PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — “Max, can you hear me?”
Lead analyst Trevor Immelman was in the broadcast booth talking to Max Homa, who had just hit his drive on the par-5 13th at Torrey Pines. Homa was listening through an earbud.
And with that, the PGA Tour and CBS embarked on a new wrinkle in their telecast Friday.
Just don’t get the idea this happened on the fly.
Homa said he had been talking about the plan with CBS and with Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief of operations. And while it may not be for everybody, Homa proved to be the perfect fit.
“I’m very excited about the idea,” Homa said after his two-shot victory. “I thought it was great for the fans to look into, push that envelope for the fans. Not just myself, but the tour — CBS, NBC, all these broadcasting streams — seem to be wanting to add something to the viewing experience.”
For years, some players have balked at the idea of wearing microphones, and the networks have boom mics on the course, anyway. On other tours, the conversation has come across as stilted.
Not every tour has the benefit of Homa, who delivers refreshing insight without really trying.
The question was how he chose to shape the shot off the tee. Homa typically plays a cut, and the par 5 moves from right to left.
“My coach and caddie let me draw one maybe once a day, maybe once a week,” Homa said. “This was not the one.”
From there, he went on to explain his approach to going for the green on a par 5, mainly about the ideal position for the third shot.
Homa has heard chatter, like everyone else, that networks could never get someone as intense as Tiger Woods or Jon Rahm to go along. So it might not work for everyone. But it did for him, regardless of the outcome.
“It was 20 minutes. It was not invasive,” he said. “I’m hoping other players would want to do it. … I’m sure there’s some interest in this whether I won or didn’t. Hopefully we can kind of keep pushing that or tweak it, just anything to help golf kind of gain some attraction to all the viewers hopefully a little bit younger than our typical audience.”