The 2019 Players Championship was exciting. Many storylines could have played out. Tommy Fleetwood could have broken though on the PGA Tour for the first time in grand fashion. Jim Furyk could have amassed another for the old guard on the PGA Tour. Eddie Pepperell could have gone from not mentioned, or shown, once on Sunday until he got within one of the lead to winning. In the end, it was Rory McIlroy that added more to his hall of fame career. Even with all of those storylines, it was Mike Tirico’s return to broadcast golf.
For the better part of nearly two decades, Mike Tirico was the voice of The Open Championship in the United States. When July came around in the 2000’s-2010’s, you knew The Open Championship would be well represented in the United States because Tirico was on the call. The best trio in the history of golf announcing, Tirico, Nick Faldo, and Paul Azinger, brought insight, poignant commentary, and comedic banter, that no other past, nor present, golf announcing team have touched. This includes the announcers on the European Tour.
When you have an announcing team that work together as well as Tirico, Faldo, and Azinger, one person has to take the lead. That was Tirico. His knowledge of The Open is seemingly limitless. He has forgotten more about The Open than most people will know. The way he is able to work in knowledge to Open broadcasts, without overwhelming the viewer, is a skill very few, if any, announcers, across all sports, have. It is like second nature for Tirico.Embed from Getty Images
Mike Tirico’s on air skills go far beyond announcing live sports. He is also a marvelous interviewer. The return of Vantage Point with Mike Tirico, Tirico’s Golf Channel interview show is the type of content Golf Channel should make more of. While Golf Channel already has one interview show, Feherty, Tirico’s Vantage Point offers a more serious tone, thought it’s not without it’s humor, and a longer discussion of topics than Feherty does. They are a wonderful compliment to each other. When the weekly Feherty episodes are done, Golf Channel should have weekly Vantage Point with Mike Tirico in the can ready to air. Twelve weeks of Feherty, followed by 12 weeks of Vantage Point with Mike Tirico, you got yourself 24 weeks of amazing interviews. That is the type of lineup Golf Channel viewers would eat up.
With The Players come and gone, let’s hope that not too much time will pass before we get to hear the insight of Mike Tirico calling live action, conducting interviews, reading his latests essay… anything. NBC made the right call to have him come in to call The Open Championship in 2016. That needs to continue. That’s should be the starting point. It’s to far and few between hearing, and seeing, one of the best announcers in the history of all sports. Golf Channel, and NBC, get on that.