the MetLife blimp
Snoopy One. my father
hated this blimp
golf archives
golf on tv
a highly subjective view

It was last year at the Honda classic
and  the  TV zeroed in on a kid holding
a sign  and on the sign he had written:  
“Mike Tirico I want your job“. The kid
had a point. These are the jobs--to
travel first class and eat first class and
retire for the night first class and get
to play golf first class and it doesnt
cost you a dime. All that is required is
to show up in a good suit groomed to
within an inch of your life and slip on
the headphones and look into the
camera with a happy face--and why
shouldnt it be--and stay alert for your
cues. Thats the job.

Lets talk about these people. Ill start
with who I like. It’s a short list: Judy
Rankin, Bob Murphy, Roger Maltbie,
Peter Oosterhuis and 2 or maybe 3

Peter Oosterhuis goes to the top of the
He is a class act--a perfect
complement to the action. He has
enthusiasm to burn and a sense of
taste and something called balance--to
make a point when there is a point to
be made and to otherwise exercise
restraint—to resist the laboring of the
obvious. As I say--a class act,

Up in the booth Johnny Miller is by far
the best. He is funny, keeps the hype
and cornball jokes to a minimum and
does a good job of presenting the two
pieces of information I most desire:
analysis of the  swing and course
management. That is whey I am
watching: to learn something.

Those are the people at the top of the
list, my
personal list, entirely subjective I
grant you but there you have it.

Lets go to the bottom of the list. At the
top of the bottom of the list is Gary
McCord.  Maybe you like Gary McCord.
Gary is a clown—the funny type. That
is his act—a lucrative act and my hat is
off to him for it —but the act has gone
on for too long and showing signs of
wear and tear. There is something
about that voice and style of delivery
and the relentless hype that prevails
when describing the action that makes
me nuts. He has one gear—overdrive.  
Listen to Gary describe a
three foot putt, uphill  with  no break
and it sounds like he is giving birth.  I
reach for the mute.

Next--Dan Hicks over at NBC. Dan is
up in the booth—the network anchor
play/by/play. For  those of us who
grew up on the west side of buffalo
there is an unbearable type, the
cornball type and this is Dan, a
cornball big time, that is strike one,
and there is a strike two--a nervous  
chuckling snort, habitual and reflexive
he peppers you with during the chit
chat that is maddening. . Thats Dan:
“Chuckles“. I am sure that for the
millions watching on TV this nervous
verbal tic is not a problem--if they
notice at all. But for me--I go nuts. I
trigger the mute.

What about Mike Tirico--CBS.  I liked
Mike better when he was just starting
out and the  job was still up for grabs
and he was feeling his way along being
cool. The cool style is long gone,
replaced by a tone that has crept into
the voice of someone in love with the
sound of this voice along with the
implication that here is the job he was
born to do and on he rambles, on and
on, about this, that and the other--and
its all quite pointless and dull as dirt
and I must trigger the mute.


These guys solo aren’t bad but
together—I go nuts. Faldo is another
cornball and in his case its twice a
curse because it’s the limey version of
cornball and he fires off some hideous
limey cornball quip and Azinger feels
compelled to reply and back and forth
they go, on and on, something about a
shirt, the color of the shirt, the price of
the shirt, fabric and on and on it goes
and I reach for the mute.

I have one more: Jimmy Roberts. You
may recall Jack Whittaker--old timer
over at NBC who filled a particular
niche--the “Essayist” niche--whenever
the network decided from time to time
that enough was enough, garbage-
wise, something more edifying was
called for and the viewer was invited
to share a profound moment.

Jack  is long gone and the “essay”
chores have fallen into the hands of
Jimmy Roberts. Being short isnt fatal,
nor is a sarcastic demeanor or a voice
that has the charm of a can opener.
The three can be combined in the
same package and it means nothing if
there is a mind operating behind it all
that insists on the attention of the
viewer via the
power of the language. Jimmys not the
man for this one. What you get instead
is a simple mind presenting a simple-
minded point of view, the humor is
nowhere to be found and there is
laboring of the obvious--big time.
Thats the story.

Why do I bother to mention any of
this?  I will
tell you. My father played golf, well
into his 80’s and then he got severe
arthritis in his hands and that was it for
the golf—a low moment.  But he
enjoyed to watch on TV—the one
pleasure that remained.

There he sat, the poor guy, with a
simple desire: to watch players hitting
shots. But he couldnt watch players
hitting shots. He had to watch all this
garbage: the commercials and
promos, and  more promos still, wave
upon wave, and up in the booth the
idiotic mindless  cornball chit/chat of
the network anchor types, of this, that
and the other, or a Tim Finchen
interview, or a Jimmy Roberts “essay”
of Fred Couples at home in Santa
Barbara farting in the yard feeding
biscuits to the family dog, in slo/mo
yet, etc, etc, and I have one more—
the Goodyear Blimp, Snoopy One,
hovering into view to provide yet
another break in the action. My father
hated that blimp. He would start
who gives a piss about that
stupid fucking blimp!

And I am the same. I suffer, as did my
father—from a common symptom of
the aging process: mind pollution.  We
have lived too long--to reach the point
where so much junk has installed itself
up there it is filled to the max. Clutter
is another word. I dont speak of TV or
the TV commercial only. I speak of the
media--any word uttered, of music
heard or journalism read or image that
registers upon the eyeball and it all
feeds into the brain where the brain
interprets it as useless info--empty,
redundant, dull as dirt.

And this is why, when the Goodyear
blimp Snoopy One drifts into view and
Dan Hicks throws down a chuckle and  
spritzes you with some riveting stats  
about this beast--cruising speed,
altitude,  milage covered each year,
the pilots name, etc, and the whole
thing doesnt take ten seconds--its ten
seconds too much. You cant handle it.
You trigger the mute.