Pro Golf Weekly

Grading the FOX Golf Coverage of 118th U.S. Open

In case you hadn’t heard Phil Mickelson embarrassed the golf world on Saturday. The five-time major winner, loaded up on drugs, got into his car, and, after hitting a couple of mail boxes, smashed his Mercedes-Benz into a tree and was booked on a DUI charge.

Check that. Wrong golf legend.

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew Reddington

Phil actually hit his golf ball as it was moving. And according to the sanctimonious FOX broadcast team, the second-greatest golfer of his generation deserves to live in golf purgatory.

Nice try, fake news FOX.

Now on to the grades.


FOX/USGA TV BROADCAST – F

Leave it to the USGA to align with FOX for its annual broadcast. Could any two entities be more of a perfect fit? Both show up on the men’s pro golf scene once a year and turn a major championship into a total sh!tfest.

Carnival course setup? Check.
Smug opinions? Check.
Pronhub audio feed? Check.


JOE BUCK – F

Buck came off as a sanctimonious star of the jerk store. On Saturday, he attempted to turn fan-favorite Phil Mickelson into a criminal on national TV for the sin of hitting a damn golf ball as it was moving. On Sunday, before the broadcast, Buck used the power of national TV to smear Phil one last time, holding up NYC tabloids that simply proved the media is an echo chamber.

PS – Hey, Joe, it’s Daniel Berger, not “Dana.”

Credit: Getty Images/Phillip Faraone

PAUL AZINGER – F

Zinger tries to come off as a good ol’ boy while at the same time providing cover for the USGA blue-blazers, and teaming up with the lynch-mob media. Sorry, but you can’t be a man of the people while sipping wine with the Hamptons set. Nice try, Zing, but you lost us.


SHANE BACON – B+

Bacon, along with Brad Faxon, were the stars of FOX’s broadcast and deserved more air time. Unlike Buck, Bacon provided straight, concise play-by-play without opinionizing. He’s also much more informed relative to the current crop of players and their back stories. He actually knows their names.


BRAD FAXON – A

Faxon was terrific as usual, and provided smart analysis, with a down-to-earth appeal. While he’s also a former PGA Tour player, he didn’t come off as a trying-too-hard insider like Azinger.

During a weekend of overblown controversies and production screw-ups, Faxon’s mainly vanilla analysis provided a nice immersive feel.


SHANE O’DONOUGHUE – B

With his Irish brogue, O’Donoughue is the token accent on FOX, and does a decent job interviewing the players after their rounds. While a bit of a suck-up for my tastes, overall, he stayed in his lane and did a solid job.

Credit: Getty Images/David Cannon

GLOBALIST GOLF POST WRITER – F

I don’t know his name but he called Phil Mickelson an “ass” on national TV. Let’s think about that for a second. A golf writer calls a Mickelson an “ass” on national TV because he thinks Phil “disrespected” the game? Let me repeat that again. The guy who thinks Phil “DISRESPECTED” the game uses the word “ASS” on national TV.

You just can’t make it up.


HOLLY SONDERS – F

The FOX production crew had Sonders mostly seated and wearing some kind of blazer/sweater for much of the weekend, despite summer-like temps in the Hamptons. I’m guessing last year’s outfit was a bit too much for the blue bloods. More importantly, though, Sonders refused to stand up (pun intended) for Phil when the bozo from Globalist Golf Post tore him apart. For this she gets a failing grade.

Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

DAVID FAY – F

The epitome of the blue blazer crew, Fay is a former Executive Director of the USGA, and came off as such. As he was bloviating, and droning on about Phil’s supposed crime, you could almost envision Thurston Howell III (or as Azinger might painfully call him, “Thurston three sticks”). Fay was useful during the 2016 edition at Oakmont when the USGA screwed up the ruling on DJ, but as he was in 2017, he added no value to this year’s broadcast.


CURTIS STRANGE – B

Strange did a solid job interviewing Mickelson while the media-contrived scandal was white-hot. While clearly uncomfortable, Strange was fair but direct in his questioning of Phil. He also did a nice job on Sunday, walking with the DJ-Koepka pairing, as well as his trophy ceremony interview with the winner. The only living back-to-back winners of America’s national golf championship talking to one another was a nice finish to an otherwise dreadful U.S. Open.

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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