Nick Taylor went insane on Saturday, firing a nine-under to move way up the leaderboard. He still entered the final day of the RBC Canadian Open three shots back with a crowded dance floor between him and making history. So he agreed to do one of those walk-and-talk interviews with the CBS broadcast as the played the par-4 15th hole, hoping but not expecting that it would come at a time he still had hope to win the tournament.
Taylor played incredibly well out of the gate and was holding a one-shot lead when the time came for him to put in ear buds and talk to Jim Nantz and Trevor Immelman. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this was a significant and historic moment for an in-game feature that's gone from being considered a pretty out-there intrusion of space to something that's just part of the game now.
Its gone from gimmick to standard fare in the course of a year. Dudes are doing it at the Masters. Michael Block is working a tight five-minute set during his. Everyone seems to enjoy it. Except, of course, the cranky sect that is convinced having a casual conversation sentences a player to poor play. They were briefly vindicated when Taylor, after parring 15, bogeyed the 16th to drop back into a tie for the lead. They thought there were going to get their "I Told You So" but then the Canadian went ahead and birdied 17 and 18 before bombing in a 72-foot putt and getting Adam Hadwin suplexed into the Earth's mantle.
There is nothing to be afraid of anymore. Now that a player has done one of these in the most pressure-packed situation of his life and gone on to secure the most memorable win of his life a few hours later, we know they can't hurt anyone. And sure, they probably don't help anyone either. The data is pretty sparse and can be bent to tell a narrative.
What's important here is just how quickly the golf world has acclimated to this new reality. Not long ago it would have been a shock to the system to see the leader of a tournament on the home stretch talking shop with ear buds in. Yesterday it was just another thing that was happening and people may not have even realized the enormity.
It's crazy how many years the sport insisted it couldn't change and then, in the matter of a few months, it's breaking new ground and down the fourth wall.