Plenty made jokes, but in all seriousness, LIV did well to get a TV deal with the CW. The free stream on YouTube was certainly easier to find last year, but it was important, if not crucial, for LIV to begin to commercialize its product and get in as many U.S. markets as possible.
On a LIV broadcast, viewers will see plenty more golf shots compared to a PGA Tour broadcast, despite having a fraction of the field. That said, both the broadcast schedule and talent (an operative word at times) need help.
Friday’s first rounds in 2023 weren’t on television at all and could only be streamed. International events on a tape delay made for a bad look, especially when compared to live events in the same time window. With six domestic events and eight around the world planned for next year, LIV’s small following of dedicated fans in its biggest market will know the outcome hours before the event airs. The playoff in Jeddah two weeks ago between Talor Gooch and Brooks Koepka should’ve been must-see TV. For a league struggling to lock in fans on a consistent basis, that’s a loss.
Now for the talent. This reporter can be prone to hyperbole at times and knows live television isn’t easy. However, the constant over-the-top expressions to manufacture hype and drum up interest can come off as disingenuous to those watching. On Saturday during the team championship, within a matter of an hour, Jerry Foltz said Phil Mickelson was playing 39-year-old Dustin Johnson in his prime (I didn’t realize it was 2019 again) and Arlo White said the 4Aces GC and HyFlyers GC match was “box office” no less than three times. On Sunday, his overused phrase of choice was “palpable tension.”
The drone shot tracker is a fun innovation, and the “LIV MIC” on caddies is great, too, except when the announcers constantly talk over the caddies and players.
White has improved as a golf broadcaster after a successful career as the lead voice for NBC’s soccer coverage. David Feherty is David Feherty. But on-course reporters Dom Boulet, Troy Mullins and Su-Ann Heng leave something to be desired. Analysts should provide color and teach viewers something about what’s happening, and LIV’s staff lacks in that department.