While Brian Harman is making a surprising run toward potential victory in the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, there’s one thing happening that’s as dependable as ever.
American audiences are complaining about an NBC Sports golf broadcast. It’s a tradition unlike any other.
Whether it’s for the constant shuffling between NBC, USA Network, and Peacock or the incessant commercials playing every few minutes, golf fans voice their frustrations about NBC’s golf coverage with a consistency that would almost be impressive if not for how annoying it is.
Since Thursday, golf fans have been flocking to social media to voice their displeasure with NBC Sports’ coverage of the 151st Open Championship and noting that it feels like they’ve sat down to watch a show about commercials that intermittently get interrupted by golf.
Austin Render noted that in the span of 20 minutes, viewers were subjected to one commercial break and three instances of “playing through,” which are split-screen segments in which one side of the screen is an ad and the volume for that ad drowns out the golf action.
8:51 – playing through
8:57 – playing through
9:05 – commercial
9:10 – playing through
This is borderline unwatchable @NoLayingUp
— Austin Render (@AustinRender) July 20, 2023
Other fans claimed that the interruptions were even worse at times.
I’ve counted 14 commercials in the last 10 minutes https://t.co/Bthi8IpEax
— joe salah (@joebuck421) July 20, 2023
In their most impressive feat yet, they managed to show one shot between a Playing Through segment and a full commercial break.
ONE SHOT! I'm not even mad, I'm genuinely impressed with how hard they're throwing middle fingers at us.
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) July 20, 2023
Oh I see Spieth playing his 4th shot in the tall stuff short sided on 18 during playing through…wonder how that happened.
— The Fried Egg (@the_fried_egg) July 20, 2023
What’s everyone’s favorite Open commercial and why
— claire rogers (@kclairerogers) July 20, 2023
In the day since, as more of the coverage is focused on NBC, the situation does not appear to have improved. Not even a Jon Rahm f-bomb or the un-retirement of Nick Faldo appears to have helped soothe audiences.
I turned off NBC's coverage of The Open Championship. Just can't do it. Two tee shots, 4 minutes of commercials then a special segment on a building. I'll never understand what's going through their minds when they decide to show anything and everything but golf in a golf…
— Andy Lang Bets (@BumpSports) July 22, 2023
— Jax Dawg (@JaxDawg05) July 22, 2023
Turned on the golf this morning and so far I’ve seen 1 golf shot, 15+ commercials, an nbc exec driving through a tunnel, and Faldo eating a cake . Bravo @nbc
— Craig Glassbrenner (PS5 Owner) (@_CraigG4) July 22, 2023
NBC has heard the complaints about their golf coverage loud and clear. However, they’ve also benefitted from huge ratings from those same broadcasts. So unfortunately, while they might acknowledge the issues, they also don’t have a huge incentive to improve that experience. Clearly, it’s working for them, even if it’s pissing off a large portion of their audience.