The Awful Announcing Wednesday Newsletter is a deep dive into all things sports media with original commentary, highlights from the week, social media buzz, and much more. Below is our “A Block” that leads off the newsletter. You can read this and more by subscribing here. We send a recap of what’s been on AA on Monday and Friday mornings as well as the extended original version on Wednesdays.
Is golf as healthy as it’s ever been in the post-Tiger era? Of course, Tiger Woods is still active but with his withdrawal from the 2023 Masters, we’re reminded of his many physical challenges amidst the twilight of his career. His amazing 2019 Masters victory notwithstanding, he only has one Top 5 finish in a major in the last ten years. Realistically, any expectation for Woods to be in contention on a Sunday afternoon of a major is long gone.
The sport has been so dependent on Woods for so long that there has always been worry about what would happen when Tiger takes on a more ceremonial presence or disappears entirely from the scene. But this year’s Masters has shown that in spite of Tiger’s struggles, and the insanity of the schism between the PGA Tour and LIV, the game of golf may be in a better state than it was thought possible.
* Masters ratings were up 19% from last year for the Final Round making it the most-watched golf telecast since 2018. This came with a Jon Rahm-Brooks Koepka final pairing and a result that wasn’t really in doubt for the last hour of the broadcast. Was it the Easter weekend that drove viewership, the curiosity of the PGA-LIV rivalry? Or something more? Whatever it was, it’s good news for golf.
* Another bright spot this weekend was CBS’s coverage – particularly the performance of new lead analyst Trevor Immelman. The former Masters winner’s rise to the 18th tower is well deserved as he’s an easy listen that offers great insights and energy. One example – Immelman called out Jon Rahm’s perfect drive on the 13th hole, working against his natural ball flight, as the pivotal shot of the tournament. Rahm agreed with him in his post-round interview in Butler Cabin. Immelman’s presence plus coverage innovations like the walk-and-talks made for a great week of television.
* While there was much consternation that the PGA-LIV split would harm the sport much like CART and IndyCar did for open wheel racing in the 1990s, that hasn’t come to fruition. If anything, the rivalry and forced changes to improve the PGA Tour’s schedule have helped the sport. The PGA Tour’s ratings have increased for many major events this season, especially designated events. Of course, the same can’t be said for LIV toiling in anonymity on the CW as the league still remains toxic thanks to the stigma of Saudi sportswashing. Perhaps the split provides an opportunity for the majors to even be more special as an opportunity for all the world’s best to get together and create a rivalry between the players of the two tours. Conflict sells and it’s no exception in golf.