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Jonathan Wall

GolfTube: Tape delays, Jack Nicklaus, and the dreaded 'S' word

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Sizing up the TV coverage from the Honda Classic ... and away we go.

We all probably have our own pet peeves when it comes to weekly golf coverage, but I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement that tape delaying a live round ranks right up there with the 200 Cialis commercials we have to endure on a weekly basis. We just don't need them.

But while the masses were crying foul over NBC's decision to tape delay the final round of the Honda Classic, you have to wonder if they even had a choice. Given the weather that was predicted for Sunday afternoon, the tournament clearly didn't want to finish the last couple of holes on Monday if Rory Sabbatini -- who held a five-shot lead going into the final round -- had the tournament well in hand.

Sabbatini only ended up winning by one, but the decision ended up making NBC look pretty smart, especially when tournament officials had to blow the horn at 3:30 p.m. ET with lightning in the area. The tournament resumed shortly thereafter, and finished well within the network's allotted slot, giving NBC enough time to show the round in its entirety.

Tape delays are the devil, but when the choice is trying to beat the weather and the thought of showing dreaded early round highlights to kill some time, I'm pretty sure the network will always go with the former. Assuming NBC showed live final round coverage and the weather pushed the close of the tournament past the end of the time slot, we would have been forced to watch the rest of the coverage on the Golf Channel. It's not a bad deal, but there was still a chance the tournament could have finished on Monday. It's either uninterrupted coverage or multiple delays.

While I rarely side with the networks on these decisions, this is one of those times where it just made sense. Tape delaying the final round of the Tour Championship, even with the weather, is sheer lunacy. Doing it at a stop on the Florida swing is another.

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Nicklaus' Olympic course bid

The Memorial will always be known as Jack's tournament, but it's obvious the Honda Classic is quickly becoming Jack's 1A tournament. Nicklaus spent some time in the booth with Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks during Sunday's final round, giving his opinion on a number of topics.

But it was his Olympics comments that probably raised the most eyebrows. Currently in a heated battle to design the Olympic golf course for the 2016 games, Nicklaus took a couple of minutes to "gently" tell people why he deserved to build the course.

"Well, Annika [Sorenstam] and I worked to try and help get golf awarded into the Olympics, and when I was going to put a bid in to say I'd like to do the golf course, Tim Finchem suggested Annika do it with us, "Nicklaus said. "I felt like we were the two... I said, 'Sure, I'd be happy to do that.' We're not doing this for us. What we want is to make sure that golf remains in the Olympics."

Noticed how he stopped short of saying that he and Annika were the two that helped the most during the proposal process? Smart man. He's been around the game long enough to know that finishing that sentence would have opened a can of worms.

Still, don't you find it ironic that Dan Hicks just happened to bring up Jack's Olympic course bid during the telecast? What are the odds of that happening!

"Boom, baby!" lives on

Jeff Overton has never won a tournament on the PGA Tour, but he's come extremely close. If he has any incentive to get the first win sooner rather than later, the number of times Kelly Tilghman, Frank Nobilo, Dan Hicks, and Johnny Miller mentioned his "Boom, baby!" moment at last year's Ryder Cup during the telecast should be reason enough to win and get them talking about something else.

After holing out from the rough during the second round, Kelly Tilghman noted that it was a "subdued 'boom, baby.'" That moment was followed by a highlight of the Ryder Cup moment, which was then followed by the same highlight during the final round, and another mention by Dan Hicks of the Ryder Cup moment.

I know we're pretty tired of the moment, after hearing about it for a week, but can't you imagine being Overton and hearing fans yell it over and over during a round? It probably makes the tired "get in the hole" bit look pretty enticing.

Shanks for nothing

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Only a video will do this shot justice. The dreaded shank is a shot most golfers never speak -- let alone want to experience more than once. One shank can turn even the most confident player into a head case.

Funny thing is, Frank Nobilo's comments prior to Heath Slocum's shank during the first round were very ominous. "Considering the circumstances, your whole round can be destroyed in this stretch," Nobilo said of the often talked about Bear Trap.

Almost on cue, Slocum shanked the tee shot, leaving Nobilo at a loss for words: "That's... uhhhh. That's... uhhh."

Kelly Tilghman tried to come in and save the moment: "We talked about the S-word before,” Tilghman said, “and a lot of other unspeakable words follow the S-word.

I couldnt' have said it better myself, Kelly.

Notes:

This week's telecast was decidedly subdued, which was a change from the last few weeks where Johnny Miller or Nick Faldo have thrown out opinions like they were going out of style. Maybe that's why the Tilghman-Nobilo pairing this week was such a dud. Without someone in the booth to lead the way, we were left with lots of dead air during the first two rounds, and little commentary. ... NBC's final round started more than 10 minutes late thanks to the final minutes of a 7-0 hockey game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. I guess CBS isn't the only network that has an affinity for starting final round coverage late.

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