Sizing up the TV coverage from the HP Byron Nelson Championship ... and away we go.
Keegan Bradley may have been the big winner at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but local Dallas high schooler Jordan Spieth was definitely big winner 1A. While Spieth couldn't better his incredible finish at last year's tournament, he made for some incredible TV watching during the first three rounds.
Without a major star in the field, the Golf Channel and CBS keyed in Spieth, a senior in high school who was not only trying to make it around the course under par on Saturday, but also trying to make his 4 p.m. high school graduation.
"There are a lot of reasons to like this kid," Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee said, "but most importantly, he's acted like a seasoned veteran, of course, with the great attributes that Byron Nelson exemplified.
"I have no doubt he'll have a great career at the University of Texas, and probably a great career in professional golf."
While Spieth was the story for most of the week, CBS did a great job of not playing the story out on Sunday. With the kid out of contention after a brutal stretch of holes, the network backed off and didn't show him again until he was walking up the 18th, and only then it was because his playing partner, Keegan Bradley, was one shot back of the lead.
It was a great call by the network to not ride his coattails ... especially when CBS has been notorious for doing just that when Tiger Woods has been out of contention.
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Byron Nelson's legacy
Legendary golf icon Byron Nelson was the reason players used to show up every year in droves for the tournament in Irving, Texas. After his passing, some of the notable names, namely Tiger Woods, decided to pass on the tournament.
The tournament field isn't what it used to be, but the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee, a Dallas area native, said Nelson's legacy still lives on at the event.
"Every time when you hear golf is a gentleman's game, at the top of the list you think of men like Byron Nelson," Chamblee said. "Of course, we remember him for his golf, he won 65 times and 5 major championships, but its what he's done off that course that's his legacy. He was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for distinguished achievement and contributions to society. This society is better because of Byron Nelson, and it's a big reason why former champions always come back to play."
The Sergio factor
We've all heard about the "Tiger Woods factor" before, but how about the "Sergio Garcia factor"? Like most, I didn't believe such a factor existed ... until Friday, when the Golf Channel decided to extend second round coverage from the tournament because Sergio Garcia was on the course.
That's right: Sergio Garcia. Not Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, or a number of other notable players, but a Spaniard that nearly walked away from the game last season. With Garcia in contention, the network announced they'd be extending things to allow Sergio to finish his round. Viewers not only got more of Sergio, but also an extra hour of coverage.
Just when you think you have the exception to the rule list down on who deserves more coverage, the network turns around and throws viewers a curveball.
Brutal weather dominates Nelson
You had to feel bad for the players in the Nelson field. Saturday's scoring average was the second-worst on tour, and Sunday's was just as bad, leaving viewers to witness some brutal rounds of golf from some of the best names in the game.
While the wind has a tendency to force players to add an extra couple of clubs to each shot and keep the ball low, CBS's Nick Faldo brought up a really good point about another aspect of a golfer's game that can be affected: putting.
"These aren't very big greens, but you really need to be steady over your putts," Faldo said. "The wind is blowing so hard out there that it can certainly blow your ball off your line. When it gets to that point, you really just need to wait for the wind to die down a bit, hit it, and hope a gust doesn't come up as you finish your stroke."
While it wasn't that big of a problem during the week, CBS's cameras caught Ryuji Imada calling over a rules official to get a ruling on his ball moving before he addressed his putt.
- HP Byron Nelson Championship
- Byron Nelson
- Tiger Woods
- Brandel Chamblee
- Golf Channel
- Sergio Garcia