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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 274
THE VIEW MIC'D PLAYERS HAS TEETHING PROBLEMS BUT IT'S A GOOD START I nnovation is the name of the game in modern professional golf and this past week saw another example of the powers that be looking to make the game a more interesting TV spectacle. Hot on the heels of last week’s Vic Open, which has proven to be a hit since combining the men’s and women’s titles in 2012, the World Super 6 Perth was played for the second time at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. The concept of six hole matchplay isn’t original (Surf Coast Knockout, anyone?) but the Perth event this year introduced something new to the TV broadcast which many believe should be a staple: The PGA Open Mic. For years there have been calls for golfers and/or caddies to wear microphones during play to bring the viewer closer to the action. The idea, however, has generally been met with resistance from the players themselves. (When the PGA Tour called for volunteers at Kapalua in 2011 to take part in such an experiment, with the promise no audio would be broadcast live, Jonathan Byrd was the only player to put his hand up.) So instead of physically attaching a microphone to a player or caddy, the PGA of Australia decided on the next best thing: a roving microphone available to those who agreed to take part in chatting with the commentary team. It’s a formula which has had some success in cricket and after four days in Perth I’d suggest it has some appeal, though limited. The first thing to note is that technically, these things are rarely as easy to achieve as it might seem. On several occasions players went through the process of putting on the headphones and radio pack only to be unable to hear the commentators or, conversely, viewers at home being unable to hear them. Technical glitches aside, there was a not unexpected awkwardness in many of the exchanges and, for the most part, little in the way of insight was gained. In a game where it has never been acceptable to approach a player mid-round it was clear both broadcasters and golfers were somewhat anxious when it came to just what to say. Among the highlights were Paul Gow asking Adam Bland to explain what he was thinking by short siding himself in a bunker while Jordan Zunic, debuting the Open Mic Thursday, casually wandered several metres off the fairway and into the trees to look for a wayward shot as he chatted. Lucas Herbert was a natural with the microphone in hand as was Jack Wilson but overall it felt like its presence brought little to the viewing experience. To its credit Fox Sports didn’t over use the technology, which was a plus, and the content it gave was at least different. In the big picture, however, it feels like there are other ways to improve the presentation of golf to the masses (more tracer technology would be a good start) than predictable quotes from players in the midst of playing the course.E ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. Lucas Herbert was a natural with the microphone in hand.
GA Express 273
GA Express 275