[Editor's note: Welcome to our new TV column, and welcome our new contributor, Jonathan Wall, who will take you through the ins and outs of the weekend in golf TV. Enjoy. And if you've got a better title for this column, hey, fire away! -- JB]
Following up the main act is never easy. Imagine if, say, a local band had to follow The Beatles during their heyday. You know 99 percent of the crowd — save the local band's groupies and family — came to see one of the greatest bands of all time, so why kid yourself? The odds of the local band playing to a full house, after the main attraction leaves the stage, are zero-to-none.
The RBC Canadian Open, like most tour stops following a major championship, had the honor of trying to keep the competition on a high when most players were mentally drained. That left the event in a precarious position.
Do you push and try and find a way to increase your visibility? Or do you take your lumps and assume your rightful place in golf's second tier? It's a tough decision to make.
CBS assumed the task of turning this week's event into something special. Instead of forcing the issue, the television network was given a gift in the form of a larger-than-life Swede who turned back the clocks and moved the Canadian Open into the relevant category — if only for one week.
I usually have no problem with Peter Kostis' on-course commentary, until he gave us this gem on Sunday afternoon.
He noted that short hitters had faired well in the past at the Canadian Open, a tournament where precision always beats length.
"The thing about all the leaders — Dean Wilson, [Carl] Peterson, [Jeff] Quinney, Tim Clark — is that they're all short hitters by PGA Tour standards. That doesn't mean they're short, but they're not in the mold of Tiger Woods or Davis Love or Paul Casey. They don't bomb it out there."
A quick look at the tour driving distance has Casey in 27th. So why the mention of the Englishman on the list of tour bombers? He happens to be Casey's swing instructor. Can you say shameless self-promotion?
I'm Kind Of A Big Deal
Those of us living outside the Great White North probably overlook the Canadian Open on the tour schedule. CBS did a fantastic job of trying to recreate some of the moments that made the tournament so special over the years.
Old black and white video brought the old tournament to life, as CBS showed clips of Sir Bob Charles' 1968 win at St. George's Golf and Country Club, site of the week's event. It had been 42 years since the course had hosted the event.
Another fact box during Saturday's round gave the event even more credibility as a staple on the PGA Tour. The event happens to be the fourth-oldest tour event behind the U.S. Open, British Open and BMW Championship.
As CBS's Bill Macatee noted, "the event is special to Canadians everywhere. It's their fifth major and what they consider to be their Open championship."
Most of Saturday's third round was plagued by copious amounts of rain, turning the St. George's course into a tricky track for the final groups.
Dean Wilson was lining up his second shot on the par-5 ninth as the rain continued to fall. A moment later David Feherty was questioning the decision to lay up in the rain with Wilson 240 yards to the front of the green and 270 to the pin.
"I'm sort of surprised here that [Dean Wilson] isn't taking a leap at this one with 240 to the front and 272 to the hole," Feherty noted. He kept harping on the decision for another couple of seconds.
Wilson hit an iron, knocked his third close and made the birdie putt. At least Feherty had the sense of humor to eat his humble pie and admit he was wrong afterwards.
Where's My Closeup?
CBS opened Saturday's coverage with the biggest event on the course, and that was Carl Pettersson's near-59 after making the cut on the number. There was only one problem, though: the Swede was already in the clubhouse for the day, rendering the big story to footnote status as the event hit the airwaves.
Pettersson was 10-under over his final nine holes; however, CBS only showed clips of his last four holes. I know these monumental records tend to sneak up one you, but that's really all you were able to come up with? It would have been great to see where he kick-started his round. Instead, they showed the same four-hole replay countless times, including again on Sunday.
But CBS made up for the footage with probably the camera shot of the weekend, when it did a slo-mo replay of Pettersson's third shot on the par-5 15th, a shot that appeared to go through the trees before landing close to the pin. The network went back and replayed the shot again, noting this time that the ball managed to go through the leaves without falling off its line. It ended up being the shot of the week for not only Pettersson, but CBS as well.
Notable and Quotables
- Saturday's coverage went off the air as Dean Wilson was lining up a potential birdie putt on the 18th (a putt he would eventually make to take a five-shot lead). Couldn't they wait another 30 seconds to see if he'd make or miss the putt?
- "Caddyshack" was released on the same day that a guy named Carl won a golf tournament ... and David Feherty never even mentioned the connection. Carl Spackler would like a word with you, Mr. Feherty.
- "I love BMW's." That was what Matt Kuchar was overheard saying as he eyed his tee shot on the par-3 16th; the German automaker was giving away a 5 series for a hole-in-one. Sadly, Kuchar never holed the shot. But at least we know what kind of car he enjoys driving.
- Great note by CBS's Ian Baker-Finch on one of Pettersson's swing adjustments he made: "Pettersson narrowed his stance after Friday's second round, and it looks to have made a difference." It made a huge difference, as Pettersson set the 36-hole tour record (127).
Quotes Of The Week
"He'll want to slap himself upside the head for hitting that one" — David Feherty on Tim Clark's layup shot that found the rough on the ninth hole on Saturday.
"Do you think they can change their name to The Smurfs?" — David Feherty asking Bill Macatee if TCU (Texas Christian University) would consider changing the school's mascot.