GolfTube: CBS lucks out with crazy finish at Farmers Insurance Open

Jonathan Wall

Sizing up the TV coverage from the Farmers Insurance Open ... and away we go.

If somebody would have told you on Sunday morning that the finish at Torrey Pines would be better than the one going on over in Abu Dhabi, you most likely would have laughed and told them to head back to their home on the funny farm.

With Tiger leading after 54 holes in Abu Dhabi and Kyle Stanley holding a 5-shot lead at Torrey, it was clear at the start of the day that the real golf action was going on across the pond. At least that's what most of us thought. Because by the time the final putt dropped on Sunday evening at the Farmers Insurance Open, most golf fans were probably ready to admit themselves to the nearest mental institution, after watching one of the most bizarre finishes in some time.

Of course, the CBS crew was there to capture every moment leading up to Kyle Stanley's meltdown on the 18th hole. Opening the broadcast year at Torrey Pines, the network lucked out with what could be one of the best endings of the year.

CBS anchor Jim Nantz started to run down the list of first-time winners at Torrey Pines, mentioning the name of Jay Haas, Fuzzy Zoeller and Phil Mickelson, setting the stage for what most thought would be a victory stroll down the 18th hole for Stanley's first PGA Tour win..

"Smiles have broken out in the Stanley camp," Nick Faldo said, as Stanley and his caddie, Brett Waldman, stood off to the side of the 17th green.

"It's a big week for young Kyle Stanley," Ian Baker-Finch noted. "That three-shot advantage instead of a two-shot with one to go is so much different."

Ah, famous last words from the broadcast booth.

It didn't seem awkward at the time, but going back over the footage, caddie Brett Waldman was so calm walking up the 18th fairway to Stanley's third shot that he even took time to say hello to his kids on television.

It would end up being the last lighthearted moment for Waldman and Stanley. Jim Nantz proceeded to ask Nick Faldo about what it felt like the first time he won a PGA Tour event.

"It was at Birkdale in 1978, our PGA Championship. Fortunately, I had a six or seven shot lead coming up the last, so I could enjoy it for my first win," Faldo said. "[Stanley's] got one more important shot to hit before he can start looking at the scoreboard."

Right after Faldo's famous last words, chaos broke out in the booth, as Stanley watched his third shot roll off the green. "You've got to be kidding me," Nantz said, as Stanley's ball trickled towards the water.

"It's alright," David Feherty kept saying, over and over agin, as the ball crept ever closer to the hazard. The funniest moment of the whole shot was actually when Faldo said, "What do you mean? What do you mean?" right after Feherty had assured them the ball was "alright."

But it wasn't alright. "I think he's lost all the saliva in his mouth," Faldo quipped. "I have, too," said a shocked Jim Nantz.

After knocking his fifth on the green and taking two putts to get inside four feet, CBS proceeded to show a graphic noting Stanley had played 60 consecutive holes without a three-put, which you knew would be the kiss of death.

He ended up missing the putt and the tournament headed to a playoff. "We now have to get the Century Club off the 18th as this is going to a playoff. They thought it was a mere formality at this point," Nantz said.

So did Gary McCord, who was already leaving the course when he heard the news.

"Jimmy, what in the world are we doing here?" said a breathless Gary McCord on the tee of the second playoff hole. "I was driving and heard what was going on the road and I did a U-turn. I thought they were kidding on the radio. In my 26 years, I've never actually left and had something wild happened."

I'm fairly certain every on-course announcer on the planet would have felt confident leaving the course with Stanley up three shots. The hilarious moment moment only seemed to add to a chaotic finish that will certainly go down as one of the best broadcasts of the year.