It’s laborious to say with any readability how Jim Nantz feels about LIV Golf, nevertheless it’s barely simpler to know what he thinks of the league’s broadcast accomplice.

Twice within the final two months, the celebrated golf broadcaster has used CBS’s main championship pulpit to ship a refined jab on the CW, which is in its first yr as LIV Golf’s official broadcaster.

“There he’s proper on the C.W. … the crosswalk,” Nantz mentioned first on the Masters, a tongue-in-cheek remark skilled within the path of then-tournament chief Brooks Koepka.

Nantz was at it once more final week on the PGA Championship in Rochester, delivering one other poke at LIV’s TV accomplice on the heels of stories the community reduce away from LIV’s ultimate spherical in Tulsa simply earlier than the beginning of a playoff.

“Undecided in case you had the prospect to see it,” Nantz mentioned, pausing for dramatic impact. “However he was the winner final week in Tulsa.”

By most goal measures, Nantz’s feedback rank pretty low on the subjectivity index. There are extra critical offenses dedicated each day in golf’s better tour wars than just a few barbs despatched at a fledgling broadcast community. However not everybody sees it that means.

For a separate phase of the viewing viewers — a phase notably seen and vocal on social media — Nantz’s feedback are indicative of a broader effort by CBS to maintain LIV on the sidelines. Of their view CBS is intentionally scrubbing LIV from its broadcasts and holding the league’s gamers off the air so long as potential. It’s all half of a bigger motion, they are saying, to assist their buddies on the PGA Tour in destroying LIV; a motion that goes all the way in which up the chain of command.

Sitting atop that chain of command is CBS Sports activities chairman Sean McManus. So, what does McManus take into consideration these accusations? After a historic PGA Championship broadcast noticed CBS crown Brooks Koepka the first-ever LIV main champion, I requested him.

“We’ll proceed to deal with golfers precisely the identical whether or not they play on the LIV Tour or the PGA Tour,” McManus instructed GOLF point-blank. “I might defy anyone sitting at house to say we coated these golfers any completely different than we coated the PGA Tour golfers.

The best way we talked about Brooks and his accomplishments, getting back from damage, getting back from a place of his profession, in his personal phrases, being over. The best way we praised him, and the way in which we highlighted simply what a tremendous comeback he’s had,” McManus mentioned. “I might defy anyone to say, ‘oh, they match him in slightly bit otherwise as a result of he’s taking part in on the LIV Tour.’”

One explicit point of interest of the LIV protection debate has been Phil Mickelson, who some have steered is being “shadowbanned” by CBS. The allegations first surfaced as Mickelson performed his means into a shocking second-place end on the Masters with out a lot point out from the CBS crew (Nantz later denied any nefarious habits on CBS’s half, citing the weird timing of his cost). However the issues from viewers continued on the PGA, the place some observed Mickelson’s 2021 victory was overlooked of a CBS event retrospective — a perceived slight towards the six-time main champ.

“Kicked me out of our fantasy league too,” Mickelson wrote on Twitter in response to the accusations, a reference to a fantasy soccer league Nantz, Mickelson and fellow LIV golfer Graeme McDowell used to play in collectively. “However that was most likely to even issues out.”

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McManus, who okayed Mickelson’s look on CBS’s protection on the 2020 PGA Championship, noticed his community’s protection of the 2021 PGA Champ in Rochester otherwise.

“If something, we over-covered Phil Mickelson in the course of the two weekend days,” he mentioned. “Phil was by no means actually in competition on Saturday or Sunday, however we confirmed an unlimited quantity of photographs as a result of individuals nonetheless wish to see Phil Mickelson. It was solely two years in the past that he gained the PGA Championship. We confirmed shot after shot after shot of Phil when he was a dozen photographs or extra off the lead. We didn’t say ‘oh, Phil’s a LIV Golfer. We’re not going to point out as a lot of him.’ It doesn’t even enter into our thoughts. Not for one split-second.”

McManus can communicate with authority on protection selections as a result of there are hardly any of them made exterior of his information. In contrast to another high-ranking sports activities media executives, McManus spends the lion’s share of CBS’s massive occasions within the manufacturing truck — a behavior that traces to his personal roots within the business. (McManus’ profession began as a manufacturing assistant at ABC.)

“I really like manufacturing. It’s at all times been my past love. So if I get the prospect, within the smallest potential means, to be concerned within the manufacturing of our main occasions, I actually nonetheless take pleasure in doing that,” he mentioned. “I’m within the truck, not only for golf, however for the NFL, faculty soccer and faculty basketball.”

McManus is often eager to cede the ground to his hand-picked lead golf producer, Sellers Shy. However given his manufacturing background and institutional information, he’s unafraid to make his voice heard when it’s needed. He tries to take action solely hardly ever — one instance is a ‘story of the tape’ phase that aired evaluating Sunday taking part in companions Michael Block and Rory McIlroy — but when he felt a present was missing in objectivity because it pertains to LIV, he’d say so.

“We’re not burying our heads within the sand in any respect,” he mentioned. “We talked about Brooks being on LIV. We didn’t spend loads of time speaking about it as a result of fairly frankly, there’s nothing you’ll be able to say that can advance the storyline of LIV or the PGA Tour. Everyone is aware of the scenario.”

As is the case with a lot referring to LIV, notion shouldn’t be at all times actuality. The suggestion that CBS would kneecap its personal protection in pursuit of serving to its buddies on the PGA Tour runs counter to the community’s personal finest pursuits. Notably contemplating it’s CBS who pays the Tour roughly $350 million yearly in media rights funds — not the opposite means round.

“We talked about it. Jim talked about it. Trevor talked about it,” McManus mentioned. “I’m pleased with the truth that from watching our protection, you’d do not know who was a LIV golfer and who was a PGA Tour golfer. The primary two interviews we did on Sunday have been with Bryson and Brooks. I feel they may have been the one interviews with Amanda. The 2 most outstanding interviews we did at a serious, final I checked, have been on LIV.”

In actuality, the one factor that serves CBS’s personal finest pursuits is to ship monster scores — and in that division, this yr’s broadcast didn’t meet expectations. At 4.517 million common viewers, Koepka’s PGA Championship victory was the least-watched iteration of the occasion within the final 5 years. Given Koepka’s win, CBS execs and LIV followers can agree on one factor: they want extra individuals had been there to see it.

By Editor

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