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Devil Ball Golf

GolfTube: CBS slow plays viewers during final round

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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CBS Sports / Getty Images

Sizing up the TV coverage from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am ... and away we go.

It was billed as a pairing for the ages, a Tiger and Phil showdown that was supposed to draw viewers to their couches on Sunday afternoon, as two of the greatest golfers on the planet went head-to-head in the penultimate group on one of the most picturesque backdrops in golf.

Honestly, I don't think a TV writer could have scripted a better final round story. It was beyond perfect, and CBS capitalized on the moment by posting its highest rated Pebble Beach finish in 15 years.

That was the good news for CBS. The not so good news was the network once again failed to produce during a key moment in the tournament on Sunday afternoon. Blame it on the the suits and antiquated rules, but there was once again a 30-plus minute window during the final round when the tournament wasn't on television.

We've talked about this issue in the past, but CBS's decision to run college basketball coverage right up to the start of the golf tournament is a problem that needs to be rectified -- especially when you have a marquee pairing on the course.

Following the Golf Channel's early round coverage from Pebble, the network went back to the studio at 2:30 p.m. ET before CBS came on the air at 3:00 p.m. The only problem was CBS never goes live with golf coverage on time.

In years past, there have been one or two college basketball games that ended on time. And like clockwork, Sunday afternoon's Michigan-Illinois game went over its allotted time slot. There were still two minutes left in the contest when 3:00 p.m. rolled around, which meant viewers were stuck wondering what the heck was going on for almost 50 minutes.

Sure, the Golf Channel gave a couple of live look-ins and some updates, but for almost an hour, viewers were stuck getting updates from the studio and Twitter (the social media site went ballistic when CBS failed to go live to Pebble on time).

The big question is why didn't CBS allow the Golf Channel to show coverage right up until the college basketball game was over? The two networks may not work hand-and-hand (NBC and Golf Channel have the "synergy"), but you would have at least hoped CBS would have given the Golf Channel the green light to proceed with coverage until they went live.

But that never happened. Instead, viewers missed Tiger Woods' back-to-back bogeys on the 7th and 8th holes -- which turned out to be a critical turning point in the tournament.

I understand CBS has a deal with the NCAA and college basketball is a cash cow for the network, but someone needs to come up with a backup plan for these situations. You would think the Golf Channel and CBS would at least try to work together to make this possible. But as we saw on Sunday, that's most likely a golf pipe dream.

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