“Team Spieth” Disrespects Most Lethal Hole in Golf, Pays Dearly

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The 12th hole at Augusta is the most photographed, oil painted, lithographed and re-printed golf hole in the world.

It’s a masterpiece. And it is also lethal. How does Spieth not know this? How could he not learn from his same mistake in 2014?

While it’s fine if Spieth wants to play the “we” game with his caddy Michael Greller, the fact remains that players hit the shots and make the putts. Always has been, always will be. Spieth can be complimentary of Greller’s looping acumen all day long, but when Idiot #1 and Idiot #2 stand on #12 and throw away a tournament, well then, they deserve to get crushed.

Who knows what Greller *might* have said, or perhaps *wanted* to say at that moment. All I know is that he basically rubber stamped Spieth’s idiotic decision to hit a “stock fade” to “fit” it into that right pin.

Moron.

I thought he was a big student of Augusta, with thick notebooks on strategy? Even if Spieth was puring it all week and not hitting flare-rights, that’s still a stupid play. A simple 4 there is a good score, because it’s the last terrifyingly hard shot on the course. Greller should have known, and argued: “Hey, bud. We’ve got 4 birdie holes in a row coming up. We’re fine. Guys make double-digit scores here sometimes. There is NO GOOD drop if we get wet. We’re gonna put this over the water for sure, figure out what’s left, and then we’re gonna go win this tournament.”

Apparently, never crossed either guy’s mind. Oh well. Live and learn. IF they learn. We’ll see. Respect Golden Bell. RESPECT IT!

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Spieth’s likability took some hits this week as well. Not so much with me. I still love his game, his attitude, and his class. Kid’s gonna be fine. But with some golf fans, the slow play and backing off nearly ever shot and putt got to be very tedious. On Friday, his group was put on a clock. GOOD! Nobody’s above the law. But on Saturday and Sunday they were “in position” the whole round, and finished in 4:40+, which is sadly standard for majors today. And understandable given the demanding winds and bathtub-slick greens.

I think Spieth has developed a routine where he stands up to the ball much quicker than most players (he doesn’t take practice swings) and then PLANS to back off of it as part of that routine. It’s not unlike Peyton Manning getting to under center with a lot of time still on the play clock, with the express intent of calling several audibles while the defense stands around frozen.

This is not fun to watch on TV. And Spieth was also hurt by the fact he has been on TV at the Masters…. NONSTOP FOR 2+ YEARS! Hell, give the guy some love for leading a record 137 straight holes. It’s an amazing feat. I think NIck Faldo said on TV that he held the lead for all of about 7 holes TOTAL, while winning 3 green jackets.

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A few broadcast thoughts, and I hope CBS can take these as just honest “customer” feedback. To begin, we are ALL thankful for the added coverage the last 10 years. The alt-channels and streaming video. The HD and now, 4k. The par-3 contest and on and on. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But it could still be better. And isn’t golf all about always getting better?

So here goes…

1. Jim Nantz… please, dial back the syrup. It’s too much. You know this. You can do it. 20% less would be perfect.

2. CBS must start using tech tools like shot-tracer on the broadcast. It’s the golf equivalent of the yellow 1st down line. And would be SO vital at holes like #13. Instead, they have a guy in the pines with a handheld camera, panning wildly at the sky, trying to find the ball. Absurd. And while I was sure it was the GreenJackets who were blocking it’s use, turns out I was dead wrong. Apparently BBC uses Protracer and more! C’mon, CBS!

3. Ditto on using ShotLink data on the TV broadcast. Every other tour stop does. Get with the times, Augusta. We don’t just want to get sporadic drive distances and approach yardage left to the hole. Use the data. Same thing on putt lengths. I want to know EXACTLY how short Dustin Johnson’s three LAGGED eagle putts were on Sunday. (Atrocious!)

4. Dottie Pepper is a mistake on #13. While I like her work, this is not a hole you throw rookies onto. Give her 14 or 17. #13 requires a male former player (like Curtis Strange) who can really analyze all the risk/reward options.

5. Peter Kostis may be a great dude, but he’s the Toby Flenderson of TV on golf. He literally drains all the energy out of a broadcast and he gave the viewer virtually nothing as Spieth was imploding on #12.

6. Ian Baker Finch hasn’t said a critical thing of anybody on Tour, ever. Nice guy though. Gives you nothing.

7. Man oh man did I miss Ken Venturi Sunday. He would have been fabulous. Ditto Azinger. Ditto Johnny Miller.

8. I just don’t get what any network honcho sees or hears in Frank Nobilo. He’s white noise, with a Kiwi accent.

It seems like the commercial load for CBS has crept up in recent years. Of course, we were spoiled by the post-Martha Burke year, in which we got the Masters basically commercial free. Still, it seems like there is more. Still way less than any other major, so I’m not complaining. I’m just noting it.

I also question why CBS has to insert so many “musical interludes” that show a leaderboard against a beauty shot, and then it fades out and we get back to play. It’s odd, and unlike any other golf tournament on TV.

So there you go, CBS. Just a few customer thoughts. I know doing this is hard, and you guys do a better job than the rest. I also know you are restricted from doing some things you want, and your announcers are afraid for the gigs like Gary McCord. Not your fault.

BLOG_dottie

4 COMMENTS

  1. No doubt on nance dialing back the syrup. When he made reference to Willets caddy wearing #89 same as Jacks caddy in ’86 I threw up in my mouth.
    I kinda like Frank Nobilo. Don’t know y just do.
    So glad I recorded both Saturday and Sunday’s rounds and was able to watch it without knowing the results. I must of saved myself 90 minutes fast forwarding thru Speith and Speith caddies posturing. When he’s on the leaderboard He’s gonna turn off the casual golf fan real fast with that crap.

  2. Mostly good points there, Czabe. However, gotta disagree about CBS being the best. Johnny and the boys at NBC are waaay better. They’ve even been able to get Feherty to reel it in a bit and do actual golf analysis. His humor is much more effective off the cuff, as opposed to the scripted clown bits that McCord does.

  3. Spieth would have been okay with a double. The one time he needed to step back and calm down was before he layed the sod over his drop. CBS: where was the Dan Forsman reference when he did the same thing. Golf Channel mentions it but gets the year wrong. (93, not 85). Do these guys not watch golf? Online announcers were great, Czabe. Carter Blackburn and Andrew Catalon, despite having similar voices are very good announcers. Carter has a big future ahead of him. Time for these other guys to retire (Nantz, I’m looking at you. Spend some time with your little Grand, er kids…). Also, I like the chemistry of two man crews on a few pairings. It works great. Maybe have a two man booth for 3-4 pairings, then have a couple of hole guys when necessary like Amen Corner or the par 5s.

  4. The only justification (and it’s not much) I can see for the way “they” played that hole is that he’d just had a couple of bad ones and they were trying not to panic and overreact — just play the hole as if nothing was wrong. But some panic would have been better than pretended overconfidence. And I haven’t even heard a guess as to what caused the Buick-sized divot on the second shot.

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