By Ken MacLeod
Will this be the year golf fans in Tulsa are treated to a truly exciting final round in a major championship, one in which six or seven of the top players plus an unlikely interloper or two are coming down the stretch on Sunday with a chance to win.
History would say someone is going to grasp the tournament by the throat early and shake it until it’s limp. It happened with Ray Floyd’s first-round 63 in 1982 and Tiger Woods’ second-round 63 in 2007. Nick Price dominated the 1994 PGA Championship from the first round on, as did Tom Lehman in the 1996 Tour Championship.
There has been some late drama, but often players making bogeys late to make things interesting. Or in the case of the 2001 U.S. Open, three players missing short putts on the 18th hole to force a Monday playoff won by Retief Goosen over Mark Brooks.
The staggering stat brought up by Jim Nantz, with credit to Southern Hills historian Clyde Crisman, on CBS’s pre PGA Championship press conference Wednesday:
“They’ve had seven majors, two Tour Championships and one Senior PGA, so ten events. The leader after the first round has won eight times. The leader after 36 holes is 10-for-10. I mean, that’s jaw dropping,” Nantz said. “Or at least they had a lead position after 36 holes. I’ve never heard of anything like that in my life.
“We’re going to crown a champion folks, on Friday night,” Nantz said, dropping into his announcer voice and laughing. But like Nick said, it’s a new course. Pretty amazing stat.”
Nick Faldo said he would bet that the scenario would change this year, then reconsidered.
“Unless Scottie Scheffler is leading by six, oh boy.”
“You better go out and make hay early, Nantz concluded. “There’s a history for it there.”
Hopefully Nantz, Faldo and the rest of the CBS television crew will have an exciting stretch drive to call in 2022. They certainly did in 2021, with Phil Mickelson winning at Kiawah Island, and the PGA Championship has been arguably the most exciting major championship in recent years, thanks largely to the set-up genius of championships director Kerry Haigh.
Nantz called last year’s PGA “one of the greatest stories I’ve ever had a chance to tell in 37 years of broadcasting . . . But the year before that is was Collin Morikawa driving a green on the 70th hole of a championship, and it goes on and on. The PGA is on a fantastic run. I don’t have any doubt in my mind we are going to have one that’s special and memorable.”
As to whether Mickelson will be in Tulsa to defend that amazing championship, Nantz said he had been in contact with Mickelson but would keep those conversations private. He and Faldo said they hope he would play, but would understand if the stress of his current situation precludes that.
“Totally a personal decision for Phil,” Nantz said. “I’m not going to make any public advisements here, but he will be back. Sometimes we get caught up in the storm of the story and we think it’s forever. It won’t be forever. His age is a factor in how much he’ll be able to compete at a high level, but that’s what they said a year ago going into Kiwah. So he’ll be back, he’ll play, he’s got a ton of fans out there. This is a forgiving nation and there’s a million exaples of people finding their way back to being on top again.”
Analyst Colt Knost said if someone does dominate the event, it’s likely to be Scheffler, noting that he fired a 61 at Royal Oaks in Dallas last week along with the 64 he shot in a Thursday practice round at Southern Hills.
“Him saying that it’s one of his favorite courses has to be terrifying for the rest of the field,” Knost said. “His game is in incredible form. I think Southern Hills reminds him a lot of Royal Oaks. It’s tree lined with some doglegs, so not a big change for hm going up there. . . I expect him to be a factor next week.”
Faldo, who first competed at Southern Hills in the 1982 PGA Championship as a rookie, said he was unprepared for the heat. He shot a first-round 67 and followed with rounds of 70-73-72 and tied for 14th with Curtis Strange. He finished tied for fourth in the 1994 PGA Championship, tied for 13th in the 1995 Tour Championship, 24th at 11-over in the 1996 Tour Championship and made the cut but finished well back in the 2001 U.S. Open. He thinks the changes made by Gil Hanse in the 2019 restoration will make for a significantly different course than the one he battled.
“I remember the heat,” Faldo said. “It was the first time I had experienced anything like that . . . 100 percent humidity. You were soaked and then went into the locker room and it was like NAS Station Iceland. It was freezing and it got to me. So rookie experience. Probably nothing like that now, fortunately But I remember it almost made me ill by the weekend. So that slowed me down, simple as that.”
Two former Oklahoma State Cowboys will be part of the coverage. PGA Tour pro and Southern Hills member Bo Van Pelt will make his CBS debut on PGA Championship Clubhouse Report. Scott Verplank of Edmond is part of the featured groups coverage on ESPN Plus. He will be assigned to Feature Group A each day along with George Savarikas and Ned Michaels.
For those who plan to watch a lot of television next week, here what you’ll see on CBS. ESPN and Golf Channel will have lots of additional coverage.
- For the 39thtime, and 32ndconsecutive year, CBS Sports is set to broadcast the PGA Championship. Nantz, CBS Sports golf anchor, will host the network’s coverage from the 18th tower, along with lead analyst Sir Nick Faldo. Ian Baker-Finch, Frank Nobilo and Trevor Immelman serve as hole announcers and analysts, with lead on-course reporter Dottie Pepper, along with additional on-course reporters Mark Immelman and Colt Knost. Amanda Renner will handle interviews.
- This marks the third year of the 11-year deal with the PGA of America, CBS Sports and ESPN. The networks will once again provide live, wire-to-wire coverage of the PGA Championship Thursday through Sunday, with CBS Sports leading overall production efforts.
