during any NBA telecast on ABC or ESPN as well as any PGA Tour event on ABC, and on any Thursday Night College Football telecast and often times on SportsCenter. Also, it was truly insulting that during the final minutes of one of the world's biggest sporting events, ABC subjected us to endless promotions for the X Games and Great Outdoor games, shameless events contrived by the Disney Networks.
Speaking of TV, I really have grown to respect the production and presentation TNT gives in all its sporting telecats. Normally in Major Championships you cannot wait for the cable network that does the first two rounds to hand over the reigns to the network. The British Open is the opposite. I really cannot stand ABC's telecast and TNT seems to be so much crisper with its production and graphics. Throw in that Ernie Johnson is exciting and well studied on the game compared to Mike Tirico's Disney network hack broadcast posture and you have a clear difference. Too bad ABC just signed a new contract with R&A thru 2011. If the British open really wants to be considered on the same level in the USA as the Masters and US open (as it should be) they need to dump ABC and sign with either NBC or CBS as soon as possible.
This year's Open from St Andrews will go down as one of my favorite all time golf events. Sometimes I question myself as to why, unlike normal Americans I have spent so much time since I was a child watching the game of Golf on TV, a game I can hardly play myself, and why I year after year get up at ungodly hours to watch an event that looks like its played to some on a cow pasture. This week was exactly why. No tournament, in fact perhaps no sporting event in the world has the flavor and international feel of the BritishOpen. More importantly, few places on earth rival St Andrews for sheer atmosphere and elegance. The Open championship from St. Andrews: Like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus something very special.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.