Sizing up the TV coverage from the Masters ... and away we go.
There are certain times during a sports broadcast where everything just seems to go right. Guys in the truck have so much great footage that the coordinating producer doesn't know where to go next. It's a difficult situation for some to handle, but at the same time, you realize whatever you do from that point forward, you could be broadcasting history to millions of viewers around the world.
That was Lance Barrow's monumental task on Sunday afternoon, as birdies and eagles were falling from every direction. CBS's coordinating producer is one of the best in the game, but I'm sure he'd admit that the final round of the Masters was tough to handle.
How do you go from shot to shot, while at the same time, trying to capture every emotion and moment of one of the most compelling rounds of golf we've ever seen? It was tough, but Barrow nailed it on Sunday. If it wasn't clear why he's one of the best in the business before this week, it's crystal clear now.
The broadcast of the final round was brilliant, as CBS gave us the sights, sounds and moments everyone was craving. And Barrow was right there, letting the golf weave an incredible storyline, as opposed to creating something or forcing the issue.
When the final round was over everybody was crying for an encore. That's what you want from a major championship telecast. The entire CBS crew should be commended for the work it put into one of the greatest Masters we've seen in a long time.
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Masters viewers want more
During Thursday and Friday's opening rounds, ESPN decided to start its daily broadcast at 3 p.m. ET, which seemed a little late for a spectacle like the Masters, where you could show shots of Azaleas and bridges, and still draw a crowd.
While the late start time seemed like a mistake on the Worldwide Leader's part, this year's telecast actually came on air an hour earlier than last year. I think we can all agree we'd like to see more Masters coverage. But as we've seen in the past, the decisions aren't up to the networks; they're up to the guys in the green jackets.
Rory McIlroy was in the hunt all week, taking a four-shot lead into Sunday's final round. But as we've seen in the past, no lead, no matter how large, is safe at August National; especially when there's a green jacket on the line.
With his nerves starting to fray, the 21-year-old Ulsterman snap-hooked his drive well left into the trees on the 10th hole. The funny thing was nobody knew where the ball had ended up; you can thank Augusta National's rule of not allowing on-course broadcasters to follow the groups on the course for this one.
It wasn't until a CBS camera caught McIlroy up near the cabins that we all got a glimpse of the trouble he was in. "Have you ever seen anyone anywhere close to this on 10?" Jim Nantz asked.
"Never," Nick Faldo said. "Never."
"You know he's anxious to get to Butler Cabin, but he's a little early," Nantz said.
It was a lighthearted moment, but one that would obviously end in heartache for McIlroy, as a triple-bogey ended his chances of winning his first major championship.
Setting the stage
With Tiger Woods facing a critical birdie putt on the par-3 16th, in the final round, Nick Faldo tried to set Verne Lundquist up by mentioning the call he had made on this very same hole back in 2005, when Woods holed one of the most improbably wedge shots in tournament history.
"Verne, this might be one of your calls," Faldo said. "This has got to go in exactly the same how he holed that amazing incredible chip shot, side door."
"Could be," Lundquist said, as the ball was rolling towards the cup.
But it wasn't meant to be, as the ball slid past. "It's not," Lundquist said, obviously disappointed he couldn't make the big call.
Someone give Feherty a geography book
People can get caught up in the heat of the moment, and that's exactly what happened to David Feherty, who suddenly lost his mind as players from all over the world suddenly started to make their way into the mix.
"Every continent except the Arctic and Antarctica is represented on the first page of the leaderboard," Feherty said.
Someone should have told Feherty that the Arctic isn't a continent. I'm pretty sure we'll give him a pass this time around. After all, there was so much drama going on around the course, that it was easy to lose your mind for a second.
Happy birthday, Seve
It was touching to see so many people wishing Seve Ballesteros a happy 54th birthday on Saturday. CBS opened its telecast by mentioning the Spanish legend, who was still not healthy enough to make the trip to Augusta National.
Nick Faldo tied in Seve's special day nicely by mentioning him as Tiger was hitting an awkward shot from underneath a tree on the 17th hole ... a shot Seve definitely would have pulled off in his heyday.
"Let's give a shout-out to Severiano Ballesteros, his birthday today, still unfortunately under the weather," Faldo said. "Tiger made that stance bending those knees reminded of the great Seve and those recovery shots. All the best, Seve. We're still thinking of you."
So you're saying there's a chance
File this under the header of most ridiculous things said all week at the Masters. Phil Mickelson's run was well and truly done on Saturday afternoon, but that still didn't stop David Feherty from giving him an outside chance.
"Phil Mickelson is tied for 19th at 3-under par. Depending on McIlroy and Day and maybe this man [K.J. Choi], he can still win."
"You think so?" Faldo replied.
"Yeah," Feherty said.
Astonished that Feherty would still give Phil a chance, Faldo could only say one thing: "Wow."
After that prediction, maybe we shouldn't be surprised Feherty called the Arctic a continent.
Par 3 Contest moments
This year's Par 3 Contest was a dud for the most part, but it did have some great moments, compliments of the the Big 3 of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
All three were in rare form from the opening hole. Nicklaus apparently had to help Player put a spike in one of his golf shoes, which led to this exchange.
"He just hired Jack to take care of his shoes," Palmer said.
"And I didn't tip him," Player replied.
"I lose all the way around," Nicklaus said.
Another lighthearted moment occurred when Palmer apparently asked someone in the crowd for a read on a putt. Nicklaus interjected and said, "Don't answer him. He can't hear you anyway."
Palmer actually wears a hearing device, making the moment even more hysterical. ESPN should thank the three players for saving Wednesday's coverage with some friendly banter.
Masters.com was having serious issues with its live coverage of Amen Corner and the featured groups on Thursday and Friday. The coverage was extremely choppy, which made you wonder if March Madness can broadcast all of the games online without a hitch, why can't the Masters website do that same thing? ... It never gets old hearing Joe Ford, vice chairman of the Augusta National, tell you the club "is pleased to continue our tradition of minimal commercial interruption by bringing you 56 minutes out of every hour of golf action." Enjoy being inundated with Cialis commercials next week. ... Nick Faldo gave us a glimpse of the Champions Locker Room during Sunday's telecast. Best part of all? We didn't have to see the hallowed space at the club via a shaky cell phone.