- Coverage will be enhanced by a vast array of innovative technology, microphones and cameras helping viewers better contextualize, watch and hear the on-course action unfolding at the 104thPGA Championship. CBS Sports will deploy roughly 140 cameras, 372 record channels of EVS on the ground in Tulsa and an additional 90 back in locations across the country, and almost 150 microphones throughout the course to capture all the sights and sounds.
The additional technological enhancements include:
- Live Drone Coverage– CBS will have multiple, state-of-the-art drones as a live camera source for coverage at Southern Hills, providing unique and beautiful views during live action.
- Putting Analysis– Putting grids and topography shading will show what the golfers see as they line up their putt, providing viewers a different look at the greens and undulations that come into play.
- Wind Analysis – Numerous anemometers measuring wind speed, direction and daily wind trends will be strategically placed around the course to capture the wind statistics on each hole and how wind might influence shot choices.
- Robotic Camera Bunkers – Bunker cameras will return as CBS will deploy two robotic bunker cameras on the 17thhole to provide a detailed view of the lie and contact as players look to save themselves from the sand.
- Fly Cam – CBS’ Fly Cam will have coverage on the practice range, 18thgreen and surrounding holes with two Fly Cam systems. The cameras stretch nearly 1,200 feet and oscillate up and down to provide a fresh perspective and angle of the action.
- EyeVision 2.0 – On the 16th hole tee box, 20 “X-Mo” cameras will be stitched together to provide a 270-degree view of the players swings in slow motion, showcasing the full movement of each swing.
- Atlas Camera – CBS will again utilize its Atlas Camera – with three brand new cameras shooting for a shallow, depth-of-field camera perspective – to cover players walking the course with a cinematic feel.
- Toptracer – CBS will use Toptracer broadcast technology on all 18
• Virtual Set – Amanda Renner will conduct interviews from her virtual set, equipped with an interactive monitor that showcases graphics and dynamic holes while players can breakdown their highlights and round.
- SwingVision – CBS returns its Emmy Award-winning technical innovation, SwingVision. Featuring super-slow mo action to break down players’ swings and demonstrate shots from various parts of the course, there will be two SwingVisions deployed to capture twice as many dramatic replays of shots.
CBS Sports Network’s Week-Long PGA Championship Programming
CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour television home of CBS Sports, will have extensive shoulder programming surrounding the 104th PGA Championship, including the addition of golf personalities Roger Steele and Hally Leadbetter to the network’s PGA Championship On the Range and PGA Championship Clubhouse Report shows for all four days. PGA TOUR pro and Southern Hills member Bo Van Pelt also makes his debut on PGA Championship Clubhouse Report.
Full programming details are below:
PGA Championship On the Range: Airs live from the Tournament Practice Range on Thursday and Friday, May 19-20 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT) featuring player interviews, analysis and a preview of the day’s action. Luke Elvy hosts along with Brian Crowell, Steele, Michael Breed and Leadbetter.
PGA Championship Clubhouse Report: CBS Sports Network airs the show live after the conclusion of play with highlights, analysis and player interviews on all four tournament days, beginning Thursday, May 20 (8-9 p.m. CDT). Kelly Tilghman hosts, along with Steele, Crowell, Leadbetter and Van Pelt.
- Four Sides of The Story – Rich and Famous:Debuting on Monday, May 16(5:30 PM, CT, the latest installment of CBS Sports’ documentary franchise looks back at Rich Beem’s improbable PGA Championship victory in 2002 from four different angles – Beem’s caddie (Bill Heim), his wife (Sara Beem), Justin Leonard, who played with Beem in the final group on Sunday, and Beem himself.
Course Record with Michael Breed: The weekly show, with host Breed and co-host Greg DuCharme, tees off PGA Championship week on Monday, May 16 (6 p.m. CT) and wraps up the tournament on Monday, May 23 (5:30 PM, CT), breaking down all the angles and storylines from Southern Hills Country Club.
PGA Championship Replay: CBS Sports Network’s PGA Championship programming includes encore replays of CBS Sports’ third and final-round broadcasts of the 2022 Tournament.
PGA Championship Archives: The Network airs PGA Championship Archives and other programming in the week leading up to the 104th PGA Championship, looking back at the most memorable moments in the history of the event.
Additionally, the CBS Television Network will broadcast, with Paramount+ streaming live, two shows ahead of live PGA Championship coverage.
On Saturday, May 14 (Noon, CT), the network will air a PGA Championship Preview Show getting viewers ready for the upcoming week at Southern Hills, with Renner hosting, alongside Van Pelt, Steele, Breed and Leadbetter. The next week, leading into live coverage on Saturday, May 21 (11:30 a.m. to Noon CT), CBS Sports will air a special FALDO FORMULA with Sir Nick Faldo.
Additional content throughout the week and weekend will be available on the CBS Sports HQ streaming sports news network, CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports app and The First Cut Podcast, as well as on CBS Sports social handles.
Television: Live Broadcasts
Thursday, May 19
Live first round coverage on ESPN+ from 7a.m. – 1 p.m. CDT; live coverage on ESPN from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. CDT
Friday, May 20
Live second round coverage – same schedule as first round
Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22
Live on ESPN+ 7-9 a.m. CDT both days. ESPN 9 a.m. to Noon both days. CBS coverage Noon to 6 p.m. both days. Live stream on Paramount + of third and final rounds.
Featured Groups and Featured Holes coverage on ESPN+ all day for all four days of the tournament