Jun
15
2009
How Amazing Was The Golf Channel’s Coverage Of The LPGA Championship?
By Stephanie Wei under General

First of all, congratulations to Anna Nordqvist on winning the LPGA Championship! The rookie’s snagged her first career victory after ONLY five starts. She shot 68 in the final round and finished at 15-under-par besting runner-up Lindsey Wright by four shots. You could say she pulled a Se Ri Pak on the 18th hole – Anna knocked her approach shot to a few feet on the 18th hole, which was reminiscent of Pak’s when she won in 2006.

Tip of the cap to the Golf Channel now working in collaboration with the LPGA, in doing an incredible job covering the tournament. In February, Commish Carolyn Bivens struck a 10 year deal with TGC, which gave the network exclusive broadcasting rights. It’s not in effect until 2010, but it’s obvious that there’s already a vested interest to improve the telecast.

I posted this video on Friday – it was taped the week of the Sybase Classic in May. Coincidentally, some of Paige Mackenzie and Anna Grzebien’s suggestions were applied!

Throughout the week, the commentators, Dottie Pepper, Brian Hammons and Rich Lerner showed tweets by some of the players, most of which was fun and interesting. But they would NOT stop cracking cheesy jokes about Twitter, saying that they were too “old” and how “all the kids were doing it.” With all due respect, many of the tweeps I follow or “converse” with are the same age as them. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – their commentary about it became pretty old half-way through the first round. However, Rich had done his homework and was able to do a good job explaining it to his broadcast partners and the viewing audience. I understand it’s a new concept for them, and to their credit, they are doing their best to embrace Twitter. I especially have to applaud the LPGA. It’s a tremendous step forward that they’re utilizing social media to connect with fans and promote both the players and the Tour.

I already said it several times this week, but miking Christina Kim during the first and second rounds provided amazing entertainment and enhanced the viewer experience. And since she was playing with Michelle Wie, we saw the cheery and funny side of Michelle that we don’t necessarily see (unless you follow her). I also thought it was great that they chatted with players in between nines to gather their insights. Pulling the ladies into the box for interviews after they finished was another excellent addition.

As for future telecasts, the analysts should ask viewers to tweet questions @lpga or @[tournament name] and they could select a few to answer. I have no doubts that TGC and the LPGA will continue to work together to make further improvements.

Hats off to all parties involved.