ON TOUR: PGA to Experiment With On-Course Interviews

Kris McEwen News, Opinion, Players 1 Comment

According to an AP story by Doug Ferguson, the PGA TOUR is asking for some of their golfers to volunteer to talk about their round during their round.

Beginning at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Tour will experiment with the idea, but only with anyone willing to talk. So far, the response from the players’ has been lukewarm, to say the least.

“I’ve just been asked about it,” replied Justin Thomas. “I said, ‘No.’ It’s not me. I do a lot of self-talking. That’s mine and Jimmy’s time, whether we’re talking about whatever, or even the next shot. For me, there’s no benefit. It’s only going to make me look worse.”

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Rory McIlroy also made it pretty clear how he feels about the idea.

“I’ve been approached in Europe because they’ve done it for a couple of years,” said McIlroy. “And I’ve said, ‘No,’ every single time.”

On the other hand, Marc Leishman, who has some experience with these types of interviews while on the European Tour has some advice for the Tour.

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“If they do end up having them, my advice would be to have someone who has played on tour to do it, to be a little sensitive of the questions and the timing of the interview,” Leishman said. “But anything where you can be more accessible to the viewers is a good thing. We want to bring more people to the game. It might be a way to give more insight to what we’re thinking at the time.”

Leishman is absolutely right. Clearly, Sunday in-round interviews would be a terrible idea since we would all want to hear from the golfers on or near the top of the leader board. But if the interviews are unobtrusive to the players, I think it can only enhance the viewers overall experience.

As an alternative, why can’t the players make themselves available in-between tee boxes. We’ve all heard the stories about the five and six hour rounds these guys play during a tournament. To me, that sounds like a player could take five or ten minutes between holes to talk about their round.

To me, it would be no different than a baseball manager doing an in-game interview between innings. Those interviews could be done well before a player tees off on the next box and then played immediately after their tee-shot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be done as a player is walking down the fairway.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the effort on the PGA TOUR’s part of trying to add something “new” (again, the European Tour has been doing this for a bit) to the viewing experience.

Now, if they could just find some willing participants.

Cover Image via Instagram

About Kris McEwen

Kris became obsessed with the game of golf after deciding to finally hang up his baseball cleats about four years ago. Still learning the game, he’s leaned on much of the on-line golf community for help and loves to return the favor whenever possible.

A contributor to several golf sites in the past, Kris writes from the perspective of your average golfer. One who has a passion for the game, but also has the typical restrictions of life and budget.

He can be reached on Twitter at @krismcewen.

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Michael Madden
Michael Madden

Perhaps a colour swatch on the caddies’ sleeves if the player is in a receptive frame of mind, and the initial approach MUST go through the caddie. Quite frankly, I don’t want to see some interviewer take a player out of the zone. I’m an amateur, and in an important competition, I don’t even let my playing partners talk with me during the round.