Sizing up the TV coverage from the Valero Texas Open ... and away we go.
By now you've probably already heard all about Kevin Na's 16 during Thursday's first round. After knocking it into the wooded jail to the right of the fairway, Na spent an eternity trying to hack his ball out.
During his hacking, viewers were able to hear every word as Na and his caddie, Kenny Harms, went through the most comical moment in the Golf Channel's mic'd-up coverage. After enjoying the whit of Rocco Mediate at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the network once again showed us that there may be a place for mic'd coverage in the telecast, after all.
"It's a 7 or an 8 irons out of here," Na asked Harms, as the two surveyed the initial shot from the woods. "It's about 50/50 me getting out of here, huh?"
The odds were actually less than that, as Na's ball ricocheted off a limb and grazed his pants; you could sense this was no ordinary moment in golf. "Oh man, this is getting worse," said Golf Channel's Brian Hammons, as Na continued to knock the ball deeper into the brush.
Whether on-air host Curt Byrum was trying to take a slight dig at Na for his propensity for slow play, he produced one of the funnier moments of Na's implosion: "Man, he is playing quick, too. He's obviously got the head spinning going on," Byrum said.
In a week of golf coverage that definitely didn't live up to last week's drama at the Masters, it was nice to have a train wreck moment highlight a quiet week for the PGA Tour's television coverage.
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Oosterhuis blasts Na
One of the moments that seemed to go unnoticed during Na's blunder was his question to a PGA Tour rules official.
"I can't go back to the tee?" Na asked.
Clearly, Na had found his ball in the trees, so going back to the tee wasn't even an option. It seemed ridiculous for him to even ask the question in the first place, and it drew the ire of Peter Oosterhuis, who was following the group behind Na's.
"When he takes a shot in there, he should now his options are limited, " Oosterhuis said. "It's not as if he can then go back to the tee. You have to think very carefully when you're in a spot like that."
Adam Scott's long putter
Adam Scott had never contended at the Masters until this year, and a big reason why he seemed to have so much success was due to his switch to the long putter. The new stick was working, as he put in one of the best putting performances of the week, while nearly breaking the Aussie curse at August National.
In the field at the Texas Open, Curt Byrum tried to break down why Scott has been so successful with the switch.
"You know, a lot of players, when they go to the long putter, some of them ... actually, I've gone to the long putter myself," Byrum said. "I've tried everything there is to try. Some guys anchor it in the middle and let the head flow. Some guys use more shoulders. Adam has the ball away from his feet a little bit more than most people with the long putter. But he looks pretty confident with it inside 10 feet. That seems to be the area where he's really improved."
Na's new following?
Na's Army? It doesn't have a good ring to it, but Kevin Na could potentially see some new fans come his way after the way he handled Thursday's 16. After the hole, Na and his caddie joked about the moment on the next couple of holes
After firing a 77 in the second round, he took the time to chat with Golf Channel's Scott Walker after the round.
"I wasn't looking at it until I got a bunch of phone calls and friends were saying, 'Kev, turn on ESPN.' I thought it was pretty entertaining," Na said. "I chuckled, and ... I'm pretty proud of myself of the way I handled the situation. I shot three-under on the back nine."
When asked if he had one regret about the hole, Na joked, "I wish I had hit 7-iron instead of an 8-iron from under the trees. You definitely have to blame the caddie for that one."
His humor despite a frustrating round left Curt Byrum impressed. "He could have ripped that microphone off and made a mess of the round" Byrum said. "But he took things in stride, and I think he earned a lot of fans because of it."
Will people overlook his slow play and follow him anyway? That remains to be seen.
Ball striker's course
A ball strikers paradise? Ian Bake-Finch seemed to think that was the case with TPC San Antonio. During Saturday's third round, he mentioned that the course, while difficult, caters to a certain type of player.
"... I've noticed this year that a couple of very good players, that are also good ball strikers, have come and tried the course. It's quite reminiscent of a few Australian courses ... although we don't have so much rock."
Here's something you don't see every day: a PGA Tour event finish 25 minutes before the end of alloted TV slot. After Brendan Steele's putt fell on Sunday, CBS had to find some way to fill the remaining time.
After years of watching them cut from coverage for the most ridiculous things, CBS decided to stick with showing golf for the nearly half-hour left. Viewers enjoyed an entire leaderboard recap, a FedEx Cup update (no round is complete without one), an interview with Brendan Steele, and to top it off, highlights from the fourth round of the Masters.
Hey, it was better than watching informercials.
- Kevin Na
- Curt Byrum
- Golf Channel