Thursday, August 12, 2010

Talking Golf With Mark Rolfing

Mark Rolfing is in town this week, hosting The Golf Channel's coverage of the U.S. Women's Amateur at Charlotte Country Club. Rolfing said it's his first visit to Charlotte.

This is Rolfing's 25th year in television, having become one of the most familiar faces and voices on NBC's coverage of The Players, The U.S. Open and the Ryder Cup, along with his work with The Golf Channel.

We talked for a few minutes earlier this week about a variety of golf-related subjects. Here are Rolfing's thoughts on a variety of subjects:

On his foundation, the Mark and Debi Rolfing Charitable Foundation, taking over management of the SBS Championship, the season-opening PGA Tour event in Hawaii, where he lives:
MR: "The event was in trouble and I stepped in to help out with the foundation I have. The ship was going down. We needed a plan for it.

"What we want to is create an all-star concept for the first event of the year. Golf doesn't have an all-star game. The way it's been, the PGA Tour season starts all of a sudden on a Thursday.

"We want to do things starting the Sunday before and through the Wednesday before the tournament starts to make it like an All-Star game in other sports. I can see having a long-drive contest, maybe some kind of all-star 'Big Break' competition and I've always thought about having the pros play with their caddies in a little event."

On Tiger Woods' struggles this year: MR: "Just when you think things may be returning to normal, they always seem to take a different turn. In a lot of ways, it's been good to have more attention on other players but the general public and the casual golf fan still want to see Tiger and see him play well. It's reflected in the (television) ratings."

On Phil Mickelson:
MR: "I've always looked at him as a mad scientist kind of guy. He loves to concoct things out of what would appear to be nothing whether it's with the shots he hits or the things he does in every day life. He's a curious George type of guy."

With a new television deal to be negotiated in the coming months, there has been talk about enhancing telecasts by perhaps doing on-course interviews with players. What do you think?
MR: "I'm not a fan of on-course interviews because the players never say anything worthwhile. The best audio going right now is between the player and their caddie. At NBC, we really try not to talk over that.

"I don't see on-course interviews being a big part of telecasts."

On his 'Global Golf Adventure' television specials, the latest of which will air Sunday, Sept. 5 at 2:30 on NBC:
MR: "It's the first golf travel show on network television and it's been successful beyond my expectations. We did the first one in Hawaii, then went to Bermuda then to Wales.

"This one will be different. It's at Pebble Beach and I'll be reliving the final round of the U.S. Open, which to me was one of the strangest days I've ever seen. I'm looking at it through the eyes of Graeme McDowell. I sat down with him in Akron and had him to go back in time to that day. It's sort of a chronology of what happened that day."


Anonymous said...

Ron, here's another thought about Tiger and the Ryder Cup. In the past, the event has been a husband and wife event with the dinners and parties. How do you think the other Americans will think when their wives indicate they are not comfortable with having someone who has not paid the price for their infidelity? That is everyone is willing to over look such behavior just becuase he is Tiger.