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GolfTube: Sizing up the TV coverage of the Sony Open

Jonathan Wall
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So what did we learn from the Golf Channel's first mic'd round of the year? Golfers are really boring and not worth the live mic, or they really took Justin Rose's article in Sports Illustrated to heart and decided to keep all of their swing thoughts under lock and key.

Just a few days after Rose wrote a piece questioning the tour's decision to allow players to be mic'd-up for rounds, defending Sony Open Champion Ryan Palmer gave fans a glimpse of what we can look forward to hearing this year from the best golfers in the world.

Here's a rundown of what Palmer had to say during Friday's first round: He said the round was just a "walk in the park"; he talked about the NFL playoffs with Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar; the mic also caught him chatting with both players about what it takes to be on the PGA Tour policy board.

We're talking about groundbreaking stuff here, people! There wasn't a single comment from Palmer that involved his swing. And some of the comments the Golf Channel decided to play back were so muffled it made it nearly impossible to hear what he was saying.

I'd go out on a limb and say the Golf Channel wouldn't categorize the mic'd round as a success.

In an effort to get other players to see that the device was no big deal, the Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz asked Palmer, during the post-round interview, what he thought of playing golf with a mic on his back (one of the things Rose said impeded his swing).

"It was OK," Palmer said. "Honestly, I didn't feel like I had it on most of the time. I felt it in my shirt, from my arm hitting it, but that was about it. I hope [the commentary] came out OK, because there wasn't a whole lot of conversations out there today. I'm glad to get through it knowing there weren't any worries there."

This week was only a test-run. Let's see if the Golf Channel can improve the coverage in the weeks to come.

More follows.

Taking a dig at Sun Mountain ... how original

Colin Montgomerie, not Nick Faldo, was the captain of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team. But that didn't stop Faldo from taking a dig at one of the biggest blunders of last year's event -- that, of course, being rainsuit-gate.

While discussing Davis Love's potential prospects as a Ryder Cup captain, Faldo took a small dig at Sun Mountain, the company that produced the American rainsuits that retained more water than your average camel.

"I think it's very difficult to say [how Love would do as Ryder Cup captain]," Faldo said during Friday's telecast. "Everybody's a totally different individual ... there's a lot of little things you got to do to get organized. Where are they going to be playing the event? Chicago? They won't have to worry about waterproofs, will they?"

The energizer Singh

Vijay Singh has more wins than any international player on the PGA Tour, 34, which is three more than former British golfer "Lighthorse Harry" Cooper; he also has more wins over the age of 40 than Sam Snead.

No one will ever dispute his success on the course. But if there's one thing that separates him from the rest of the pack, it's his ability to practice harder and longer than any player on tour.

While most players his age are paring down their schedule, in an effort to leave something in the tank for the end of the season, Singh continues to play in as many tournaments as possible.

"His records on the [PGA] Tour are really impressive," said the Golf Channel's Nick Faldo. "To keep the momentum going and get back in the winner's circle -- Tiger took him head-on -- it's really brilliant. He's still in the gym every day, and is still really pushing himself through the routine."

"It's almost a compliment to say he doesn't have anything left in the tank, because he used every ounce," Frank Nobilo noted.

"In a way it would be. He's used up all of his golfing batches ... that's one way of putting it," Faldo said. "That's the way I feel about my game; I wore myself out golfing-wise."

You're hurting my brain

The entire Golf Channel crew had a debate between the biggest difference between feel players and mechanical players during Saturday's second round. It was all started after Terry Gannon brought up some comments Jonathan Byrd made about trying to simplify his swing and thought process in 2011.

"I complicate things way too much, trying to be perfect, and that's been my biggest barrier over my career," Byrd said. "Now I'm just simplifying things and just enjoying playing. I'm having more fun."

Byrd, a player the network considered to be a bit more on the mechanical side, got an interesting take from Nick Faldo on what he can do to simply things.

"I think you want to get the mix right between what you do on the practice ground, and then being able to take that on the course and play. It's all about seeing shots, being very visual; I always tried to have the confidence to get in the golfing positions to where I could see the golf shots. ... A great place for him to practice is on the golf course. I used to love going out early on the course and playing a couple of holes with six balls and hitting different shots. I'd work on all kinds of different shots."

Faldo, of course, was a feel player, so his thought process may have differed from Byrd's.

Frank Nobilo, Bill Ray Brown and Jerry Foltz all chimed in and agreed that Byrd would do best to simplify his swing thoughts.

"Feel players can work out the kinks in the middle of the round," Brown said. "They have that ability to feel what's wrong and correct it. But if you get a guy who has a mechanical swing, he can have trouble figuring things out, mid-round."

Notes:

The Golf Channel did an interesting side-by-side comparison of the golf swings of John Daly and Jamie Sadlowski -- two of the biggest hitters in the sport. Needless to say, Sadlowski is a rubber band compared to Daly. It would have been even better if they had compared Sadlowski's current swing to Daly's old grip-it-and-rip-it swing. ... The number of commercials during this week's broadcast bordered on overly excessive. And here I thought people watched golf for the tournament coverage. ... The network took the time to show a slo-mo replay of Steve Marino's drop during the final round. Seriously. I wish I were kidding. ... But they made up for it with a brilliant slo-mo of Steve Marino's career shot from the bunker on the 18th hole. The shot looked even more amazing after you realized it was done with an arms-only swing.

Quotes:

"The swing looks good. But the shirt matching the marshal's? That's a big no-no," Golf Channel's Nick Faldo, commenting on John Daly's swing and wardrobe.

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