Ever wonder what would happen if Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo sat in the same TV studio? Would one man dominate the conversation? Would they bloviate over each other the entire time? Would they argue? Throw punches? On Friday we will have our answer. This week’s Match Play will be NBC’s first event since forming a partnership with Golf Channel, a venture that will continue throughout each of NBC’s 10 tournaments this year. In addition to new graphics, promotions and branding, Golf Channel and NBC will do a little mixing of on-air talent. Mike Reynolds of Multichannel.com breaks it down:
Perhaps the biggest showcase for the nets’ expanded field will come via a Golf Central special at 8:30 p.m. on Friday Feb. 25. State of the Game Live will showcase NBC’s Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller and Roger Maltbie discussing the sport with Golf’s Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and Nick Faldo. The group will dissect the WGC action, the status of one Eldrick Woods, and the emergence of European stars and their impact on the PGA Tour, among other topics.
“This is a unique golf-television event that for the first time brings together the two premiere voices in the game…Johnny Miller, who I have had a special relationship with for many years, and Nick Faldo,” said Ebersol. “Beyond all of their credentials on the course, their voices always resonate with fans on the significant issues that affect the game. Our goal is to utilize our combined assets for more events such as this in the future.”
Take Your Pick This week 64 of the top 65 players in the world will play the Accenture Match Play Championship. British sports book Ladbrokes has installed Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey as the favorites, at 14/1. Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy are next at 16/1. Here are a few other notable odds:
Dustin Johnson: 25/1 Graeme McDowell: 25/1 Rickie Fowler: 33/1 Ian Poulter: 33/1 Padraig Harrington: 50/1 Bubba Watson: 66/1 Ryo Ishikawa: 80/1 Zach Johnson: 100/1
The longshot of the week is Brendan Jones, who drew Phil Mickelson in Round 1, at 500/1. Who’s your pick? Let us hear it in the comments section below. Tweets of the Day Paul Azinger took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with tournaments like the Match Play that use World Rankings to determine who gets into the field. The rant caught the attention of the No. 1 player in the World, and a little back-and-forth ensued. @PaulAzinger: Using Wrld Rank to exmpt players into biggest events is a joke. Plyrs shld know what they’re choking for.Use money lists, high finishes ect. WestwoodLee: @PaulAzinger captain azinger have you lost the plot? PaulAzinger: @WestwoodLee using world rank for match play event is ok, but previous years money list or high finishes in specific events has more meaning WestwoodLee: @PaulAzinger wouldn’t that be slightly biased towards a tour that played for the most money? PaulAzinger: @WestwoodLee No. Each tour takes X no. of players off money list from previous yr. Japan gets X, S Africa gets X Australian gets X, ect… WestwoodLee: @PaulAzinger sounds more complicated than the world rankings system? I have a feeling it’s fairly accurate as it is. PaulAzinger: I think players choke for 2 things, cash & prestige. Winning most prestiges event is more pressure.Can’t win?Choking for cash not WR points
Westwood never responded with his thoughts on choking, but it seems that Azinger has a point about the impact a flawed world ranking system has on pro golf. STRAY SHOTS: Things we read while debating whether to shell out the cash for two tickets to the Knicks’ next home game.
* Nice feature from the Sydney Morning Herald on Match Play longshot Brendan Jones, who faces Mickelson on Wednesday. The Aussie hasn’t played a competitive round in three months, making a first-round upset even more unlikely.
* India’s Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia won the Avantha Masters last weekend, and apparently he’s so big in his homeland that he’s simply known as “SSP.”