By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) The only good news about Fox’s coverage of last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay was that it left nothing but room for improvement. The tournament is known for deep rough, and that described the broadcast.
It was the maiden voyage for the network’s 12-year commitment to the event, and it was a disaster of missed replays, invisible shots, disjointed studio commentary and inane post-round interviews. Greg Norman choked again at a major by not saying anything as drama was unfolding, and viewers were left to piece stories and situations together largely by themselves.
To Fox’s credit, it heard the critics and made changes. And this time around, as the U.S. Open started Thursday, Oakmont provides much more forgiving terrain than last year’s moonscape.
Norman is out, and so is the overwhelmed Curt Menefee. The reliable and familiar voices of Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange are in. Holly Sonders is done with the cringe-inducing clubhouse debriefings, sent back to the studio desk. Joe Buck is a pro and will be more comfortable this time around.
Just as golf is a game of repetition and muscle memory, so is the complicated job of bringing it to our televisions. The FOX team shanked its first drive into the trees and now tees it up again.