Each year, everyone from Scott Van Pelt to the network’s PR brigade tell me about Berman’s passion for the event and his intense preparation.
Andy Hall at ESPN’s Front Row did a post with Berman talking about his memories of covering 29 U.S. Opens.
I don’t doubt Berman’s sincerity for a second. Yet when he signs off for the final time this afternoon, the majority of golf fans will applaud, and not in a good way.
I don’t want to pile on, but I would be remiss if I didn’t note this day.
Quite simply, Berman and his schtick are an ill-fit for golf. The gravelly-voice, the nicknames, forced phrases, and everything else are incredibly irritating for golf viewers who were weaned on the elegant style of Jim McKay.
I always thought it is telling that Berman is not part of ESPN’s coverage of the Masters. If he loves the U.S. Open and golf as he says, you would think he would like to spend a week in April hanging around Augusta National every year, right?
While nobody will confirm it, I am certain the lords of Augusta, who closely monitor the purity of the Masters telecasts, have told ESPN to keep Berman off of its announce team for the tournament. They don’t want to hear references like Jack “Saint” Nicklaus, or Ben “Hogan’s Heroes.”
As usual, Twitter is exploding with golf viewers weighing in on Berman. And as usual, it isn’t pretty.