The PGA Championship is part-golf tournament, part revolutionary experiment to allow people to watch more of the action and see if they might like that. Spoiler alert: we will like that. We do like that. Before CBS' unveils its 50-50 split two-box look this weekend, ESPN has set the pace with what will amount to 22 hours of coverage before the cut is made.
Putting the pre-4 p.m. action on ESPN+ was a savvy move as so many out there couldn't imagine a world where they didn't watch a major tournament after this prolonged sports desert. There was likely a fair amount of begrudging muttering that it'd better be worth it while clicking the signup buttons and agreeing to the nominal monthly fee.
On balance, it really has been. Both Thursday and Friday's coverage has been stellar, especially the portion behind the paywall. The primary reason? Because they're keeping the damn pace of play up. During one 15-minute stretch the broadcast showed 28 shots. For the math-adverse, that's a blistering 1.87 per minute. Bryson DeChambeau couldn't even think about thinking about making a final decision in that amount of time.
This is ESPN's first year in partnership with the event, and it's felt like an upgrade over Turner, buoyed by both speed and tremendous play-by-play depth. ESPN+ subscribers were treated to Sean McDonough and Bob Wischusen trading shots and taking names. It's always great to hear the former, and the latter has emerged as a huge asset, more than holding his own. In fact, one could make the argument that Wischusen has outshined every other bold name on the call sheet. He's managed to tick through all the action at a blistering pace without feeling rushed and been at the key of a lighter, more conversational approach.
So, yeah. Worth it. Capitalism wins again?