February 9, 2020; Pebble Beach, California, USA; CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour rightfully took a lot of criticism when they went ahead with the first round of the Players Championship, crowds and all, despite the NBA having suspended their season the night before.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that the PGA Tour will be back to business before the NBA, but it makes sense; golf is an outdoor game, and can be played with social distancing measures in place. We saw that a few weeks ago when The Match brought in huge ratings for Turner, and now the full Tour returns this week at Fort Worth’s Colonial for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

CBS has the weekend coverage, and the pandemic means a few changes for their personnel.

(Things that wouldn’t have made sense three months ago: the thought of being thrilled to have Jim Nantz saying “Hello, friends!” alone into a robotic camera.)

There won’t be roaring crowds, but golf is one of the sports least likely to be affected by that; there’s certainly no need to worry about piping in artificial crowd noise. And while CBS is going to have to make some things work on the fly, there is one change that should be very good news:

As we saw during The Match, if handled well, this is an innovation that could really help golf be a much better television product. It’s not a new idea; back in 2018, the PGA Tour started experimenting with it on their developmental tour, while PGA Tour players were asked for mid-round interviews. That didn’t go over well then, but given how successful The Match was and how obviously important the broadcast product is with no fans there in person, there might be some momentum here.

In addition to the mics, there will be cameras set up for players to talk to mid-round:

Having Dustin Johnson offer what could amount to a reality show confessional interview along the twelfth fairway actually does sound pretty entertaining, whether it goes well or (especially) if it goes poorly. It’s weird that it took these conditions to bring about some of these experiments, but here we are. Hopefully they’re managed well and we can add them to the weekly experience going forward.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.