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Stars rejecting new PGA Tour initiative is a huge blow to fans

Stars rejecting new PGA Tour initiative is a huge blow to fans

It's a great way for fans to get a rare insight into the thought process of the top players during a tournament – so why, asks Matt Chivers, are they pouring cold water on it?
 

You may have seen the new initiative that the PGA Tour is trying at the beginning of this season by speaking to players live while they are competing in events.

Max Homa received bundles of praise when he put earphones in and spoke to the CBS studio while playing in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Homa, who went on to win at Torrey Pines for his sixth PGA Tour title, chatted to Trevor Immelman with and gave an insight into his thought process during the third round in San Diego.

Homa even stayed on air when hitting a couple of shots on the 13th hole, providing a fascinating look behind the curtain at what was going through his mind at such a critical stage of the tournament.

Keith Mitchell also participated in the same feature at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and it is likely that one player will take up the reins at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale this week.

But since the conclusion of last week’s event at Pebble Beach, some PGA Tour players have poured cold water on the idea and suggested that an on-course interview is something they would actively avoid.

World No 3 Jon Rahm was the most vocal about it.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said. “I’m definitely not sure about doing it on the weekend.

“It’s an opportunity to do something unique, but if I’m in the lead on Sunday, I can guarantee you I won’t do it.

“I still haven’t decided, but I think I’m going to do it at some point. If I don’t have to hit a shot with the headphone on then I’ll be OK with it.”

Patrick Cantlay added: “It’s probably not something for me, but I think it’s great that those guys who want to do it are able to give those insights while they’re out there playing.

“I don’t know, I’ll see about if I want to do it next year. I haven’t watched it yet, so I might take a look at it, but it’s not too high on my priority list.”

pga tour

Meanwhile, Scottie Scheffler all but ruled out participating when talking on Wednesday at the Phoenix Open, while World No 1 Rory McIlroy also sounded like he’d need convincing – much like the approach to his involvement in the new Netflix series.

This reaction from the big names is a huge blow for the fans.

These players are who they are and their success is what it is because of their steely-eyed focus and complete concentration in pressurised moments. But it’s not like we’re expecting them to stick in the AirPods and talk us through a slippy 10-footer on the 18th at Augusta to win the Masters.

We’re not even asking them to keep them in during shots – that was just an added bonus from Homa and testament to his character both as a golfer and as an entertainer.

We just want another angle to our viewing experience, another way of understanding how the best players in the world think.

The walk-and-talk scheme is still young and we have only been treated to a couple of examples as we approach the biggest tournaments on the schedule.

But I hope that the PGA Tour’s more recognisable players become involved. It is an initiative that brings you closer to the action and it feels like the player is talking directly to you while in the heat of battle.

Just imagine a player hooked up to the broadcast as they head to the 16th tee at Scottsdale…

Have you enjoyed the walk-and-talk features on the PGA Tour so far? Tweet me to let me know!

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