Chris Berman on podcast: ‘I’m on the 16th hole of my career’; Trying to keep open mind on his U.S. Open work

I have made a vow to an ESPN friend that I am going to try to keep an open mind about Chris Berman working yet another U.S. Open. (Sorry, touch of sarcasm there).

Previously, I have complained that Berman’s style, and shtick, is out of place for one of golf’s biggest events. Home Run Derby, yes. U.S. Open, no.

I know I am not alone here among seasoned golf viewers.

Perhaps, though, I have been a bit too harsh. Maybe I need to lighten up when it comes to “Boomer?”

Clearly, Berman has a passion for the event, as evidenced by an interview he did for ESPN’s Front and Center podcast.

This will be Berman’s 28th Open for ESPN; his first was 1986. During the podcast, the 58-year old said, “I’m on the 16th hole of my career.”

I’m not sure about the “16th hole” statement. Given the longevity of TV folks these days, I can see Berman working into his 70s. It’s more likely that he will come to 18 and decide to play another 9.

Berman did say he wants to work the U.S. Open until the day he does hang up the microphone. And clearly ESPN will let him.

From the podcast:

“It is truly an Open. You’ve gotta be great but if you are a one-handicap golfer, you can step up and try to make it. That’s a big part of it. . . The second part of it is it’s played in a different place every year and often an historical place. Merion, for example this year, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan — there are plaques for both of them. Well, that’s golf.”

Berman told a great story about his interaction with Payne Stewart during the 1999 Open he won at Pinehurst. He also discussed his own personal golf highlight: Making a birdie on 18 at Pebble Beach to make the cut at the AT&T Pro-Am. Bill Murray was among the players in his foursome.

What struck me about the podcast was Berman’s tone. It was much more restrained and understated compared to the high-volume guy we see on TV.

Golf isn’t football, and if he incorporated more of that tone into his U.S. Open telecasts, the critics might lay off a bit.

Most people, though, already have made up their minds about Berman and the Open. I would suggest he stay away from Twitter for a couple of days.

As for me? Well, I made a promise. Let’s see if I can keep it.

As always, let me know what you think.






4 thoughts on “Chris Berman on podcast: ‘I’m on the 16th hole of my career’; Trying to keep open mind on his U.S. Open work

  1. I’m 60 and have loved Berman’s NFL work especially with Tom Jackson since 1986. Of all NFL pre-game and post-game shows, I’ll take Chris Berman over Fox, CBS, and even NBC. Having said this, Berman doing golf is just not a good fit, nor has it ever been. Either is his play-by-play of baseball. His continued use of nicknames for athletes is awful. In my opinion, Mike Tirico is the number one lead announcer on Golf. I’ll take Andy North as second best analyst, behind Johnny Miller. Tirico is better at golf than his MNF play-by-play. Placing Berman on majors is just plain wrong. I will not be watching.

  2. I have it from a an exceedingly reliable source that for decades now, Boom has had two “love of the game” riders in his contract. 1) To do SportsCenters following the NFL season, and 2) To cover the U.S. Open.

    I can tell you he looooved doing the hockey highlights – especially with Tom Mees. He also spoke reverently about the USGA Open. I fully recognize “reverence” is not the first descriptor when most consider how he handles the broadcasts. Yet, the man genuinely loves the event for the reasons it is sacrosanct to golf mavens.

    He has most definitely dialed it back form years ago, as well. Maybe it’s because he is sick about what the Mouse did to Howie Schwab.

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