Broadcast News

By Rich LernerJanuary 15, 2010, 3:27 am

HONOLULU – Brad Faxon was lost in his art, working on his putting on Waialae’s small, crowded practice green when Rick George of the PGA Tour approached. Vijay Singh had just pulled out of the Wednesday pro-am with a sore back after nine holes. They needed a replacement and Faxon didn’t hesitate.

Faxon handles this part of the business as well as he handles the putter. Gracefully. One of the best in the area of corporate schmoozing.

With the boyish smile, he shook hands with the group of Japanese amateurs, took a picture with volunteers and off he went.

If the jump to the broadcast booth is just as smooth Faxon figures to have a long run calling golf.

He’s agreed to announce seven events for NBC in a tower, not as a walker – Doral, Bay Hill, the Players, U.S. Open, Deutsche Bank, BMW and the Tour Championship. If he’s qualified he can play in all but the first two. At 48, Faxon is still planning to play 20 tournaments off his top-50 all-time earnings exemption.

“My strength is that I know most of the current players,” he said. “And I understand modern swing methods.”

That’s because he’s tried just about every one. “It’s hurt my golf but it will help with my broadcasting,” he joked.

His peers often scratch their heads when asked to explain how Faxon won a very respectable eight tournaments because he has never been a pure striker. Not even close. What he has been is an all-time roller of the rock with a good head and strong ticker.

So Faxon will no doubt get called upon to analyze plenty of breaks and putting strokes.

And he will challenge Johnny Miller.

“I absolutely will challenge him,” he said. “Tommy Roy, our executive producer, has said to all of the guys that if you don’t agree with Johnny get on him. We want this to be a discussion like you’re sitting on the couch watching with your buddies at home.

“I share the opinion that Johnny says a lot of things that make you kind of wince but it makes the broadcast too, doesn’t it?”

Paul Goydos, who might someday make a good analyst as well, likes the move for Faxon.

“I think he’ll be excellent,” he said. “He’s a very smart guy with a well rounded view of life.”

Interestingly, Faxon’s boyhood pal from Rhode Island, Billy Andrade, begins his broadcast career with Golf Channel next week at the Bob Hope. They’re both bright and amiable. Andrade is more playful, Faxon more analytical with a rich, deep voice.

Both have dabbled before, Faxon at Houston two years ago and last summer at Deutsche Bank.

Faxon claims the most difficult aspect of broadcasting is one he never had to deal with making all those miles of putts over the last 25 years.

“Having someone talk into your ear over you while you’re trying to finish your thought,” he said. “That is the hardest thing for somebody who’s never done it.”

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”