An embarrassing mistake served as a symbol for another subpar U.S. Open telecast for Fox this year.
As tournament winner Brooks Koepka finished off his four-stroke victory, he embraced his girlfriend, identified by Fox announcer Joe Buck as Becky Edwards, a professional soccer player who went to Florida State.
But the woman Koepka embraced turned out to be his new girlfriend, actress Jena Sims.
It took an awkward two and a half minutes before Buck’s colleague Brad Faxon corrected the error, and as a result, the moment went viral.
Buck almost certainly doesn’t deserve any grief for that mistake, which, while humorous, was far from an unforgivable error. The goof likely falls on a production assistant who probably used Wikipedia as a source. But overall, Buck is far from blameless in what is a dramatically inferior golf broadcast than those presented by Fox’s rivals, CBS and NBC.
Far be it for us to engage in needless Joe Buck-bashing. There’s far too much of it on the Internet, it our opinion. We like Buck, and, in fact, praised him after what we considered to be a superb performance calling the Cubs’ Game 7 World Series triumph — the biggest game he’ll ever call.
But over three U.S. Opens, he’s proved to be a bad fit for golf. He doesn’t have the gravitas of his peers, CBS’s Jim Nantz and NBC’s Dan Hicks. He calls much of the tournament as if it’s the fifth inning of a June MLB Game of the week. He was obviously saddled with an anticlimactic finish, with Koepka winning by four strokes, and that didn’t help matters. But over three years, Buck just hasn’t been able make the U.S. Open sound like the second biggest golf tournament in the world.
Fox would also do well to ditch their moody dad rock bumper music in favor of the classical arrangements which CBS and NBC stick to for a reason. The music chosen by Fox sounded exactly like what they play during a sixth inning pitching change, and it made the U.S. Open feel precisely as consequential.
The telecast is not without its positives. Technically, their ShotTracer is an impressive tool. But the production staff relies on it far too much at the expense of showing actual tee shots. We also like the work of Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon in the 18th tower. But we concur with the assessment of GolfWeek, that way too much is put on the two analysts.
Golf fans are stuck with Fox’s inferior presentation for at least the next nine years. Some critics are preaching patience, but after three tries at Open broadcasting we’ve lost ours. Fox’s broadcast is what it is, at this point — a bogey.
Watch above, via Fox.
[featured image via screengrab]
Joe DePaolo is a Senior Writer and the Sports Editor for Mediaite. Follow him on Twitter @joe_depaolo.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.