Chris Berman announcing a golf tournament is like letting a bull into a china shop, provided that the bull is obnoxious, has a grating voice and makes awful puns.
Ten minutes after ESPN's coverage of the U.S. Open began yesterday, I had four text messages in my inbox complaining about how Berman was anchoring the coverage. After twenty minutes, I had to lower the volume. After 45 minutes, I thought that maybe a rain delay wouldn't be so bad after all.
If I had to single out one thing that's bad about Berman calling a golf tournament, I think I'd go with everything. He's too loud. He's not funny. He talks too much. He's too loud. He frequently gets things wrong. He isn't adept at describing which player and shot is being shown on the screen. And, oh, he's too loud.
That schtick is perfect for the Home Run Derby and on NFL Primetime (sort of), but not on the golf course. Why do you think ESPN doesn't bring him to The Masters? (And, no, I don't buy for one second that it's because of the NFL draft.)
Devil Ball Golf managed to make it through four hours with Berman yesterday and today and compiled a list of his five worst quotes from ESPN's coverage:
5) "A guy I really think has a chance to win here, if Tiger does not, is Ian Poulter." Nice qualifier there, Chris. So you're saying that Ian Poulter doesn't have a chance if somebody else wins? (By the way, Berman made the same prediction about five other golfers, at least. Strength in numbers, I guess.)
4) "Unfortunately, the leader right now at the U.S. Open is Dustin Hoffman, The Rain Man." Timely reference. I was waiting for him to say that, like Donnie Wahlberg, Anthony Kim was a "new kid on the block".
3) "Game on. The plot is beginning to thicken." He said that after Phil Mickelson birdied his second hole of the tournament. The plot hadn't even thought about forming yet, let alone had a chance to thicken.
2) On Tiger's first hole of the day: "He wanted to make a four, not yell fore!" Sadly, the homonym humor was as sophisticated as Berman got yesterday.
1) After Peter Hanson hit a shot from the long rough: "Look, you have to say it: It's a Hansen with a shot like that, it was a Slap Shot. You have to say it!" No, you really don't have to say it. Better yet, you don't have to say anything. Anything at all.
Thankfully, Mike Tirico replaced Berman in the booth at 1 p.m. ET. It is but a brief respite, as he'll back on ESPN at 5 p.m. to finish off the network's coverage. Berman repeatedly referred to that as "the Happy Hour telecast". After listening to Berman all morning, Happy Hour doesn't sound so bad.