PGA Tour to test out player interviews during rounds

January 2, 2019

The PGA Tour could be the next professional sports organization to implement in-game interviews. The Tour is going to experiment with interviews during rounds this week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions with players who are willing to go on camera and chat, according to the Associated Press.

With its goal of hoping to better connect fans with pro golfers, the Tour has previously asked players who were in contention over the weekend to allow for TV interviews before starting their rounds. But never before has the Tour sought to have interviews with players during their rounds.

Interviews are not expected to take place during final rounds of events, as the Tour is sensitive to the appropriate timing of interviews. But the plan is completely contingent on the interest of the players, as it is up to them whether or not they wish to be interviewed during play. So far, the reactions appear to be mixed.

One who appears less than interested in being interviewed during his rounds is Rory McIlroy, who has yet to be approached by the PGA Tour.

“I’ve been approached in Europe because they’ve done it for a couple of years,” McIlroy said. “And I’ve said, ‘No,’ every single time.”

Justin Thomas also appeared disinterested in being interviewed during play.

“I’ve just been asked about it,” Thomas said. “I said, ‘No.’ It’s not me. I do a lot of self-talking. That’s mine and [Thomas’ caddie Jimmy Johnson] time, whether we’re talking about whatever, or even the next shot. For me, there’s no benefit. It’s only going to make me look worse.”

On the other hand, Marc Leishman seemed open to the opportunity of being interviewed during play. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Leishman has experience with interviews during rounds when he plays in Australia. He also had some advice for the Tour to make sure the new initiative goes over well.

“If they do end up having them, my advice would be to have someone who has played on tour to do it, to be a little sensitive of the questions and the timing of the interview,” Leishman said. “But anything where you can be more accessible to the viewers is a good thing. We want to bring more people to the game. It might be a way to give more insight to what we’re thinking at the time.”