Die-hard golf fans have long complained about the sport’s broadcasts. Whether it be NBC, CBS, Golf Channel, or ESPN, fans always whine about lengthy commercials, extended interviews, or the camera spending too much time on a player walking up the fairway.
Collin Morikawa understands these sentiments.
Accordingly, ahead of this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the two-time major champion offered a simple solution that should delight golf fans everywhere.
“We need to make golf more intriguing to the viewers. How do we make broadcasting more approachable? How do we see more golf shots at the end of the day?” Morikawa asked.
“I turn on golf on a Thursday if I play early. I turn it on, and I see three golf shots, and I question why.”
To some broadcasters’ credit, coverage of the PGA Tour has improved over the last few years. Last weekend, at the Farmers Insurance Open, CBS received rave reviews for its third and final round coverage.
But improvements still need to happen, and the answer is simple: show more golf shots.
“The way sports are going right now, they’re on the uphill, they’re on the climb, right?” Morikawa said.
“Football is obviously the biggest. At the end of the day, if we keep getting more eyeballs on golf, and that’s the biggest hurdle we have to accomplish, how do we get more eyeballs on golf? I would hope to expect that more money’s pushed into this.”
PGA Tour pros know that their league needs more fans.
Especially considering how the amateur game has exploded in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic, more eyeballs are out there.
That, coupled with legalized gambling, has given the PGA Tour and its television partners a golden opportunity to grow the sport’s popularity.
“Golf is not going to be as high speed, with body contact, people tackling,” Morikawa joked.
“That’s not golf, right? But I think most fans understand that… People pay attention to other sports because people see more, [and in turn,] you can probably bet more. People like betting when you can watch it live, not on ShotTracer.”
Morikawa is spot on.
Golf fans—and sports bettors—want to see more shots on a golf telecast.
That explains why ESPN+’s coverage of PGA Tour Live has skyrocketed in popularity as of late. ESPN+ does a great job of showing featured groups and players on the course outside of live broadcasting hours.
And yet, the streaming platform can also improve by showing more golf shots.
“You can’t change the aspect of we’ve got 18 holes, you’ve got players who start on Thursday, and you’re going to have two waves, all this stuff; you can’t change that, right?” Morikawa continued.
“But you can change the fact of seeing more golf shots, and that’s a big part of actually saying I want to go watch golf, right?”
Yes, Collin. You are right.