Big turn off

Having tuned into the BBC’s coverage of the US PGA, I’ve changed my mind

Last month I wrote about my happiness that we were getting another helping of Peter Alliss, Ken Brown and co covering a major championship on the BBC.

Just 15 minutes into watching the Beeb’s coverage of the US PGA, having worked through the Red Button menus twice and wondered why I couldn’t just watch some golf, I regretted writing that column.

Rather than the polished, often hilarious and thoroughly well researched coverage we’re used to from The Masters and The Open over the years, we received a group of ill-prepared commentators broadcasting from what seemed to be a shed in Alliss’ back garden while watching the host broadcaster’s feed.

Commentating over the host feed shouldn’t have been an issue. Nor should the odd error – though calling the sixth best player in the world and eventual winner “Justin Thompson” then stating “Matsuyama will have heard the roars” when he was in the same group as Thomas, was disappointing.

While I could watch with those going on, the lack of production quality – cuts back to the studio with top players or Ken on the Course – added to the above was too much.

To see the BBC commit such little resource and effort to its golf broadcast was disheartening – there was just an hour’s play on BBC Two on Thursday and the Red Button didn’t start until 6pm. I can understand why so many golf fans were angry with the BBC – I was too.

The coverage of the US PGA felt like they didn’t care about what was going out, or about covering golf. Compare that with Sky Sports’ coverage and the innovations it has brought I’d be happy to see golf remain on Sky. The quality of the broadcasts is fantastic – particularly at the majors with a huge team covering golf from practice rounds through to Sunday.

While it’s coverage isn’t available to everyone, which was a key part of the US PGA moving the event to the BBC, what Sky brings to the table is a commitment to showcasing the sport.

I would hope people are inspired by what they do and by what they see from the players through tournament weeks – far more than a confused, lacklustre performance from the BBC.

I hope the BBC can come back to broadcasting golf properly – they have done it very well in the past. Maybe we’ll change our minds back if they improve things…