Depending on your preference, the weekend broadcast at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is either the worst of the golf year or a unique departure from the typical golf coverage. Very, very few people who follow the PGA Tour with regularity fall into that second bucket and the knives were out again on Saturday for CBS.
The third-round broadcast on CBS consisted primarily of interviews with and choppy shots from celebrities, many of them B or C-listers, athletes and random wealthy businessmen with the kind of connections that get you a spot in this pro-am field. It has become a Saturday tradition at this event and if you actually want to see golf, and golf played well, at one our country’s most beautiful and prestigious courses, you’re out of luck.
-aeriel shot of some seals
I tried y’all. Im out ✌
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) February 13, 2016
CBS and the Tour have their approach to this event, and that’s probably not going to change. It’s the one week of the year that it gets like this and they’ll take the opportunity to switch things up, even if it means golf twitter and the diehards get all wound up and rip them.
The coverage was particularly frustrating this year because the field, the pro-field, is pretty loaded. Only a third of the group plays Pebble on Saturday — this event uses a three-course rotation from the embarrassment of riches on the Monterey Peninsula and then does not make the cut until Saturday night. Sometimes CBS gets a weaker core of players for their Saturday broadcast, but they were set up beautifully this year with leader Phil Mickelson, world No.1 Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose all making their loop through Pebble, where all the TV cameras and crews are posted up, in the third round. We saw a bit of Mickleson and Spieth, but it was still a frustrating Saturday (unless you’re into chit chat with Huey Lewis, Jake Owen et al).
The Sunday broadcast should be better for those who actually want to watch the pros. The cut has been made so many of the amateur hackers have been whittled out and CBS understands there’s an actual competition and conclusion to cover. Mickelson being on the lead will certainly aid that. He’s someone the networks want to feature and will ensure his every shot is shown. If a lesser name or unknown is leading, you might get a little more of that celebrity fluff to fill air time.
With CBS having the Super Bowl this year, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was the official start of the “season of Nantz.” The anchor was in all his glory, as Pebble Beach “glistened” in his first day back in the golf booth. Nantz now lives in the area so this was a natural fit and he looked regal in that argyle sweater he wore last year at this venue.
Back to back years of the Nantz sweater. pic.twitter.com/CAktOqZTpB
— Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson) February 13, 2016
Golf Channel will have the early-round coverage and the beginning of Mickelson’s round, which starts at 12:50 p.m. ET. There will be multiple ways to stream the coverage throughout the day. Both networks will have simulcast streams up and running, and PGA Tour Live will have the first stream, a featured holes feed, going by 11 a.m. ET.
Here are all your media options for championship Sunday at the “most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation.”
Sunday’s final round coverage
1 to 2:30 p.m. ET — Golf Channel
3 to 6:30 p.m. ET — CBS
11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET — PGA TOUR LIVE
- 11 a.m. — Featured holes coverage — par-4 1st and par-3 17th
- 3 p.m. — Featured groups coverage — Jason Day / Chez Reavie
1 to 2:30 p.m. ET — Golf Channel LiveExtra simulcast stream
3 to 6:30 p.m. ET — PGATour.com/CBS simulcast stream
2 to 7 p.m ET. — PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 92/208 and streamed here)
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SB Nation video archives: Urban golfing with a U.S. Open champ (2012)