If you spent your weekend trying to bond and relate to a dad that didn’t hug you enough when you were young, you probably also wound up planted in front of the TV watching Brooks Koepka’s biceps win the U.S. Open. It was a tournament packed full of players you’ve never heard of dominating a golf course that had no business hosting a major tournament. FOX paid a ridiculous sum of money to broadcast a tournament where Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson, and Jason Day didn’t make the cut, and golf’s golden pony Jordan Speith was the tied for 35th. They tried their best to sell you on Brain Harman, Tommy Fleetwood, and Hideki Matsuyama being the next big things, but all know we will never care about any of those people ever. Luckily, the good folks at FOX did a few things to make the tournament bearable.
First, they brought back my guy Joe Buck to call the action. After a tumultuous US Open debut in 2015, many fans were calling for a replacement for the broadcaster who once almost lost his voice from excessive hair plug surgeries. Now, Is he great at calling golf? Not really. But nothing draws attention to sporting events that don’t deserve it like bringing in Buck to take a beating on Twitter. Joe had maybe the highlight of the weekend: calling Brooks Koepka’s current girlfriend by his ex’s name and credentials, exposing Brooks for rebounding so hard that he brought his girlfriend of one week to undoubtedly the biggest moment of his life.
Second, they fully unleashed the Shot Tracker. It’s wonderful technology that’s existed forever, but for some reason no network has felt the need to utilize the one thing that makes golf palatable to the casual viewer. Besides your local golf pro, or that loser amateur that plays 3 times a weekend and can’t stop talking about spin rate and launch angle, no one can tell where the ball is going just based on watching the swing. The rest of us, who aren’t nerds for a dying game, are relying solely on body language and gallery reaction. If i don’t see a club twirl, or hear some jackalope yell “ATTA BOY *insert name here*”, I automatically assume the ball is headed for the nearest patch of fescue. With the Shot Tracker, we all get to say “he pushed it” or “it’s gotta turn over” 2 seconds after the ball is hit. I don’t know how many letters I have to write to those old, quasi-racist white guys at Augusta National to get the Shot Tracker allowed at The Masters, all I know is 5 is not enough.
Lastly, they were constantly doing studio updates just to show off the impossible-looking Holly Sonders. The fact that she’s legitimately good at her job takes a backseat to the fact that she looks like she was carefully constructed in a laboratory. I feel comfortable speculating that FOX did exhaustive research on when exactly golf viewers will change the channel, and scheduled a studio hit for those exact times. It worked tremendously.
So no, the US Open was not great golf. But, a tip of the cap to FOX for letting Americans celebrate our National Tournament by doing some of our favorite things: hating Joe Buck, acting like an expert, and creepily staring at beautiful women.
P.S. Thanks to Colton and the rest of the BUQB crew for letting me come aboard and contribute. This is going to be a lot of fun.