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GolfTube: Four-way golf coverage, soft shanks, and Tiger's putter

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Sizing up the TV coverage from the WGC-Cadillac Championship ... and away we go.

Most of NBC's golf broadcasts -- and most network broadcasts, for that matter -- have been a two-man show in the booth. Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks have been running the show for some time now, but with the merger of the network giant with the Golf Channel, it would appear NBC is trying to mix things up.

Over the weekend the network did something you don't see very often, doing Sunday's telecast with a four-man crew consisting of Hicks, Miller, Peter Jacobson and Gary Koch. It was an interesting dynamic, especially when you have an opinionated guy like Miller in the mix.

Surprisingly, the telecast wasn't a train wreck, and it seemed that the four talking heads got along quite well during the round. It was the kind of telecast that made you realize that adding voices to the mix isn't a bad thing. Jacobson and Koch are both consummate professionals, so it was nice to have a new view from time to time. They even did a four-way split screen in the middle of the round and had Hicks, Miller, Koch and Jacobson sound off on a number of hot topics.

Who knows if this was start of something new or just a test run. Whatever is was, there appears to be a place for four-way coverage, assuming it's something NBC wants to put in place for future tournaments.

More follows ...

Soft shank

NBC's Mark Rolfing added a new word to the golf lexicon on Sunday when he gave Hunter Mahan's tee shot on the par 3 9th hole a term no golfer on the face of the planet has ever heard before.

"That was a soft shank," Rolfing said.

As Peter Jacobson noted, he had never heard that term in his life. I'm not sure anybody else knew what Rolfing was talking about, either. "It was forty feet right when it started and just stayed there," Rolfing said, trying his best to define the new golf term.

I'm not sure if Rolfing was the first to coin the phrase, but he was definitely the first guy to say it on national television.

Skipping the question

Tiger Woods' struggles with the putter during the early part of the week forced him to switch to a Nike mallet model on Saturday. With Woods on the green, Johnny Miller asked Mark Rolfing to tell viewers at home a description of Woods' new flat stick.

Instead of giving us a description of the differences, Rolfing went off the tracks, taking the discussion from Tiger's new putter to his putting woes. "Well, he just doesn’t seem to make the ones he needs to, to keep the momentum going," Rolfing said. "The putt he missed at 16 a couple minutes ago and failed to make birdie. But then again, he’s had way too many long birdie and par putts."

Rolfing didn't answer the question, forcing Miller to answer it on his own. "If you notice, he’s using a new putter style as opposed to the old one he was using. Here's a quick view on the putter," Miller said. The cameras took a closeup look of Tiger's new mallet before moving on.

It makes you wonder if Rolfing didn't want to answer the question, or if he just didn't understand what Miller was asking for.

Old guys versus the young guys

Credit to Peter Jacobsen for a very funny spot during Saturday's third round. The PGA Tour has been pushing this "Old guys versus new guys" bit all season, so NBC decided to have some fun with it, having Jacobson go out on the range to get some opinions from players like Vijay Singh, Jhonny Vegas and Rickie Fowler on why each age group was better.

The interviews with the players were scripted, but they were hilarious and showed a lighter side from some of the more serious players on tour.


The Golf Channel did a magnificent job covering the Tsunami in Japan during Friday's coverage. They had an interview with Ryo Ishiwaka and mentioned an earlier talk they had with Yuta Ikeda. The network had no obligation to discuss the tragedy, but it was still nice to see them connecting the game to what was going on in the world. ... Tiger's snaphook on Saturday was something that you had to see to believe. The network used its pro tracer to track the shot, which ended up barely getting off the ground and going straight left.

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