Jonathan Byrd to Be Mic’ed Up for Golf Channel Coverage
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Jonathan Byrd shot a 7-under 66 in the first round at Kaplua's Plantation Course

First round co-leader Jonathan Byrd agreed to wear a microphone on Friday during the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. After he shot 66 on Thursday, Byrd hit some balls at the range while wearing a mic to ensure it wouldn’t interfere with his swing.

“We’re thrilled at Golf Channel that Jonathan Byrd agreed to wear a mic for Friday’s round,” said Jack Graham, executive producer for Golf Channel. “He wore a mic hitting some balls after his round today and felt comfortable with it. We think it’ll be great. We will air it on tape delay. We make taped segments in the truck. We hope it’s the start of a great 2011 season.”

How long will the tape delay be? It will vary. Golf Channel sometimes puts different rips of audio together, so they could pack the recorded pieces together over a half hour.

Earlier this week, when four or five players with peak tee times were approached to wear microphones in the first round, no one wanted to be the guinea pig for the initiative.

Among them was US Open champion Graeme McDowell, who said he wasn’t against it, but felt like he already had quite a bit happening with new sponsors and playing with new clubs that he didn’t feel comfortable adding another element. Fair enough.

When the Nationwide Tour did its announcer-free coverage experiment at the Albertsons Boise Open, Hunter Haas wore a mic and he ended up winning the tournament. Perhaps you can call it good karma.

The sentiment among the players I spoke with — like McDowell, Ben Crane and Matt Bettencourt — was that they believed once one brave volunteer agreed to be mic’ed up, others would follow. The hardest part was just finding the first person. Bettencourt and McDowell both thought it would add to the coverage and were open to wearing one if the timing were right.

What a trendsetter, that Jonathan Byrd!

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)