?With Tiger Woods out of the Western Open with the flu, the LPGA seemed poised to seize the golf TV spotlight last weekend. Unfortunately NBC's production of the U.S. Women's Open was as under the weather as Tiger. Start with the distinct lack of enthusiasm in the voices of Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller: Perhaps the announcing team had a hangover of sorts after covering a raucous men's U.S. Open. But there's no excuse for NBC's not using innovations like the computer-animated hole flyover and the Swing-View technology that were staples of the men's Open coverage. Network executives moan about low ratings for women's golf, but if they don't take the sport seriously, why should viewers?
?The Fox NASCAR team of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip jelled into an entertaining group in their second season. Still, they should not shy away from reporting on ugly incidents, as they did during last week's Pepsi 400, when the trio made no comment about fans at Daytona showering the track with debris after the race ended under a controversial yellow flag.
?Fox cried foul back in April when mlb.com launched Condensed Games, which allows fans to watch a scaled-down version of every game from the previous day on their computers for a $4.95 seasonal fee. The network is paying MLB $2.5 billion over six years for exclusive rights. Fox claimed that the service, which shows the final pitch from every at bat and reduces an average game to eight minutes, would undermine the deal by providing an alternative to TV. The result? While Condensed Games has attracted 130,000 subscribers, Fox's ratings are up slightly from last year.