Sunday, June 18, 2000

Sports on TV-Radio

NBC doing great job with U.S. Open

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Watching the U.S. Open this weekend on NBC (Channel 5) has been pure pleasure. You get all the golf, all the drama, all the history without the heavy dose of sap CBS serves up with the Masters.

        Lead analyst Johnny Miller tells it likes it is, rather than trying to elevate the tournament to something more than it is.

        About five holes into the tournament, Miller said he thought Tiger Woods would run away with the title.

        “He's in that young part of his prime,” Miller said, “where he thinks he's bullet-proof. I just think he'll break all the scoring records.”

        Through Saturday, Miller's prediction was right on.

        Jim Nantz and Ken Venturi, CBS' top team, wouldn't dare say anything so strong. They constantly tell you how good every player on the tour is and how hard it is to win.

        NBC rightly decided that Woods was the story from the start. He dominated the coverage all day long. And that's how it should be. Woods is usually good for a 50 percent bump in the ratings, so people are tuning in to see him, not Davis Love III and Justin Leonard.

        Another thing refreshing about Miller is he doesn't shy away from criticizing players. The CBS crew acts like every bad shot is an act of God or some terrible misfortune.

        NBC hasn't ignored the rest of the tournament. The network gave a nice tribute to Jack Nicklaus.

        Dan Hicks, in his first year anchoring the coverage, has been excellent. He took over for Dick Enberg, who left for CBS. Jimmy Roberts, NBC's designated interviewer, has done a nice job asking the tough questions.

        Miller didn't shy away from talking about Woods' outburst after he hit a ball into the ocean off the No.18 tee. Woods used three words you can't say on TV in rapid succession.

        “That makes my comments look tame,” Miller said.

        NBC also made the right call to air bonus coverage Saturday morning. Woods had six holes to complete from Friday, and Miguel Angel Jimenez had nine left to play. So it was a key stretch in the tourney.

        U.S. Open coverage from Associated Press

        MARTY OPINES: Marty Brennaman is probably the most opinionated play-by-play announcer in all of baseball. But what Brennaman said after the Reds were swept by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday was strong even by his standards.

        Brennaman basically questioned the character of this Reds team.

        “It's looks like they've been going through the motions in this series,” Brennaman said during his postgame show. “They owe more than that to their fans, their manager and their coaches.”

        Brennaman prefaced the statement by saying some people weren't going to like it and by mentioning the last time he said anything as strong — on the character issue — was after the Tony Perez firing in 1994.

        BENGALS TV: Now that Brad Johansen is officially the Bengals' radio play-by-play man, it opens the television play-by-play job on Channel 12.

        Channel 12 will air the Bengals' preseason games. Look for Paul Keels, the former Bengals radio guy, to get that gig. Anthony Munoz will return as the analyst.

        John Fay covers radio/TV sports for The Enquirer. He can be reached at (513) 768-8445.


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