Monday, July 30, 2007

Evian Masters – Epilogue

After Natalie Gulbis sank her birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Jeong Jang came up to her smiling and said “You did it!” before giving her a victory hug. Where else in the sports world would you see that?

In her post-event interview, Gulbis said her back injury turned her game around. She was forced to change her posture and that enabled her to incorporate all the swing changes she had been trying to make.

Karrie Webb won Evian last year at -16. Paula Creamer won the year before at -15. Before yesterday’s -4, the worst score relative to par to win at Evian was Annika Sorenstam’s -12 in 2000. Maybe the Evian people are trying TOO hard to make their event a major.

Through 11 holes on Saturday, Diana D’Alessio was -8 and held a four-shot lead. She played the final 25 holes of the tournament in +12 to finish at +4 T24. The quadruple-bogey that started that slide was primarily due to Diana taking four putts from about 20 feet. I hope we see her get back in contention again soon.

Lorena Ochoa has played the Evian Masters five times. Her worst finish was last year, when she finished fifth. That would be five events, five Top 5s.

Did you ever want to take back something you said? If I weren’t such an honest man, I would go back and delete most of the positive things I posted about Thursday’s TV coverage. The production values of the video feed weren’t the greatest – too many ground level camera shots, for one – and the English commentary over the French video meant that the announcers never knew what pictures they were going to see (or of whom) so they were working with a handicap to begin with. But there’s no excusing the comment of “the unmistakable figure of Christina Kim” (which my wife and I both regarded as an insult). Graphically, the video feed mis-informed them that Ochoa had parred 18 to finish -4 when (despite not seeing her missed par putt) I was certain that Lorena was not putting from the same position where her birdie attempt had ended up. Numerous times, TGC opted to fast-forward, skipping shots that meant volumes in the final scheme. Gustafson’s second into the water at 18, Inkster’s bogey at 15, Gulbis’ bogey at 14 (we only saw the bad tee shot), Ochoa’s birdie at 15 to get to -4 – all of them and more went unseen. TGC would have been well advised to just start playing the tape at 2.5 hours from the end and let it roll, only stopping for commercials. I endorsed the “jump-ahead” method for Round One, but specifically did NOT do so for Round Four.

During the introduction of the Sunday coverage, they showed shots of several players in contention (and a few who weren’t) along with their scores through Saturday. In the middle of this montage appeared some 50-ish photographer with a bandana over his head (in slow-motion for atmospheric effect, I guess) with the score and name of Suzann Pettersen alongside. I got a nice laugh out of that one.

Another chuckle – Carolyn Bivens congratulated Gulbis with the phrase “No more Anna Kournikova, huh?” Natalie enjoyed the joke.

I did figure out that one of the commentators was “Sandy” and the other was either “Nikki” or “Mickey Walker”. No luck on Google with any permutations of that name. Coincidentally, they interviewed Nikki Garrett during the final round coverage! Nikki told us that she is coming to the States after the British Open and will be attempting to earn her card here. will be thrilled!

The final two holes at Evian look sooo easy…115-yard par-3 and 467-yard par-5. So how could they cause so much trouble yesterday? Take a couple of undulating greens and wind-blow them dry for a couple of days, and you’d probably see the same thing at every other course they play. This may sound overly simplistic, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you could have rough a foot high and fairways only 20 yards wide but if the greens can hold a mid to long iron shot, these players will still make birdies.


Brian said...

For whatever reason that was the worst TV coverage I have ever tried to follow. I don't care that it was English over a French feed ... that should never have been allowed.
Little, if any, information was given as you watched shots from players that were in contention. This was made worse because of the time jumps in the coverage.
Last, talk about plain vanilla commentary, those two ladies were out of their element. Contrast them with the lively and witty (not to mention knowledgeable) banter of Faldo and 'zinger. Tirico, too, is one of the best.
The LPGA if coming of age and can be more interesting to watch than the Seniors. Every effort should be made to complement their competitive play with competent and interesting commentary.

The Constructivist said...

Let's hope they get their act together for the British Open.

Hound Dog said...

Brian, I completely agree. I can't remember a worse series of golf telecasts. I was just pointing out the "Perfect Storm" of factors that created such a monumental mess! Maybe next year, TGC will let me, Constructivist and Happyfan from all voice-over the Evian coverage. Between us, I'm sure all would be entertained!

Fortunately, TNT and ABC will have their own combined production teams in place for the British. Last year they did fairly well, although the length of coverage (especially on Sunday) wasn't nearly enough.