GOLF

NBC Sports has viewers doing remote-controlled gymnastics

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Watch the 122n/a The US Open felt like an Olympic sport. Call it remote-controlled gymnastics and yours truly is in contention for a podium finish after day one.

First, the good news: NBC Sports has over 45 hours of live championship coverage Thursday through Sunday, not to mention over 100 hours of live coverage from Brookline, Massachusetts, including bands and holes. Featured.

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But to do that, viewers had to bounce from Peacock to USA Network, then NBC in the US and one last stop at Peacock. It was harder to follow than a three-card Monte game. Unless you had a cheat sheet, good luck.

I know some of you are reading this complaint and thinking, “Really, you had to change channels four times in 14 hours? Oh mankind!” Sure, most of us can figure out how to press a button four times, but the question is why should we do it these days?

My take is that this plan was devised by a bunch of overpaid executives with fancy MBAs who are probably pretty good at their day jobs, but clearly aren’t golf fans.

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Peacock, NBC’s streaming service that debuted in 2020, is the network’s new darling and the US Open could arguably steer new users to the fledgling platform or feature bonus content that will entice existing users. to come back for more.

Yet when TV coverage of the 122n/a The US Open started very early on Thursday on Peacock, it only did so for premium members who were already paying for Premier League football, WWE and its Olympic coverage, among other things. I wasn’t and reluctantly shelled out over $4.99 for the month – I guess the wife and I can finally binge Yellowstone – so I can watch the start of Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm’s innings.

I wasn’t the only one who was irritated at having to look up credit card information and agree to being charged for another streaming platform. (Personal note: Remember to cancel in 30 days as you normally do.) John Sluhan, head pro at Boone Valley Golf Club in St. Louis, wrote“I’d love to pay $4.99 to bounce around all day, but I’ll save that for a gallon of gas and just alternate between the two cable channels like my dad and grandpa.” Hell, I might even change the channels manually for the good old days or listen to the conclusion on this radio lol.

“Happy to pay for featured group coverage, but sympathize with those who can’t afford it,” says Tim Lyonswho looks like someone whose pocket I’d like to pocket in a game of Wolf.

Others noted that featured group coverage was free on the USGA app. I wish someone had told me before I paid for a month of Peacock. Yet for the US Open, operator of the US Open, which many believe has been overtaken in importance by the Masters, it can’t be a good thing that its TV partner continues to switch platforms. The television presentation of the Masters is second to none and asking viewers to pay for early coverage has been widely criticized – at least if you believe social media. The biggest bone to pick is paying for another unbundled product and then being forced to suffer through ads – in this case, a seemingly endless loop of ClifBar ads. When an ad was unsold, the zen music playing reminded me of the tunes of a posh spa waiting room. Very Zen.

At 9:30 a.m. ET, coverage switched to USA Network. I don’t know about you, but if the family quarrel question was which TV network would you click on to watch pro golf, USA Network would get an “X”. No way this is one of the top 5 answers on the board. That’s partly because it’s a new initiative by NBC that began in January to “expand its roster” with the addition of premium NBC Sports content. The goal is to bring “new communities to the United States, further strengthening the network as the premier destination for the best and widest entertainment in all of its many formats.”

He managed to get me to USA Network, which I haven’t watched since the days of Combinations and Burn Notice. It reminded me of the annual hunt to find Tru TV for NCAA March Madness.

The bulk of replies to a tweet I sent asking what people think of remote-controlled gymnastics expressed dismay at the wasteful work that overseeing a golf tournament entails. I have yet to hear a good explanation why a network that owns Golf Channel doesn’t use it. I digress, but that doesn’t bode well for GC’s future, which has dwindled since it closed its Orlando headquarters and moved a skeleton staff to Stamford, Connecticut.

But not everyone seemed to mind having to change channels, again when Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger’s A-team emerged to guide NBC’s hours. A Twitter follower by the name of Casual Water, a self-described “golf discord junkie” replied“I feel like my fat (expletive) can change the channel once every three hours and I’ll survive. I’m just glad it’s on all day. It wasn’t always like this .

No arguments there. At 5 p.m. ET, it was USA Network’s second time shining, if you keep the score at home. All those USA Network diehards must have been thrilled to jump from an episode of chicago fire at the Country Club.

At 7 p.m. ET, as Phil Mickelson walked to the 18e green, USA Network’s time has come to an end, Hicks explained, and an episode of, you guessed it, chicago fire was on deck. It was time to get back to where it all started all those hours ago: paid coverage on Peacock.

“You can watch 9 1/2 hours of basic cable coverage between the US and NBC. You can watch featured group and hole coverage all day for free on the website and app. And yet there are still a lot of people complaining about the *option* to pay and watch Peacock as well,” tweeted David Lettieria former golf pro turned lawyer.

Glad I was a rookie subscriber to see Mickelson wrap up a dreadful 78. It was the only place to see Canadian Adam Hadwin hang on for the first-round lead at 4 under.

As Day 1 coverage drew to a close, there was no argument that NBC Sports was providing nonsensical coverage. From the opening practice to the final putt, viewers could consume golf coverage in a variety of ways. But it would certainly be easier if it were broadcast in one place (and without ads for those who pay a subscription).

The Players Group, a sports marketing and management firm in the golf industry, perhaps said it best in his response to my tweet: “It’s crazy and impractical but we’re gonna do it anyway.”

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