Peter Kostis spent decades covering the PGA Tour for CBS until he was let go this winter along with Gary McCord.
Understandably, neither man was thrilled with how that happened. McCord spoke out soon after that, criticizing CBS’s handling of the situation. Kostis, though, has been somewhat more oblique; his statement on the matter was more reserved, although he did take a shot at the PGA Tour’s comically omnipresent sponsor, FedEx, by saying he was off to ship some UPS packages.
Now that the PGA Tour season is back in something closer to the regular season, though, Kostis has taken to Twitter a few times to air some more grievances, not with CBS, but with the Tour itself.
First, during the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kostis succinctly noted something that has frustrated a lot of golf fans:
memo to @PGATOUR ….your website is awful.
— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) January 6, 2020
He’s not really wrong, either! The Tour employs a lot of very talented people, especially on the editorial side, but the digital enterprise is lagging. As a side note, my official PGA Tour Android app was defaulting to the Presidents Cup (which took place in early December) leaderboard last week instead of the ongoing Tournament of Champions, which made it very easy to try and check in.
Yesterday, though, Kostis took aim at another worthy target: the PGA Tour’s habit of retroactively rebranding tournaments when taking on a new sponsor. It can lead to some anachronistic situations, as Kostis pointed out in salty fashion.
What kind of visionary was Ben Hogan? How good, and ahead of his time, was Ben Hogan? According to the PGA Tour he won his 5th Charles Schwab Challenge in 1959 …. 12 years before the Charles Schwab company was started in 1971! Now that's a visionary!!
— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) January 9, 2020
That’s an especially odd habit the Tour has, wiping away tournament history and in some cases retrofitting sponsors to events long before it would make sense. It’s a practice clearly designed to attract new sponsors (“Hey, not only will you be all over every future event, but we’ll toss in every past iteration too!”), although it’s fair to wonder whether the knowledge that as soon as your deal ends you’re going to be erased from the record books may serve as more of a turnoff in the end.
It’s the kind of thing that the golf Twitter and podcast crowd has harped on for a while now, and most of all it’s just nice to know that it’s bothered at least some people on the broadcast teams as well. Which makes sense, as they’re the ones forced to read off these kind of manufactured factoids.
Kostis himself might feel even more free to speak his mind thanks to his other gig as a coach to professional players like Paul Casey; he’s likely not worried about how this impacts his ability to get another job in golf media. (In a perfect world where the viewer’s interests and entertainment were placed first, speaking your mind would be an asset to a network.) But whatever the reasoning, it’s great.
Hopefully there’s more, as getting his takes on something like the annual trudge that is the CBS broadcast of the Pebble Beach pro-am would be invaluable. Or at least until CBS takes over broadcasting duties starting at Torrey Pines in a few weeks.