Musical Chairs: On-course reporters and golf analysts change seats


    Professional golf, especially the major championships, is still a boon for TV ratings. As the PGA Tour kicks off the 2016 calendar year, a handful of prominent golf announcers find themselves at new networks, or at home, watching from the sidelines.

    CBS and David Feherty parted ways after nearly twenty seasons with Fehrety serving as their chief on-course roving reporter. During the course of his career at CBS, Feherty had become a star in his own right, hosting his own weekly show on the Golf Channel where he dedicated the entire hour to one-on-one interviews with famous golfers, politicians and celebrities.
    Indications are Feherty left CBS for a broader package with NBC, which has a relationship with the Golf Channel. NBC will cover the return of golf to the Olympic Games this summer and Feherty will be a big part of that broadcast. NBC also broadcasts the Ryder Cup. Feherty’s agreement with NBC Universal is a five-year deal.

    Musical Chairs: On-course reporters and golf analysts change seats 2
    While Dottie Pepper announced she was leaving NBC before the Feherty announcement, it’s possible she knew she might be the fall gal to make room for Feherty. She landed on her feet however, essentially swapping spots with Feherty by becoming a part of CBS golf team which includes Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, Ian Baker-Finch, the hyper-caffeinated Gary McCord and Peter Kostis.
    Pepper was a two-time major champion and had worked for eight seasons on NBC and the Golf Channel. Pepper’s move to CBS is interesting for a number of reasons. CBS covers more PGA golf than any other network. They also cover the highest-ranked and most coveted major of them all – the Masters.

    Pepper is set to become the first female who has analyzed the Masters tournament, which is hosted by Augusta National, a bastion of old boys who admitted the first women to their club only a decade or so ago. The outspoken Pepper is excellent at her job and follows in the footsteps of female golf announcing pioneer Judy Rankin.

    Fox of course made its highly anticipated golf debut at last year’s U.S. Open Championship at Chamber’s Bay with the line-up of Joe Buck and Greg Norman as lead announcer and analyst.
    In January of this year, Fox stunned the media world by announcing the release of Norman who said he was “shocked” by Fox’s decision. Speculation inside Fox’s decision centers around the claim that they felt Norman hadn’t worked hard enough in preparation for his role as lead analyst. Fox was said to be considering former PGA Champion and winning Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger and the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee as possible replacements for Norman and initial reports indicate Azinger has won the job.

    Norman took the high road on the way out of Fox, thanking them for the experiencing and recognizing it was a business decision. Fox will be in just the second year of their 12-year agreement with the USGA to broadcast the tournament.