Standing on the Outside Lookin’ In: Golf on TV


Watching Adam Scott play golf is watching a sportsman that is truly on top the his game, both technically and mentally. Watching Channel 7s coverage of golf is watching the litany of cliche’s and waffle the likes of which makes the Channel 9’s cricket coverage truly stimulating and ground breaking. Sandy Roberts is most likely a very pleasant person, great husband and father and all round ripper bloke. Gee, Greg Norm even likes him, for what that endorsement is worth. But put a microphone in front of him and Sandy is TV commentary’s equivalent of haemorrhoids. While not a great fan of Jack Newton as commentator, I feel his eventual departure from the Channel 7 box may have been due to a recurring urge to walk into another plane prop, rather than put up with Sandy’s unbearable presence and parrot-like comments. Surely he has photos of Kerry Stokes and a goat.

Team Sandy with Peter Donegan and the shit sandwich which is Channel 7 golf coverage becomes a loaf of bread. Has there ever been a person who makes more, this might be, could that be, might have just, comments than Peter. “What’s going through his mind Finchy? Probably, “how can I avoid that cock from Channel 7 interviewing me after my round”. Who gives a toss what Ossie Moore thinks and who was that on course Luke person, other than a Gen Y dribbler. Ian Baker-Finch does add some value to proceedings but brings himself undone with more repetition than an Abbott policy speech. He could also add a bit of spice to his comments and stop being so nice when some plodder three jiggles because he shat himself. How about sticking your head out of the box and yelling out “ya f^*cking gasser”.


Let’s have a look a the coverage itself. Do we really a need a fly over of every bloody hole, every day? Do we really need to see player’s endless pre-putt routines? Watching someone lining up a putt is the TV equivalent of an ingrown toe nail. Surely, someone else must be doing something, anything? Even catching a player coming out the bushes after having a snakes is better than watching a player line up a putt. Or worse doing yardage. Hey, the bloke with the GPS standing next you might have a fair idea how far it is.

If it all comes down the the back nine on Sunday, why show the other 63 holes you dicks? I must remember the scores from my front nine next weekend don’t matter diddly. Royal Melbourne is not one the great golf courses in the world. It is a composite layout whose only defence, much like St Andrews, is wind and tricked up greens and best described by Jack Nicholas as good member’s course. If the camera doesn’t show how much break there is in a putt, put the f@&king camera in a position that shows it. The Yarra River in not “iconic”. The Great Ocean road is iconic. Bondi Beach is iconic. The Yarra is a shit coloured stream of piddle. (Ed – is it always redone in premiership team colours?)

The difficulty about sports coverage is trying to replicate the atmosphere and experience of being at the event. Although this sounds stupid to the uninitiated, watching good golfers live is truly something to behold but doesn’t transfer well to the small screen. That said, the coverage of the President’s Cup two years ago showed that golf on TV can be good to watch. The constant changes between groups, vision of critical moments and not dwelling on some over paid sook, with poor fashion sense, walking up a fairway for 5 minutes, made for great TV. The Masters’ coverage this week has been the same predictable porridge and it has been banal. It has been so Channel 7. I was half expecting David King to pop up scribbling lines all over the course or Brian Taylor yelling wow wee every time someone brings out the driver.

Objectives such as tragic, anguished and devastating might apply to the recent typhoon in the Philippines. They do not apply to a golfer that made a dog’s date on a par five. Why do I have to constantly look up scores on the internet to find out the results for anyone not on the leader’s board? I realise that viewers like to watch the better known players in a tournament but how about giving some exposure, and possible sponsorship opportunity, to some struggling young pro who is shooting 6 under rather than a US tour hack that is here for a paid holiday, is totally disinterested and chopping it around. Speaking of visitors, Vijay Singh. The Vijay Singh who is such a hard worker and hits a million pills a day. A habit he developed after spending two years practising at a shitty driving range in Sarawak after being rubbed out for cheating, not that we want to talk about that do we boys.

The only thing that they seem to have got right for once is the volume of effect’s mics that had managed to dominate the sounds bites of the GF and Melbourne Cup. At least the commentary did not sound as though they were calling it from a toilet block even if the content of the commentary is basically similar to the contents of a toilet block. Oh I nearly forgot, Matt Millar from my golf club shot 4 under for the tournament. You would have seen the extensive coverage of Matt replacing his coin on the 18th hole. Thanks again 7.


About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Steve Baker says

    And let’s not talk about channel 7’s definition of ‘live’ either… Sometimes, having a clock behind the bloke teeing off that’s 5 minutes behind is a bit of a giveaway!

    In fact, let’s not talk about 7’s use of ‘definition’ at all. Surely it can’t cost that much to show premium sporting events in hi-definition?

  2. I turned it on for the last 2 holes and saw about 5 shots and 50 ads. rubbish.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Tony Channel 7s , coverage of the golf is magnificent just having a bad millenium
    Good Aricle Tony

  4. Steve So it’s just not my crap eyesight then

  5. and let’s not confuse the 7adfest with golf on telly in general – excellent game to watch from a fantastic range of venues and with many fine commentators.

    btw Tony, Sandy’s leaving Ch7 (and I’m strangely a fan of Sandy – reckon he has his tongue in cheek and just cashes in on his good fortune)

  6. Agree with you about Sandy, TR. He has been past it since the day he started in Adelaide in the 80’s, but has always traded on his amiable bonhomie. Never going to question anyone or anything, and most people like it that way.
    Bit harsh on P Donegan, who had only just got over the Lavington Gift and the third at Murtoa. Fairs fair the man is a great allrounder, just shouldn’t be asked to open the batting.
    You need a Rhenton Laidlaw. Someone with a brogue and a golf specialist, with a million stories for every occasion.
    I enjoyed the Masters tournament just because the course gave a perspective, after the flat lands of Royal Pines. You think your way around Royal Melbourne, and blast your way around Royal Pines. It could have been filmed on the moon (with irrigation).
    Bookies in the run would have had a field day today. Scott went from 1/10 to 3/1 and back again in a half hour. Kuchar would have learned a lot for the next British Open. Risk and reward golf on links courses.
    Scott is my Sportsman of the Year by the length of the Flemington Straight. Coming home and honouring his roots by playing these tournaments, when he could get 10X the money in tournaments or exhibitions overseas. He is a real toff. I dips me lid.

  7. Pete totally concur on Mr Scott Great exhibition of giving something back to the fans. I doubt any kid that wanted an autograph was knocked back. Kucher also changed my opinion of hin

  8. I lived in oz for 28yrs and had the same commentators with the same cliches in the end it became a big zz??zzzzz.

  9. I thought it might just be me until I found this article. Peter Donegan is an absolute pain in the blot.
    I’m sick of his endless drivel and treating viewers as drongos. Doesn’t he realise that we tune in to watch the golf not listen to his boring repetition. We don’t need to be constantly reminded of every person’s age and nationality and what it will mean if this putt or that goes in (more often than not it misses rendering all his hypothesising redundant). Please give someone else a go at commenting on the golf.

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