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GolfTube: Tape delays, fun with Nantz, and Philly frustration

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Sizing up the TV coverage from the AT&T National ... and away we go.

The final round of the AT&T National was a definite must-watch for golf fans. Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler and K.J. Choi were contention, giving the tournament more than enough star power to draw people to their couches on Sunday afternoon.

With Watney walking down the back nine nursing a one-shot lead, viewers at home figured they were in for a great finish. Little did most of them know that the great finish they were watching had already happened an hour earlier.

CBS decided to tape-delay the round, after a chance of showers forced tournament officials to move all tee times up. That meant when the network went live on the front nine, players were already well into the back nine.

This isn't the first time CBS has pulled this stunt before. It happened earlier this year at the Honda Classic, and rain never even hit the area. Who knows if the storms would have delayed the final round, but what seems to be the biggest issue of contention is that the network plays it off like it's business as usual.

As viewers, there's really nothing we can do but take the decision on the chin, and hope a friend doesn't send us a text or Twitter message with the result. Even still, the choice to tape delay the round is one of the more frustrating parts of televised golf.

There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere. Maybe CBS could wake up and figure out what it is -- a live stream online? -- before its viewership declines even further.

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Faldo sides with Vijay's U.S. Open decision

Vijay Singh's streak of major championship starts ended when he failed to show up for U.S. Open qualifying. While some saw a problem with him skipping his tee time and not notifying tournament officials, Nick Faldo wasn't one of them.

"He decided that the qualifying, which it is tough when we get to our age; I tried it. The 36 holes is a brute to try and qualify. With as much golf as he plays, you can't blame him when he wants to take some time."

After that comment, it would appear Faldo's definitely on Singh's Christmas card list.

Tiger talks rehab for Achilles, knee

Getting Tiger Woods to open up on the status of his injuries is like trying to break into a Vegas vault with a toothpick; it's an impossible task that really isn't worth trying.

But despite the challenge, CBS's David Feherty tried anyway, interviewing Woods during the final round on the status of his Achilles and knee. The two are friends, so the questions didn't come with a Peter Kostis-like glare, but the answers we're Woods' usual style: bland and with little insight.

"Yeah, you think? I'd rather be out there playing against these boys," Wood said, when asked how much he'd like to be on the course. "But they're all playing well ... it's fun to see, but it's also not fun to see."

When asked about the injury and when he'd be back, Woods gave his normal response from earlier in the week.

"Well, I don't know yet," Woods said. "That's the hard part; as I mentioned earlier this week, I'm taking it one day at a time. I still haven't hit balls yet, so I'm just trying to get the leg right so I can."

Feherty made one valiant effort at the very end of the interview to nail Woods down to a specific return date, but he received another generic answer. Regardless of Woods' responses, credit goes to Feherty for trying to conduct an interview with one of the worst interviewees in the game.

Beaned and beautiful

Nick Watney may have won by two shots, but he can still thank an innocent bystander at the tournament for giving him a little help in the final round. Teeing off on the par-4 12th hole, Watney's tee shot hit a fan in the forehead, before bouncing 25 yards back into play.

CBS's camera crews caught the moment on tape and replayed it, which led to a ho-hum comment from Jim Nantz: "It looks like the ball bounced and caroms back into play. A big break for our leader."

"It looks like it hit a fan and bounced back into the fairway." Feherty noted, as cameras showed the guy and the bruise on his head. "[Watney] should autograph that bruise."

Hard as is it to believe, the guy with the bruise was in good spirits and smiling for the camera. No doubt about it, guys from Philly are tough as nails.

Fun with Jim Nantz

Leave it to Nick Faldo to produce the best one-liner of the week. Talking about the Fourth of July crowds at AT&T National, Faldo mentioned a trip around the course earlier in the week that proved how popular this tournament is becoming in the Philadelphia area.

"It really is a great atmosphere out here. I tried to tour the golf course, and the spectators were so inconvenient they were in my way when I was trying to cart it right," Faldo jokingly said.

"How rude of them," Terry Gannon said. "Didn't they know who you were?"

"Well I was driving Jim Nantz's cart," Faldo said.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a rim-shot following Faldo's comment. What a letdown.

High praise for the Golden Era

Like most of the field at Aronimink, the talking heads were raving about the course in Newtown Square, Pa., as one of the best tracks on the tour schedule. Count Nick Faldo as a big fan of the course's renovation that turned back the clock and brought a number of old-school features to Aronimink.

"I love the Golden Era of the great architects designing courses during the late '20s," Faldo said. "And also, I admire the golf clubs, a bit like Winged Foot, that have found original photographs of the golf course, from back in that era, and brought it back to that time period. Obviously length has been added to it, but I think that's fantastic that clubs bring these classics, these gems, really, back to how they were originally designed."

Split tees cause major headache

Aronimink's eighth and 10th greens made for an interesting final round. With the pin on eight playing in the back left, and the 10th green funneling shots off the back and into a collection area on the left side near the eighth pin, players had to wait all day to hit shots into each hole.

As CBS's Ian Baker-Finch said during the final round, it had everything to do with the delay on each hole.

"Absolutely," Baker-Finch said, as the camera panned to show how close the greens were to each other. "Wouldn't it be great if it was a dual green surface, similar to the one at St. Andrews, where all those double greens add up to 18?"

Seriously? This was one of the biggest reasons the TPC at Las Colina -- the course for the Byron Nelson -- completely redesigned the fifth and ninth green complex that shared a green. It was a major headache.

Baker-Finch may be the only commentator in America who thinks shared greens are a good idea.

Philly frustration

Two days after players said Aronimink was a tougher test than the U.S. Open at Congressional, the track went in reverse on Saturday with a course-record 62 from Watney and a pair of 63s.

"After the scoring here yesterday, I think we're fortunate there are two holes on each green. Probably, you know, you could have gotten away with one," David Feherty joked on Sunday about the extremely low scoring conditions. "The members have got to be deeply upset."

That might be the understatement of the century.

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