What is more timely to post at this point in the weekend:
== At the end of last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Wash., USA Today put together a list of the “19 worst things” about Fox’s coverage.
Take your pick. Some were nit-picking. Other things were quite lacking.
Among Golf Digest’s nine reasons why we “should be optimistic that Fox’s U.S. Open coverage will be better at Oakmont” this weekend, there are the obvious changes in the on-air talent: Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange are in analyzing, and Greg Norman isn’t.
Plus, there’s one more year of experience with Joe Buck at the control tower.
That could be the biggest game changer.
“Going into last year’s U.S. Open and coming out of last year’s U.S. Open, I’ve never been more proud of an event we’ve covered at Fox, period,” Buck said in a conference call last week. “I refuse to apologize for 2015. That’s ridiculous. The critics who were unkind, that’s not a newsflash, that’s kind of the way of the world. When you start, you’ve got to earn your position and where I failed most of the time last year was injecting the heart and soul of what these guys are trying to do.
“I was completely caught up managing the scoreboard and back to the fairway and back to the tee and back to the green — there’s a lot of moving parts in golf and you make the mistake of thinking going in it’ll be slow, but it’s the opposite when you finally sit in that chair and don’t know what it’s like. Prior to 2015, I had no idea what it took. That’s where I’ll grow at this event is taking a step back and knowing I have the mechanics down as much as I can and inject more of the flavor of what’s going on in the players’ heads and hearing that from Paul and Curtis and Brad (Faxon).
“So if you’re begging for an apology for 2015, I’ll never do that. It was a great high-wire act and I’m glad we made it. It could have fallen apart but we had the drama all the way down the stretch. I know whatever we did in 2015 will be markedly better in 2016.”
And then he said a few more caustic things with a Barstool Sports podcast.
Fox’s coverage begins Thursday and Friday on Fox Sports 1 at 7 a.m. through 2 p.m., when Fox Channel 11 picks it up from 2-to-5 p.m. Fox Channel 11 has the third round Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the final round Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If a playoff is needed — that’s a full 18 holes — Fox Channel 11 has it Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Aside from Buck, Azinger and Faxon in the booth and Strange on the ground, Fox employs Steve Flesch, Scott McCarron, Juli Inkster, Shane Bacon, Ken Brown, Bob Ford, Jaime Diaz, David Fay, Gil Hanse and Holly Sonders as part of their broadcast crew.
== For those interested in the virtual reality angle of the U.S. Open — which is not like 3D of the past — the Associated Press has a view of it.
As part of Fox’s five-year deal with NextVR, some Darth Vadar-looking cameras will be positioned at Oakmont at the ninth, 17th and 18th holes, with roving capability at the neighboring Nos. 10 and 12. There will also be pre-packaged video on demand, including footage of players on the practice range each morning, a narrated history of Oakmont, two-minute “golf tips” and features on each hole. The coverage is available through the NextVR app for Samsung Gear VR owners.