ESPN's U.S. Open Coverage Starts Out Confusing But Settles In Nicely

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have to admit that I was just as confused as some of you this morning with ESPN's coverage. For some reason the network didn't go into "total coverage" until 1pm, but I had no idea that's what they were planning. For two hours to start the day we got a few shots of the "Big Three" teeing off and putting but it was interrupted by 10 or so reports on players and the course itself. Karl Ravech and Andy North waxed ecstatic for the better part of the two hours and went to Tom Rinaldi and Colleen Dominguez early and often for the reports mentioned above. It's not that the reports were bad, there was just zero golf and no explanation for it.

Well right before 1pm, Ravech explained that they were currently in "ESPN U.S. Open Extra Coverage" and that Berman would be coming on with Roger Maltby and Dottie Pepper. The network went to break and then magically transformed into a regular Golf telecast. It makes sense to wait until most of the players are on the course, but it was very confusing to say the least.

Now that we're over 30 minutes into actually coverage, I have to say that it's actually pretty good. Chris Berman is doing a good job of not being "over-the-top", and while most of the coverage is on Tiger Woods, they're spreading it around just enough to other players. Not a bad start at all. Sure Berman has had his moments, specifically when referencing Chargers fans after the gallery cheered for Tiger, but he's not bothering me (yet) in the least.

I know a lot of you are TIVO'ing the first round so I'll skip on telling you about the play and just leave this spot as a running open thread for quotes and videos. Here are some of the early comments by the crew at Torrey Pines....

Day One Quotes:

“This is his mini-driver, 11 and a half degrees.”- Andy North
“And let’s not confuse the people at home who may think Minnie Driver might be walking around following Phil. It’s not Minnie Driver the actress, it’s Minnie Driver the golf club he’s hitting.”- Karl Ravech

“That 50% mental really applies to you Karl considering how much you do with Baseball.”- Tom Rinaldi

“Sounds like a Chargers crowd at home here.”- Chris Berman

“He’s [Tiger Woods] have never finished out of the Top 10 here. Pretty remarkable at Torrey Pines.”- Roger Maltby
“He knows where the bodies are buried…….and he knows where the putts are buried.”- Chris Berman
“He buried that one.”- Roger Maltby

(P.S.- Berman has some seriously wide shoulders these days.)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 1:32 PM

13 Comments:

off subject, but in case you missed, there's even more follow up to the Schilling-Bryant-some writer who i don't know who he is -

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ap-nbafinals-notebook061108&prov=ap&type=lgns

T. Ruby said...
Jun 12, 2008, 1:57:00 PM  

He knows where the bodies are buried? That sort of comment gets a person McCord'd from Augusta.

Jun 12, 2008, 2:34:00 PM  

Anyone else wondering where Scott Van Pelt is?? He's be doing all the pre-tournament stuff for ESPN, and now he's nowhere to be seen.

Rita Poon said...
Jun 12, 2008, 2:55:00 PM  

Curtis Strange on the "Featured Pairing" channel...

"The only par 5 finishing hole I remember in the US Open is at Baltusrol"

I guess Pebble Beach doesn't count?

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 3:51:00 PM  

Thanks for clearing up that Minnie Driver conundrum, Karl.

GMoney said...
Jun 12, 2008, 4:12:00 PM  

The Minnie Driver has a club head the size of a basketball.

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 5:43:00 PM  

isnt tirico calling game 4 of the nba finals tonight?

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 6:05:00 PM  

I was wondering that too, anon. Perhaps he's using a hellicopter to get to LA, since it's at least an hour's drive.

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 6:47:00 PM  

Is anyone else bothered by ESPN's leaderboard at the top of the screen? It covers one fifth of the picture, and is very distracting. NBC"s scroll is at the bottom of the screen and out of the way

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 8:06:00 PM  

ESPN probably didn't want to look like CNBC and do a dual scroll with the BottomLine & the scores. They certainly won't drop the BottomLine- they had to for the Masters, but that's the Masters. It's above the other 3 majors.

Anonymous said...
Jun 12, 2008, 9:40:00 PM  

I think Berman made sure to tell us about six times (no joke) that Justin Hicks was "a Michigan man who plays the Nationwide Tour."

Uhh, I cannot stand him, certainly for golf. It's bad enough he ruined a few Cubs games already last week.

Rod said...
Jun 13, 2008, 12:12:00 AM  

I am in agreement with Anon 8:06. Anon 9:40, the BottomLine and this bar can easily coexist at the bottom of the screen. Considering that both lines loop at least every 5 minutes, and that both graphical styles are quite different, one can easily tune out the information on one bar and focus on the other.

The problem I have with the current setup is that the cluttered, mechanical ESPN leaderboard graphic makes it impossible to take in the natural beauty of Torrey Pines, and part of the appeal of watching golf is looking at the scenery, including treetops and sky.

So, as usual, ESPN comes up with an idea that alienates the core audience and fails to bring in the newly desired audience. After all, how many people with short attention spans can stand to watch golf on TV?

Anonymous said...
Jun 13, 2008, 1:03:00 AM  

Watch US Open 2008 streaming video here: ::LINK::
quality quite good

Anonymous said...
Jun 16, 2008, 2:44:00 PM  

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