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New-media golf deal brings together TV pretty boys, ink-stained wretches

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

It truly is a new era in sports media. When the broadcast media teams up with the print boys, you might as well have dogs and cats living together openly.

NBC Sports
NBC Sports and Golf Week recently announced a "golf content and promotional alliance."
NBC Sports

We used to be fierce rivals. Well, not rivals exactly. Sportswriters used to look upon TV guys as irritating younger brothers.

They did little more than get in the way, with their bulky cameras trailing all sorts of wires. Space-wise, one TV guy with his cameraman interviewing Barry Bonds at his locker equaled five sportswriters. I used to love it when they tripped over their wires.

At press conferences they asked stupid questions, usually designed to draw attention to themselves. They came across as overly familiar with the players.

We thought them inferior, superficial beings. Of course, we were usually just jealous because they had more hair and money and better teeth.

There have been periodic defections, like newspaperman Tim Rosaforte, who is all over television now. His ink-stained roots are obvious, though: He's balder than a new-born 'possum.

The Internet has changed all this, of course. The latest merger brings together NBC Sports and Golf Week. The two recently announced a "golf content and promotional alliance" that started this past week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson.

As part of its newly launched golf section, NBCSports.com has Golf Week writers and columnists writing and columnizing for "NBC-produced broadband reports from key professional golf events." They also blog.

It makes a great deal of sense. The Internet combines written content with video, and it's a place where writers and broadcasters can shake hands and do their thing.

Golf Week's weekly Preferred Lies broadband video program will appear on NBCSports.com, and the magazine will provide its own course rankings to "further enhance local network affiliate coverage of golf in their local markets," according to a press release announcing the alliance.

In turn, NBC will provide links for the magazine's Sagarin Performance Rankings for pro, amateur, junior and collegiate golf and show Golf Week's Around Campus and Amateur Summer video programming.

This sort of deal is better for the industry and for golf fans than the alliance between Golf Digest and the PGA Tour, which became partners in 2005 in an "exclusive, multi-year marketing partnership."

The Tour touted the alliance by saying that Golf Digest and its affiliated publications would be the only "consumer golf magazines recognized as official Tour partners."

No matter that the magazine ostensibly covers the PGA Tour. It's sort of like The New York Times teaming up with the White House.

Golf Digest officials were astonished when I asked them at the time of the deal about a potential conflict of interest. Others weren't so sure.

"Guess we won't waste any time trying to get advertising from those good ol' boys in Ponte Vedra," said the publisher of a West Coast golf magazine. He called the partnership insulting but not unexpected, adding, "Hope GD's editors are puckering up for the PGA smoochfest."

Golf media notes

The PGA Tour arrives in Florida this week with the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. The Golf Channel has Thursday and Friday coverage then hands off to NBC. ...

The Golf Channel will also show the European Tour's Johnnie Walker Classic March 1-4 in Thailand with a rebroadcast 6:30-9 p.m. on the 4th. ...

Golf World, Nike and the Golf Coaches Association of America announced a new coaches poll for college teams. Previously, the magazine and the coaches had their own polls. The first Nike-sponsored poll was published Feb. 24 in Golf World. ...

Beginning in May, Golf Scene TV will air weekly on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago, Sundays at 5:30 p.m. It will be hosted by Steve Kashul.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Why?

    Jerry wrote on: Feb 27, 2007

    Why are you idiots writing about the PGA Tour? You are TravelGolfDotDumb, not PGATOURDotCom. Aren't you supposed to be writing about travel golf?


    • RE: Why?

      tim wrote on: Feb 28, 2007

      Jerry, move your eyeballs just a tad.
      You don't see the dozens, hundreds of golf and travel stories here?
      "Idiot" is the most overused word in the modern lexicon, a sign you are a shallow slave of pop culture. Come up with something original, if you want to truly insult.
      Here's one: Jerry, you are a mooncalf.


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