Peter Kostis has been one of the most recognizable and knowledgable voices in golf even before he joined CBS in the early 1990s, but his unrenewed contract has allowed the former on-course analyst to turn his gaze toward the network and Tour he covered for nearly three decades.
In a fiery, 50-minute interview with Chris Solomon of No Laying Up, Kostis gave his unfettered and unfiltered opinions on everything from his own relationship with CBS to the PGA Tour’s control over golf broadcasts and even a little riff on the controversy du jour, Patrick Reed.
Speaking first about his inactive dismissal from CBS, Kostis reiterated a lot of the same talking points he told Sport Business Journal’s John Ourand in October of 2019: CBS claimed the broadcast had become “stale” and the PGA Tour put pressure on the network to “get younger.”
“I don’t think there was a plan in place,” Kostis said. “I honestly think, and this is my opinion and it’s been corroborated by anonymous inside sources that media likes to use these days, that it was the tour that told CBS to get younger. I think the tour had an issue with me not being a cheerleader.”
It’s finally happened.
Peter Kostis is here to discuss his departure from CBS, golf on TV, what needs to change, other Patrick Reed incidents he’s seen (!), and so much more.
He does not hold back. Go now.
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) February 19, 2020
The more incendiary quotes came when Kostis expounded upon that Tour-issued pressure and how the circuit is taking more and more control over a broadcast product that Kostis said they don’t necessarily care about.
“From the bottom of my heart, I believe this, that no one in management of a network or at the leadership of the PGA Tour gives a rat’s ass about the quality of the telecast,” Kostis said. “They don’t care about the quality of the viewer experience. They don’t care about anything other than promotion. They’re interested in the marketing of the product.”
Riffing further on perceived issues in the game, Solomon broached the topic of Patrick Reed’s controversial two-stroke penalty at December’s Hero World Challenge. Much like Brooks Koepka a few days earlier, Kostis had no sympathy for Reed, who he says has developed a habit for improving his lie.
— Josh Berhow (@Josh_Berhow) February 19, 2020
“I’ve seen Patrick Reed improve his lie, up close and personal, four times now,” Kostis said. “It’s the only time I ever shut (Gary) McCord up. He didn’t know what to say when I said, ‘Well, the lie I saw originally wouldn’t have allowed for this shot.’ Because he put four or five clubs behind the ball, you know, kind of faking whether he was going to hit this shot or hit that shot and by the time he was done, he hit a freaking 3-wood out of there, which when I saw, it was a sand wedge layup originally.”
Kostis gave other examples of Reed’s penchant for improving his lie, including a story about hitting it over the back of the par-3 16th hole at Torrey Pines South.
“He hit it over the green and did the same thing, put three or four clubs behind (the ball),” he said. “It was a really treacherous shot that nobody had gotten close all day long from over there. And by the time he was done, I could read ‘Callaway’ on the golf ball from my tower.
“I’m not even sure that he knows that he’s doing it sometimes. Maybe he does, I don’t know. I’m not going to assign intent. All I’m going to tell you is what I saw.”
You can listen to the full interview with Kostis here.