With Fox taking over the coverage of the US Open from NBC starting this past week, we were privileged to experience something in June that we usually have to wait until September to enjoy: Complaining about Joe Buck. Headlines from media all over the country echoed the same sentiments. The golf was great, but Fox (Joe Buck included) was terrible.
For example, this New York Times piece piece out lines the “numerous unforced errors” made by the Fox team. The author mentions all the parts of the broadcast that were terrible – and some of his assessments are ridiculous.
He mentions that Fox failed to talk about the “murky circumstances” around Dustin Johnson’s 6 month leave from tour last year. Basically, he wants the announcers to talk trash on the leader of the US Open. He also talks about how “maddening” it was that Fox didn’t consistently show how long a putt was. If that’s the best he can come up with, clearly he’s actively searching for issues with the coverage.
Obviously the author brought up valid points. For example, he noted that Fox had trouble showing the ball rolling in the fairway after drives, which is something I’d noticed as well. But what’s missing are all the positives about their broadcast, of which there were many.
They actually put mics in the bottom of the holes so we could hear both the ball rattling around after a made putt, as well as some of the conversations players were having. Like Jason Day asking DJ if he should finish out on the 72nd hole, setting the stage for the final strokes of the tournament. Don’t think any other network does that.
Having the pro tracer on pretty much every tee shot was amazing. That 357 yard drive DJ hit on the 18th hole had something like a 15 yard wide landing area. Watching the flight of the ball, and getting to see the difference between Spieth’s drive a couple moments ago is much better to watch on tv than seeing the ball land.
On course commentator Brad Faxon was hilarious. They showed Patrick Reed looking at a booklet on a green and Faxon explained that the book he was looking at showed the contours of the greens, and continued to make a comment about how whenever a player did that, he knew he had them beat since “if you can’t trust your eyes and feet, how are you going to trust a piece of paper”. Then after Reed missed, Faxon commented that “it’s good to see he keeps his emotions in check”.
I liked the silence from the announcers over the last few putts. I don’t want someone explaining the situation while DJ is about to putt. That makes it more about the announcer rather than the player. In this case, Buck and Norman set up the situation nicely and just let it play out.
Sure, NBC probably would have done a better job this year, but they didn’t want to cough up the money. All they want to do is sit back and complain and smirk to themselves about how they do a better job. But in reality, they’re on the sidelines and it just seems like they’re jealous. Wait a couple years when Fox figures this out for real. Then NBC’s going to feel like the joke.
For those of you complaining about the broadcast, it seems to me you should spend less time brainstorming things to pick on and more time on enjoying the US Open.