SAN DIEGO — At the end of 2022, the PGA Tour’s former chief tournaments and competitions officer Andy Padzer sent Max Homa a clip of a mic’d up MLB player who did a live interview while playing the field during a game.
“It was awesome because the ball comes to him in the middle of them talking, he kind of fumbles it, ends up getting the guy out at first and says, you know, ‘Hey, I’ve been lazy lately, I didn’t get my knee down or whatever,’” Homa said. “I was like, man, I just learned a lot in 15 seconds.”
The pitch was simple: let’s bring that same idea to golf. Homa realized he and his fellow players weren’t just athletes but also entertainers, so he took the bait and played the role of guinea pig during the third round of last year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on the par-5 13th hole.
One of the most outgoing players on Tour, Homa – who was in fourth place at the time at 7 under – spoke with CBS analysts Trevor Immelman, Ian Baker-Finch and Frank Nobilo about the hole and how he planned to attack it. With an iPhone and an AirPod, Homa helped usher in one of the best golf broadcast innovations since shot tracer.
“I thought it was good to have insight on the golf course,” Homa said after his round in 2023. “Obviously it’s going to take us as players being a lot more flexible, but this is an entertainment product and that means we should entertain.”
“If it makes you super uncomfortable, that’s all good, but it wasn’t so bad, that was the first rendition,” he continued. “Hopefully, like I said, people at home appreciated it and enjoyed it because I just think it’s a little different than an interview. You’re learning about a hole, about not just the player but about the tournament and the golf course and what it takes to be playing, you know, high-level competitive golf.”
Sellers Shy, the lead golf producer for CBS Sports, said last year the walk-and-talk is now “a box we have to check every week,” but players like Xander Schauffele were hesitant to partake at first as many thought it would negatively impact their round and take their focus off the task at hand. Homa was quick to throw water on that fire as he went on to win the tournament the next day.
“I think that the walk-and-talk at least was kind of something risky and different, but I think it turned out quite good,” Homa said earlier this week ahead of his…