Notes Tour to test miking caddies for television

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Phil Mickelson and caddie Jim Bones Mackay made for compelling television at Doral when they discussed the risk of Lefty hitting a right-handed shot on No. 12, and the club selection into the 18th green with a one-shot lead.
Now, the PGA Tour is curious if such dialogue is worth broadcasting.
The tour will be working with NBC Sports at the Shell Houston Open to determine if its worth putting a microphone on some of the caddies. The Houston Open will only be a test for the quality of the audio and whether the conversations are worthy of the telecast. None of the comments will be on TV next week.
The dialogue between Phil and Bones on the second shot Sunday at Doral is the type of stuff our fans tell us they want to hear more often, said Andy Pazder, senior vice president of tournament administration for the tour.
The concern is not what comes out of a caddies mouth ' there is a time delay for TV ' but the quality of the sound.
NBC Sports and CBS Sports primarily use a boom mike that a network employees carries on the fairway, but they often can only get to one player at a time.
Just like anything, were always striving to improve the qualify of the telecast, Pazder said.
But there could be logistical problems.
Putting a microphone on the caddie only works when the caddie is standing close enough to the player to pick up both sides of the conversation.
One improvement with such a microphone, however, is that television cannot get on the greens with the boom mikes to pick up a discussion of how a putt breaks.
And then theres the willingness of the caddies.
The topic was brought up last week at the tours annual meeting with the caddies. Some of them are concerned about being limited in what they say ' not during the shot, but the three hours of dead time during a round.
I know what theyre trying to do, and thats good, said Jimmie Johnson, the caddie for Steve Stricker. Im not worried about what comes out of the caddie. Im worried about what goes into the trailer.
His argument, one that several other caddies share, is that having a microphone will pick up everything they say during a four-hour round. None of that stuff will make the telecast, but they have no guarantee that something inappropriate they might say ' about someone in the gallery, another player ' could be leaked.
Most of us our aware when the big boom mike is around, and its usually when youre coming down the stretch. You know what you say is being picked up, said Mitch Knox, whose players have included David Duval and Daniel Chopra. But having a mike could be a problem.
MASTERS QUALIFYING: Davis Love III took last week off and moved up one spot in the world ranking to No. 47, giving a little more wiggle room as he tries to make it back to the Masters.
This the final week for players to finish in the top 50 to earn a spot at Augusta National.
Love missed the Masters last year, ending his streak of 70 consecutive majors. Right behind him in the world ranking is Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who has never been to Augusta National. Mathew Goggin is next at No. 49.
All of them will be playing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where a missed cut could doom their chances of the top 50. The four players immediately outside the top 50 ' Richard Sterne, Stuart Appleby, Hunter Mahan and Soren Kjeldsen ' already have qualified.
Prayad Marksaeng is at No. 50 and did not qualify for Bay Hill, but he also has the ball in his hands. Prayad is competing this week on the Asian Tour ' in his hometown of Hua Hin, Thailand ' at the Black Mountain Masters.
The points they need to stay in the top 50 will not be known until the tournaments begin ' but it starts with making the cut.
A BREAK IN THE ACTION: Louis Oosthuizen tied for 20th at the CA Championship, earning enough world ranking points to stay in the top 50 and earn a spot at Bay Hill.
Step one is out of the way, he said.
The next step is getting to the Masters for the first time. Oosthuizen, a 26-year-old from South Africa, got into this position with a strong swing through the Middle East. He was runner-up consecutive weeks at Abu Dhabi and Qatar and tied for seventh at Dubai.
With a week off between Doral and Bay Hill, he practiced in Florida for a few days and then did what most visitors do in Florida.
He went to Disney World.
First time, Oosthuizen said. I went to Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and then I went over to NASA, which was great.
Now its back to work.
I checked in to my hotel and its right next to Universal Studios, Oosthuizen. This feels more like a holiday ' until Thursday.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Former president George H.W. Bush has been selected to receive the PGA Tours Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the tour through his work on and off the golf course.
Bush, the honorary chairman of The First Tee since its inception in 1997, will be honored May 6 at The Players Championship.
The 41st president previously has been honored with the Bob Jones Award by the USGA and with the Distinguished Service Award by the PGA of America.
He is the first recipient of the PGA Tour award who comes from outside the golf industry.
DIVOTS: Six players who were in Q-school last year qualified for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. While most chatter about Tiger Woods playing the Australian Masters focused on his $3 million appearance fee, one tournament official had another observation. Why cant he commit to us six months in advance? Chris DiMarco hasnt had much success at Bay Hill, and stopped playing after 2001. But his fortunes have turned and he had to use a one-time exemption for career money. He was the third alternate at Bay Hill, and only got into the field Tuesday when Andres Romero withdrew.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Thomas Aiken finished in a two-way tie for seventh in the World Golf Championship at Doral and earned $192,500. A week later, he finished in a two-way tie for seventh in the Madeira Islands Open on the European Tour and earned $26,221.
FINAL WORD: It wouldnt be my favorite thing to see a player do. ' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, on Henrik Stenson stripping down to his underwear at Doral to play a shot from a pond.

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  • Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

    Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

    Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

    Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

    With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

    Ko told Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

    “It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

    Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

    Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

    "It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."

    Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.

    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery

    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.