Monday, October 15, 2007

One boo-yah and you're gone

Please tell us there will be no ‘boo-yahs’ at the Masters.

That was the first thought that came to mind last week when news broke that ESPN will take over first- and second-round coverage of the Masters beginning next April.

Talk about an odd fit.

The Masters is all things traditional, right down to the white bread on its pimento cheese sandwiches.

ESPN is all about being cool, hip and loving itself.

Now they are married, or at least engaged for a year. The Masters believes in one-year television contracts and you can believe ESPN’s treatment of the world’s best golf tournament will be carefully crafted to fit the template.

For years, the first two rounds of the Masters have been on USA Network, but it’s getting out of the golf business.

ESPN has essentially been out of the golf biz since the PGA Tour decided to put its weekday product on The Golf Channel, a questionable decision given that ESPN reaches the non-converted as well as the devout golf fan, unlike TGC which is for those of us too close to our 6-irons.

By shifting the telecasts to ESPN, it broadens the potential audience even more, enhancing the vision of tournament chairman Billy Payne, who is doing a nice job of embracing the past, the present and the future at the Masters and Augusta National.

And, it’s better than a safe guess that Mr. Payne doesn’t want to hear any ‘boo-yahs’ when somebody holes a 15-footer for birdie at the 12th hole.

The face of ESPN’s Masters coverage will be Mike Tirico, who gets golf and won’t try to make it about himself, like too many of his ESPN colleagues tend to do.

He will host the show while the regulars from CBS Sports - David Feherty, Peter Kostis, Peter Oosteruis, et. al - will handle their usual duties.

ESPN will do right by the Masters.

The Masters wouldn’t have it any other way.


David McKnight said...

On-the-green Interviews?

Here's hoping ESPN will not try to interrupt Masters golfers in the middle of putting just to get some exclusive on-the-green interviews.

It won't hurt them to read the Ron Green Jr. column while the guys try for their birdies.