Golf is an outdoor game, which means it’s sometimes at the mercy of the elements. Or more accurately it always is, but sometimes it’s a bigger deal than other times. Today was one of those times, as severe storms were predicted across the Southeast, including the venue for this week’s PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, on Hilton Head.
The threat of that weather prompted the event to move up tee times this morning in an effort to finish ahead of the severe weather, which is an admirably flexible move. No one wants to stay until Monday, and if you’ve ever been at a golf course for a massive storm, you know there’s really no place for people to take shelter. With that in mind, the earlier adjustment made sense.
Unless you’re CBS, which decided to stick with their original coverage window and air the event delayed. That also makes some sense, of course. But what doesn’t make sense was making the live broadcast unavailable as it was happening. That’s exactly what happened, though:
Odd that @PGATOUR.com and https://t.co/ONUbyCFdbT chose not to live stream today’s expedited @RBC_Heritage final round for the cord-cutters. Tour’s site did go with live @SiriusXMPGATOUR broadcast. This does at least clarify pronunciation of #liveunderpar https://t.co/W7DGhBYOO4
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) April 15, 2018
This led to the odd endgame of a really fun playoff finish between Satoshi Kodaira and Si Woo Kim. Kim collapsed a bit down the stretch:
In a finish you can't yet see, Si Woo Kim missed putts of 4, 7, 5 and 6 feet over the last four holes. Now set for playoff with Satoshi Kodaira.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) April 15, 2018
And ended up losing on the third playoff hole.
kodiara win is big, guy just earned himself pga tour status — wonder if we’ll see him over here more often now.
would’ve been nice to watch live!
— kyle robbins (@kylerrobbins) April 15, 2018
It’s one thing to not want to disrupt your previous plans to air the event at 3 PM Eastern. But this led to Golf Channel (which works with whichever network has the weekend coverage) airing the delayed coverage when they came on at 1, even though the tournament was wrapping up during that window. To not utilize an online stream with live coverage, or even CBS Sports Network, is an odd choice.
Yes, there are probably a million reasons why that would be more complex than it seems. Broadcasting golf is very hard as it is. But when you sign up to televise a sport, you should be signing up to do everything possible to deliver the event live, because the drama of the unfolding story is the entire point of broadcasting sports. CBS is the worst offender when it comes to this, attempting to fit the actual golf into a prepackaged narrative.
Why even sign up to televise golf if you clearly don’t want to do it well?