Whenever golf returns, the people who broadcast it could learn a thing or two from the replay of the 1986 Masters tournament aired on ESPN this week.
That's not to say broadcasts haven't improved since that fateful afternoon at Augusta National when the bear, Jack Nicklaus, came out of hibernation and shocked the world to win his sixth green jacket at 46-years-old. It's to say there were elements within this broadcast that stood out and should be replicated moving forward.
I'll start with a simple request: Bring back the double box showing the player and the shot simultaneously.Double box at the Masters.
Seeing a player's reaction to the shot they hit as the ball is still in motion was fascinating. Of course, the most famous shot to come from it is Nicklaus walking in his tee shot at the par-3, 16th (cover photo of this story). But there were some other really cool moments, like Sandy Lyle laughing when he got an unbelievably lucky bounce on the 12th hole after his ball bounced off the flower bed 10-yards long of the hole and nearly ended up on the green.
The second thing that stood out, especially for the Masters, was Gary Player providing some colorful commentary from Butler Cabin while the leaders were still on the front nine. Not only did he give us some interesting golf terms (he said someone had to be a "locksmith" to get out of trouble), but his course knowledge was more insightful than anyone who hasn't been in that situation could offer.Gary Player.
Therefore, the second request is to have legendary champions discussing the tournament as it's being played. They do that with current champions after their rounds. But why not have Nicklaus on the broadcast from Butler Cabin talking about Tiger on the front nine?
There were other small things I enjoyed about the 1986 broadcast. The commentators were silent for long stretches, allowing the noise from the patrons, or lack thereof, elicit emotions for the viewer. There also weren't cutaways to commentators in a booth for multiple minutes while golf was still being played. They did have them, but they were very quick (less than 15 seconds) and they were right back to the action. A pet-peeve of mine from current broadcasts is that after such cutaways, we're stuck with replays of shots and putts instead of watching them live.
With no sports on the horizon, it's a good chance to look back at some of these old broadcasts and see what they did right and where they can improve. HDTV has made everything a lot better, but there are some elements that could improve by learning from the past.
When creating a workout program to improve your golf swing, focus on exercises that make your body more stable and flexible, then build strength and power, says Golf Digest Fitness Advisor Ben Shear. Last week, he offered six moves for better stability and flexibility. Assuming you've been working on those, it's time to add three strength-training exercises and three more to power up your swing. "Combine all 12 exercises for a balanced workout," Shear says. "You can do it all in less than 30 minutes if you keep moving. Just do 10 reps, two sets per exercise."STRENGTH
1.) BULGARIAN SPLIT-SQUATHold two dumbbells and prop one foot (toes down) on a bench behind you. Lower the propped leg nearly to the ground, then back up. Keep your shin and back straight as you squat. Switch legs after each set. This improves lower-body strength (legs, hips, glutes, etc.), a key to swinging with a stable base.
2.) ONE-LEGGED GLUTE BRIDGEWhile seated with your back resting on a physio ball, extend one leg off the ground and push upward with the other. Contract your butt muscles, raising your pelvis as high as you can. Hold for a second, then return to the start position, switch legs and repeat. This strengthens the glutes, which are prime power generators in golf.
3.) ONE-LEGGED ROWHold one dumbbell and bend your torso forward, balancing on the opposite leg with the other extended behind you. Pull the dumbbell toward your torso, lower it and return to an upright position. After one set, switch and repeat. This improves hamstrings, hips, back and shoulders, important to safe deceleration of the club.POWER
1.) ROTATIONAL JUMPKeeping your hands on your hips, squat and then jump as high as you can while rotating your body as much as you can (180 degrees is a good goal). Repeat in the other direction as quickly as possible, and keep alternating. This trains your body to use ground force in multiple planes of motion—just like the golf swing.
2.) VERTICAL LEAPKeeping your hands on your hips, squat and thrust straight up as high as you can. Do these reps fairly quickly and with all the energy you can muster. This will improve the thrust you create with your legs to generate more clubhead speed.
In a joint statement, the PGA Tour, USGA, R&A, PGA of America and Augusta National Golf Club clarified Monday morning what golf will to look like for the rest of this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has put all sports on an indefinite pause. The short answer is that three of the four annual majors will be played with those three shifting to different dates than originally scheduled.
After the Masters and PGA Championship were postponed, there were questions about when they would be played (if at all) and whether the U.S. Open in June and Ryder Cup in September would be affected. The release answers all of these questions. Here are the new dates for the biggest events in golf this year.
The Masters has been played 83 times since the inaugural event in 1934 and finished 82 times in April. The only Masters that didn't was the first one, which ended in late March. The event was canceled from 1943-45 because of World War II.
"We remain very mindful of the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges presented by the coronavirus around the world," said Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley. "As such, we continue to keep in close contact with local, state and national health authorities to help inform our decisions. In collaboration with the leading organizations in golf, Augusta National Golf Club has identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to host the 2020 Masters. While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the Coronavirus.
"Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport. We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials. Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week."
The Masters in November sounds pretty phenomenal right now, and the idea of having two Masters within five months (one in November 2020, another in April 2021) will make some downright giddy. If the pandemic allows for all of this, the new fall golf slate is going to be amazing.
The other part of the schedule that sticks out is the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup being played in back-to-back weeks. That's going to be a pretty heavy load for a couple dozen players on both teams to carry and an absolute frenzy of golf in late September (with a Masters still two months away!).
Not much changes for the PGA of America. In fact, the two events they host -- the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup -- are back on the old schedule of August and September, respectively. Those are the months they were played in last time we had a Ryder Cup hosted in the U.S. in 2016.
"We will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials but are hopeful that it will be safe and responsible to conduct the PGA Championship in August and the Ryder Cup as planned from September 25-27 at Whistling Straits," said PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. "... With our country going through extremely difficult times, it will be an honor for all of us at the PGA of America to hopefully help turn a page in August with the PGA Championship and September with the Ryder Cup."
On the flip side, we did get some bad news to start the morning. The 2020 Open Championship was formally canceled. The R&A said it attempted to shoehorn its preeminent event into a different date in 2020 but was unable to do so. Royal St. George's, which was set to host this year, will host the 149th edition of the event in 2021 with St. Andrews shifting to host the 150th Open in 2022.
"I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible," said R&A CEO Martin Slumbers in a statement.
The PGA Tour does not have any official dates listed for non-majors but will try and fill some of the summer dates left empty by the moving major championships as the coronavirus pandemic allows. It did announce that the Wyndham Championship and three FedEx Cup Playoffs events have been moved back a week and will end on Labor Day weekend. They will then be followed by the U.S. Open two weeks later.