Enberg made graceful transitions, but his lack of expertise kept slipping through. For instance, he said that "[Joe] Gullion is about to make his approach to the green from some deep rough 30 yards away," when indeed it was his approach to the green—his second shot—that had put him in the rough. Wrapping up Friday's show, he got slick. "Yesterday the Price was right, today was a Norman conquest." Easy, Dick.
The long weekend's telecast began on an emotional note when Miller nearly broke down on camera, his voice quivering as he recalled how his father had instilled in him a great love of the Open. As with all shows, especially 12 hours worth, there was good and there was, well, not so good. Let's take the latter:
On Saturday, Roy concentrated almost exclusively on the five or six leaders, with the result that when several fell back, as so often happens in the Open, there were players suddenly in contention whom we had barely seen on camera, most notably the eventual winner, Corey Pavin. This despite the fact that NBC was using an unprecedented 35 cameras at Shinnecock.
When NBC did cut to some apparently, irrelevant player about to putt from, say, 30 feet, you could bet he would make it, because it was on tape. But no one ever said so, or even, "This just a few seconds ago...."
Minor quibble: Early on, Miller fell in love with "native fescue," the tall grass beyond the rough. He must have mentioned it a dozen times in the first half hour. Later he dropped it, possibly at Roy's suggestion.
To fill time at the start, NBC showed the same features it had aired in its preview the preceding weekend. Bad deal for ardent golf fans.
But there were plenty of pluses. The aforementioned features were good, especially the recap of Shinnecock '86, the shots of Ray Floyd on the clubhouse porch evoking scenes from The Great Gatsby.
As a group, the commentators seldom uttered golfing clich�s, to wit: flatstick (putter), stops the bleeding (par or birdie after a string of bogeys), dance floor (the putting surface) and center cut (ball down the middle of the fairway or hole).
Indeed, Miller injected the words inordinately and beguiling into his commentary. Shades of the great Henry Longhurst. He described one attempt to get out of the deep rough as like "trying to hit a sack of sand." Perfect.
Best Sunday TV shot: Pavin racing up the 18th fairway to see where his four-wood approach had landed.