Sizing up the TV coverage from the RBC Canadian Open ... and away we go.
Tiger Woods hasn't played in a tournament since he withdrew from The Players Championship, but that didn't stop CBS from discussing one of the biggest topics in golf on Saturday afternoon -- that of course being the Tiger Woods-Steve Williams saga.
Ian Baker-Finch, an Aussie who had Williams on his bag during his golf career, gave his take on the situation.
"The [firing] wasn't much of a surprise to me, I must be honest" Baker-Finch said. "I've been a good friend of Steve's for over 30 years, in fact he was my caddie before he went to Greg Norman, so I've known him a long while. We've been talking over the last couple of years, and I think the toughest thing for Steve is that he thought he'd been extremely loyal with Tiger through all of the ups and downs over the last 18 months, and Tiger basically fired him the Sunday of the AT&T, saying he felt he hadn't been loyal. And I think that's what hurt Steve the most."
He also said Williams probably saw the split coming.
"No, I have a feeling he thought it was coming" Baker-Finch said. "It was a bit of a shock at first when Tiger told him it was OK to work for Adam Scott at the U.S. Open and then asked him not to, but it was already too late because he was already over here and committed to Adam. And when he worked with him at the AT&T, Tiger just thought it wasn't the right thing. But I think Steve made the wise choice; he didn't want to leave Tiger and kick him while he was down, so to speak, through the tough times. He wanted to stick by him and see if he could help him through it. All good things come to an end, and maybe Tiger can also come back fresh. But I still think it was a wise move by Steve to move on."
Baker-Finch rarely gets his due for his opinons and his analysis, but his thoughts on Woods and Williams certainly highlighted CBS's weekend coverage.
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Silencing the mic
Prior to Thursday's opening round of the Canadian Open, the Golf Channel's Brian Hammons mentioned that viewers would be getting an "inside the ropes look with Keegan Bradley," who agreed to wear a mic during the round.
Of course, the idea seemed good on paper. Bradley's an up-and-coming star with a tour victory in his rookie season, so of course he'd have something interesting to say during the round, right?
Wrong. Not only did Bradley not give the network a single soundbite during his round, he forced producers to go live with the mic, in the hopes of catching a stray conversation. But even that didn't work.
"Talking a little bit," said the Golf Channel's Peter Oosterhuis joked, as the network tried to listen in on an inaudible conversation between Bradley and his caddie Steve "Pepsi" Hale.
I've blasted the Golf Channel for handing a mic to a quiet player in the past, but promoting a mic'd-up round and getting nothing from Bradley is even more embarrassing. You have to wonder how much longer this idea will last.
Rough going at Shaughnessy
Normal tour events aren't supposed to be this difficult. But when players left Royal St. George's and headed back to the West Coast to play the RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, they were greeted with something most hadn't seen in a while at the tournament: major championship rough.
At five inches tall, the rough was the lead story during the opening round of the tournament, as course conditions had some players feeling like they were suffering from a severe case of major championship deja vu.
"Shaughnessy is some kind of golf course," Golf Channel's Kurt Byrum said on Thursday. "The rough is five inches. Can you believe that? Plus, it's tight off the tee with no gimme holes out there. It's really, really hard. Good luck this week to anybody that misses the fairway."
When asked by the Golf Channel's Todd Lewis to describe their rounds, the featured grouping of Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim and Lucas Glover all had something to say about the rough, without even being asked in the first place.
"I'm just surprised by how they can grow the rough like this," Anthony Kim said. "Lucas and I hacked out a couple times today and it only went about 60 yards with a full swing. And it's going to get longer."
CBS also showed a telling stat at the start of Saturday's third round that only 20 percent of golfers were hitting the green in regulation when in the rough, as opposed to 67 percent from the fairway.
"These certainly are national championship conditions," said Peter Oosterhuis. "The rough here is so penal, you just can't afford to go wayward off the tee."
Like American golfers playing in the U.S. Open, there's a bit of added pressure when Canadian golfers show up to play the Canadian Open -- even more so when you realize its been 57 years since a Canadian captured the national open.
Ian Baker-Finch described the kind of pressure Canadian golfers find themselves in when they show up to play the national open each year.
"In a word, extreme," Baker-Finch said. "It's been so long, and they come in here, especially those in good form, like Matt McQuillan at the John Deere, and you're expected to do well. And then you have the media ask you what it would mean to win the tournament. Then you've got to put all the rest of your energy into taming this golf course. It's not an easy task."
- Tiger Woods
- Golf Channel