Swing and a Miss by CBS Firing Gary McCord and Peter Kostis

(Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images) /

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus decided to mix up his golf broadcast team in 2020, not renewing the contracts of Gary McCord and Peter Kostis.

Gary McCord, a 33-year veteran with the network, blasted his former boss while Kostis also voiced his displeasure with the decision. To replace these stalwarts, CBS moved quickly to hire Davis Love III this week.

While many have argued that the CBS golf broadcast grew stale, the decision to fire Gary McCord and Kostis shows a lack of critical thinking or introspection about the root issues of the CBS golf broadcast. To put it bluntly, it is a massive swing and a miss.

In a vacuum, relieving these men of their broadcasting duties could be deemed logical. McCord’s shtick had grown tired, especially with David Feherty leaving for NBC in 2016. The 71-year-old would often bumble and cackle through the broadcast, speaking in ludicrous terms that distracted from the actual golf being played. However, his quirky personality was always appreciated, especially contrasted with the somber tone of his colleagues (more on that later).

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Kostis, on the other hand, provided a solid yet unspectacular look at the golf. His breakdowns on the ‘Konica Minalta Swing Vision Camera’ did an excellent job of succulently telling viewers about the golfers swing and why he hit a good/bad shot.

Unlike others on the CBS team, he was not afraid of some controversy, highlighted by his strong criticism of J.B. Holmes’ slow play at the Genesis Open this year. The soon to be 73-year-old rarely moved the needle, though, and he did little to elevate the CBS golf production.

While these two dismissed broadcasters were flawed, McManus merely put a band-aid on a bullet wound. McCord and Kostis had little impact on the core issues with CBS’ golf broadcast; it is a bland, sterilized show that bores both golf fans and casual viewers alike.

The popular podcast at No Laying Up (which I highly advise golf fans listen to) often harp on one of CBS’ key issues; a ridiculous amount of commercials. It often feels like the viewer is watching a three-hour ad instead of golf. The incessant number of commercials – which often feature riveting content such as wealth management and life insurance – takes the fan out of the action and disrupt the flow of the golf.

Similarly, the ads shown during the broadcast are mind-numbing. With the aforementioned ‘Konica Minolta Swing Vision Camera’, along with the ‘Kodak Challenge’, the ‘Pacific Life Summary’ and countless others, fans are treated to countless minutes of non-relevant shots that do little to excite the viewer.

There are dozens of other problems beyond the duo of McCord and Kostis; Nick Faldo is often a rambling buffoon opposite Jim Nantz, the music of the production feels akin to nighttime relaxation therapy, Ian Baker-Finch has the personality of a rock, the leaderboard is never shown on the screen during the action to inform viewers where the players stand (Fox does this in their USGA broadcasts so it cannot be difficult to accomplish), and the entire broadcast team never injects excitement or enthusiasm into the golf being played.

The biggest theme of the broadcast is that it ultimately does not have the viewer in mind. It is quite simple actually; golf fans and general sports fanatics tuning in want to see golf shots. It is unfathomable, then, how CBS does everything in its power to distract from the golf and focus on boring, miscellaneous garbage.

I am a huge fan of the game and yet I often feel like I am ‘powering through’ a broadcast and need to force myself to keep watching. It is difficult to comprehend why I am usually bored watching a CBS broadcast and need to remind myself that there is an exciting final round being played. Aren’t the people on TV supposed to inspire me to continue watching, not the other way around?

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Gary McCord and Peter Kostis are both aging, flawed announcers who were ultimately expendable for the CBS golf broadcast. However, firing them does little to improve the product, and without true wholesale changes, the CBS team will continue to limp forward with a mediocre broadcast that does nothing for the fans of the great game of golf.