7 Notable Changes Coming to CBS Golf Shows in 2022

Amanda Balionis is the beneficiary of one of CBS’ most futuristic changes in 2022: an augmented reality set.

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Not much has changed about CBS Golf over the past year. The suave tones of Jim Nantz still steer the ship from the 18th tower, where Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch deliver insightful banter close by. On the course, a group of reporters led by Dottie Pepper whisper ideas from inside the ropes, while Amanda Balionis handles pre- and post-tour interviews.

But of course those of us who have watched CBS in the last year pretty much know all has changed, and that’s largely thanks to Sellers Shy.

Golf’s third coordinating producer on CBS had a freshman hurricane in his new gig — an effort at the top of CBS golf coverage that concluded with a show… in the middle of a hurricane. He assumed the throne of golf’s most historic throne in January with a plate full of new ideas and a voracious audience to dig into. adding new graphics technology, introducing a new theme song, and bringing the network’s golf coverage into the 21st century through drones and augmented reality.

His efforts over the season were punctuated at the Memorial Tournament, where Shy reversed course in the final seconds of the show to cover Jon Rahm’s stunning Covid diagnosis, creating an extra half hour of coverage largely from scratch.

In 2022, golf viewers can expect change to continue from CBS — albeit more tamely than in 2021. In Shy’s second year, the network has planned a slew of changes to its coverage. golf, most of which will be visible to viewers during the upcoming Weekly Farmers Insurance Open, the network’s first broadcast of the calendar year.

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James Colgan

1. New Reinforcements

One of the biggest changes to CBS’ product in 2022 can actually be credited to ESPN. In the new year, the PGA Tour made the executive decision to take control of all “below the line” facilities – television towers, mobile camera units, technical facilities, etc. Whereas previously the networks were obliged to book the facilities, under the new agreement, this work will be left to the Tour. The change comes as part of the Tour’s new broadcast rights deal with ESPN+, which has significantly expanded overall coverage offerings.

Important: the technicians of each network will always be responsible for Operating equipment and networks will retain full control over the production of each show. According to CBS Sports President Sean McManus, the decision was made in an effort to streamline week-to-week broadcast setup efforts.

“The idea was to combine resources from all these different streams and have the Tour deliver them,” McManus said. “It seemed like a very efficient and good way forward. However, our production lineup is the same as last year. The technicians who have been golfing with us for so long, they will all come back. It’s just that we won’t book the actual facilities that are used. But you won’t see anything different on air. We’ve worked hand in hand with the PGA Tour to ensure this will be a smooth transition. Gear levels are actually probably going to be bigger than they were in 2021, so fans sitting at home won’t have any idea anything has changed. The product will still be as good as it always was.

2. Drones!

One of Shy’s biggest changes in 2021 was the expanded addition of drones to CBS’ broadcast arsenal. These cameras helped produce some of the best shots of the season (including a moment of laughter with Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship) and play a vital role in broadening the viewer’s perception of each week’s location. According to Shy, drone coverage will be further expanded in 2022 as part of an overall increase in the number of cameras at each event.

2022 should provide plenty of room for another Phil drone weakness.

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3. Toptracer improvements

Regarding the rest technological offers, Shy and co. have worked to improve Toptracer in 2022 by increasing the number of holes with tracer capabilities at each event.

4. A Bolder Consistent Ranking

The hallmark of Shy’s early efforts at the helm of CBS was his establishment of a consistent mini-leaderboard. The bug — which lives translucently in the lower right of the screen — has quickly become one of CBS’s most popular broadcast elements.

In 2022, CBS worked with its graphics department to produce a bolder, more defined look for the mini-leaderboard, in theory making it easier for viewers to follow the action.

5. Charts based on analysis

Professional sport is in the midst of an analytical revolution, as is professional sports television. In an effort to capitalize on this audience, CBS will expand its use of ShotLink data and other advanced statistics throughout its shows, helping to provide broader context behind every shot.

6. Foal Knost!

The biggest golf TV promotion of 2022 belongs to Colt Knost, whose on-course reporting role with CBS is growing into a weekly venture. Knost, a former Tour pro and current host of GOLF’s Subpar podcast, has earned high marks from viewers (and some pros) for his insightful analysis and extensive connections within the professional game.

7. A futuristic new ensemble for Amanda Balionis

Golf fans can bid a tearful farewell to the cart on Amanda Balionis’ 2022 course. It’s been shipped to the metaverse, where it will be replaced by an augmented reality set – a space-age update which opens the door to tons of creative applications. The good news: Players needn’t worry, Balionis will always have a physical board on hand at most events (what Shy calls an “A/B board”) to conduct pre- and post-round interviews.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is associate editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a wide range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his experience broadcasting across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and obviously, his golf game — is still thawing after four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddy scholarship recipient (and crafty looper) on Long Island, where he is from.

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