NBC's presentation of last month's U.S. Open was aggravating and did not go unnoticed as golf fans everywhere went to and past their breaking point with the ubiquitous commercial breaks and disinterest in showing shots out on the course. We bring that up not to re-litigate the past but to provide the framework for expectations headed into the Open Championship. They were low, yet in the deepest, most hopeful parts there flourished optimism that the many complaints — or simply having less inventory to rip through — would present a more palatable experience.
With that background, it's my distinct honor to report that today's broadcast has been much, much better. Perhaps the early-risers who had the energy to wake with the dawn and check out morning action from St. Andrews had a different journey, but the later coverage on USA Network has been downright competent and capable of keeping up with the action. We are getting a thorough understanding of the big picture while still seeing each and every drive, approach, and putt from the marquee players. The pacing is on point — perhaps not as fast and furious as any given weekend on the season calendar, yet appropriately reverent without becoming overwrought.
Vignettes have been tidy and additive, trips to the desk in lieu of competition are few and far between without losing the type of color and character that must be showcased when the sport comes to its most hallowed ground. NBC's graphics are crisp and omnipresent, mirroring the regal nature of the tournament.
It feels necessary to point all of this out in the interest of fairness. It also feels necessary to note that there are three days remaining and any reverse to the established mean will be both noted and not appreciated. In an ideal world both majors would have been painted on-screen like this. One of two is better than zero out of two.