In the buildup to NBC’s coverage of the Open Championship, the network touted a reunion hour that would see Mike Tirico joined at the desk by both Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo.
Faldo, of course, is retiring from full-time broadcasting, and NBC took the opportunity to have Faldo and Azinger trade old stories and discuss the ongoing championship action at St. Andrews. It made for a fairly relaxing stretch of television, all things considered. Faldo has certainly seemed looser in recent weeks, including going in on Brooks Koepka and other players who jumped to LIV Golf as having abandoned serious competition.
LIV Golf’s CEO is longtime Faldo foe Greg Norman. Their rivalry, albeit mostly one-sided, made up a big chunk of ESPN’s 30 for 30 installment Shark, released this spring. While discussing the 1990 Open at St. Andrews, which saw Faldo win after Norman played a poor third round, Azinger noted just how often Faldo took Norman to the woodshed by bringing up the 1996 Masters.
More than that, though, Azinger went full Foley artist to offer sound effects for the beating Faldo put on Norman that year.
Tirico letting that one breathe and then moving on to the next shot is the work of a true professional. And, honestly, that’s some fairly solid comedic work there from Azinger.
Glad to hear Zinger subscribes to the Joey Tribbiani school of whip sounds
— Garrett Morrison (@garrett_TFE) July 15, 2022
I think I'm all in on a Zinger/Faldo only broadcast
— Meg Adkins (@megadkins_TFE) July 15, 2022
This week’s coverage has so far been a marked improvement from the U.S. Open at Brookline, and there’s always room for a few legends of the sport chopping it up for a while on a Friday afternoon. Let’s hope the weekend coverage continues to impress.