A number of competitors at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge will be microphoned in order to improve the broadcast experience of the first event back on the PGA Tour in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The Charles Schwab Challenge will take place at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 11-14. It will be broadcast domestically on CBS and The Golf Channel.
Following the success of putting microphones on Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods during “The Match” sequel, CBS will look to do the same with some competitors at Colonial as the broadcaster looks to enliven an event that will be held without any spectators.
“We’ve been talking to the [PGA] Tour about it for years,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a conference call with reporters. “I think there’s probably a greater appreciation for wanting to contemporize golf coverage a little bit and I think the players are beginning to realize that they can play a real role in that and making the product a little more interesting for the viewer at home.”
The players who will be microphoned are expected to be announced later in the week.
“What a great opportunity,” added CBS Sports analyst Sir Nick Faldo. “We have plenty of fun talkers, fun tweeters haven’t we out there? Maybe they’d like to get their face and their sponsor on TV. I can’t see any harm. They have to switch it a little bit the players are entertainers right now and they have to do a little entertaining.”
To help deal with the health and safety protocols, CBS will also introduce an “inside the ropes” segment that will involve players walking into a tent and answer a printed question to an unattended camera during the tournament.
Meanwhile, with only about half of the usual production crew on site, CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz will present all four days of the joint Golf Channel and CBS Sports broadcast alone from Colonial’s 18th Tower with a robotic camera.
“We’re all going to adjust,” Nantz told reporters. “It’s one of the great challenges that I’ve ever seen in my 35 years, but this crew is ready for it.”
Nantz added that the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social unrest in the United States will be addressed during the CBS broadcast.
“We wouldn’t be doing it properly if we didn’t note that there is a lot going on in our country right now,” Nantz said. “I’m 61 years old and I consider this to be the most important moment in our country in my lifetime. We have to get this moment in history right. We can’t let this moment pass without real meaning and progress. I hope to express that. This is not going to be a three-hour commentary.
“It’s just bringing us on the air and bringing you the landscape of the golf tournament and recognizing that golf is a wonderful form of escape for people and a chance to unify,” Nantz said.