Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do the Boom Mics Stay on Tour?

Tim Finchem says they should. It seems like the great PR that the PGA Tour is getting for the conversations captured at the Arnold Palmer Invitational outweigh the pain that is dealing with Bubba Watson's attitude problem broadcast on international television. Tim Rosaforte meets with some execs to explain why:

[Rosaforte] made a few calls Monday to PGA Tour Headquarters and to members of the PGA Tour Policy Board and Players Advisory Council, just to make sure there was no push-back by the players, that boom mikes wouldn't be banned because they were "invading space," or bringing the audience too close to the competition. Ty Votaw, the tour's executive vice president of communications, made it clear that while saying the interaction between Watson and Elkington was "unfortunate," players know that while they're inside the ropes, the microphones are on. Joe Ogilvie, a player director, said that a decision on microphones would never go to the policy board, meaning PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and the networks would handle it. For what it's worth, Ogilvie added that the "competitive angst" shown in the Watson-Elkington dialog does not scar the game.

"We're not talking state secrets here," says Ogilvie.

I've heard that one high level player and caddie don't like the boom mike listening in on their decisions. I also remember controversies that erupted years ago when a seven-second delay wasn't enough time to censor Fred Couples at La Costa and Curtis Strange at the TPC Sawgrass. Thankfully, the use of sound is an element that comes down from the top; Finchem believes it adds to the telecast and thus the boom won't be banned.

Players do know that the mics are out there and can catch anything. I find it interesting that Bubba was so loud. Perhaps Elk would have known about what Watson said even without the microphones. That was something I wondered on The 19th Hole broadcast (available on iTunes now). TGC is certainly not at fault for this - they are doing their job and the players are aware of their presence. Good that Finchem recognizes the value in the mics being there, including when controversy happens.

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