AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM: The Disgraceful Television Coverage

Mike LynchContributor IIIFebruary 10, 2012

No live coverage of Tiger and Tony Romo
No live coverage of Tiger and Tony RomoJeff Gross/Getty Images

I admit. I am a difficult person to please when it comes to golf coverage.  I find it to be overly focused on too few players, below-average "signature" holes and reading putts.  Despite this, at no point do I want to change the channel.  Further, I am grateful for the amount of tournaments that can be watched on the Golf Channel.  You can really watch an incredible amount of golf compared to other sports without purchasing a premium season pass on your cable or satellite provider.  

Then the Pebble Beach Pro-Am comes along and it is nearly unwatchable.  It is absolutely ridiculous that live coverage is only provided at Pebble Beach Golf Links.  In years past I could understand not providing live coverage at Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula.  While it may not be good for bigger fans, financially the decision makes sense. 

This year throws that excuse out the window.  Tiger Woods is undoubtedly the biggest draw in golf.  Yet the Golf Channel does not send a live crew to cover his round at Spyglass Hill.  It doesn't make sense from a financial standpoint either.  Perhaps amateur participants causes an amateur effort in covering the tournament.

Making the coverage look worse is the contrast shown by Alfred Dunhill Links Pro-Am.  The tournament is similar in structure to Pebble Beach.  St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarn each host a round, a cut is made after three rounds and the final round takes place at St. Andrews.  

Live coverage was provided at all three courses.  They also moved crews around depending on what course the bigger names were playing on.  Round Two, for instance, had Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood playing at Carnoustie, making that course the center of attention for the day.  

Spyglass Hill had Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for Round One.  It makes no sense that they would be ignored for Dustin Johnson and Vijay Singh playing at Pebble Beach.  

The only saving grace of the round was the lack of celebrities at Pebble Beach.  If last year is an indicator, expect to see more celebrities than professionals when Saturday rolls around.  

Nick Faldo gushed about getting to play Cypress Point earlier in the week for the second straight year.  Expect more of this when he is joined by Jim Nantz for CBS coverage Thursday.  I could care less about how they played on a course that is not being played on tour and one that 99% of golfers will never get the chance to step foot on.

Finally, the coverage fails to point out why such low scores are being posted.  It is not due simply to ideal conditions.  Pin positions are kept exceptionally easy by tour standards and short Par 5's at Pebble and Spyglass are not converted to long par 4's.

The people in charge of coverage for the Golf Channel and CBS should be shown a tape of the Dunhill Links coverage.  It is clear that they have no clue on how to cover a pro-am tournament on three courses.  Round two coverage will be just as bad, round three will be nauseating if it is covered like last year.  It is a shame that two great courses are ignored and three rounds of a tournament are nearly unwatchable due to the television coverage.