Golf

6 exciting changes are coming to CBS Golf in 2023

Trevor Immelman represents CBS Golf’s biggest change leading up to 2023, when he steps into the management chair following the departure of Nick Faldo.

Getty

It’s a cold Sunday in early December, and the CBS Sports NFL booth is abuzz.

Jim Nantz and Tony Romo — CBS’s ‘A-Team’ — prepare to call the game of the season at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Nantz and Romo have called plenty of big games together, but they’ll ultimately learn that this afternoon’s Chiefs-Bengals game is even better than their wildest regular-season dreams: half a ’22 AFC Championship sequel, and half a ’23 AFC Championship prequel. As the two men prepare to take off, things are quiet and urgent. It’s a huge moment for the CBS team in a game that promises to be a ratings monster.

Soon the producer counts the two men in and the booth falls silent. It’s go-time. Romo and Nantz exchange a few final words and return to the camera.

A few feet away, a familiar face places a headset over his ears. It’s Trevor Immelman.

Immelman, who just months earlier was promoted by CBS’ golf team, technically isn’t supposed to be here The stand is a cramped, busy space. The last thing the stage manager needs is another body in the way. But after a few months of pestering Nantz, the former Masters champion and current golf broadcaster has received an invitation.

Trevor Immelman smiles

‘It’s pinch-me stuff’: How CBS’s Trevor Immelman creates a Presidents Cup ‘Franchise’ … and becomes a

On:

James Colgan



His role for the week is simple: fly on the wall. To absorb as much of what is happening as possible and make it familiar so that when the same experience comes to him it will feel like second nature.

The last part is of significant importance to Immelman, mainly because of the same experience is coming his way in just a few months. From the corner of the broadcast booth, he watches intently as the opening kickoff begins.

Obviously, the best way to prepare for life next to Jim Nantz is to stand fair slightly further away from him.

Immelman is The Big Change of 2023 in golf television, and his tenure begins at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, which runs Wednesday through Saturday for the second straight year. In today’s Hot Mic, we kick off the 2023 CBS Golf season by sharing some of the other changes, including Immelman, you can expect from “The Eye” in the new year.

6 exciting changes are coming to CBS Golf in 2023

1. Trevor Immelman steps into the leadership chair

“This is typical Trevor,” Nantz tells me, recounting the story of Immelman’s visit to the Bengals-Chiefs. “Anyway, he wanted to come and hang out with the NFL team. So in Cincinnati he was in the booth with us, standing off to the side and wearing a headset. Just watching and hearing how Tony and I communicate on the air. It’s just typical Trevor. He’s an exceptionally well-prepared, exceptionally thoughtful guy. He doesn’t miss a thing and I’m ready to ride with him.”

And roll with him, Nantz wants. After years as an analyst in a variety of roles across golf television, Immelman will ascend to the top analyst chair at CBS Golf, becoming – as CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus readily admits – only the fifth man to achieve the distinction since the 1950s. The 2008 Masters champion will replace Nick Faldo, who retired from the network after the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Golf is a proud tradition at CBS. The turnover is unusual. It’s the kind of place people retreat from. These jobs open up about as often as Haley’s Comet comes around. All of this is likely why Immelman found himself in Cincinnati in early December.

“Absolutely. I’m nervous,” Immelman says. “I don’t want to let my teammates down, especially the guy sitting next to me.”

“I’m nervous as hell, honestly,” McManus jokingly agrees with a laugh. “Because I’m the guy who made the decision.”

“There is nothing – nothing – to be nervous about,’ Nantz rejects more seriously. “This is the ultimate tap-in.”

Nantz represents the more serious opinions of those around CBS in voicing his support for Immelman, whose professionalism and preparation have already earned him high marks with golf’s longest-running broadcast team.

Still, there’s only one chance to make a first impression as lead analyst for CBS Golf, and if Immelman plays his cards right, it could very well be load first impression he ever makes.

2. New dynamics at the top

“There is no replacement for Sir Nick,” admits McManus, speaking of this year’s CBS team. But he leaves out a key point: There may not be a need for any replacement.

Faldo’s departure allows CBS to lean on its analysts in a way it hasn’t in years past, when Faldo’s folksy charm carried much of the heavy lifting. The dynamic between Immelman and Nantz will certainly mark a noticeable difference for golf fans, but the return of the rest of the on-air team (especially Frank Nobilo, Ian Baker-Finch, Dottie Pepper, Colt Knost, Amanda Renner and producer Sellers Shy ) must help smooth out the unevenness that occurs when the CBS stand sets a new course.

Nick faldo gives interview

‘I’m not sitting on my a**’: As a pensioner, Nick Faldo is just getting started

On:

James Colgan



3. A larger schedule

The bigestimated ever from a programming perspective.

In 2023, CBS will carry the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time, covering the final three events of the PGA Tour season. The network will also handle designated event coverage from the WM Phoenix Open, Genesis, Memorial, RBC Heritage and more.

In addition to the Tour schedule, CBS will continue its coverage of the Masters, PGA Championship and Scottish Open. In total, the network will cover 23 events, including two major and four countries, in the new year.

“We have 23 events in ’23, and that’s a big deal for us,” says Shy, the CBS producer.

4. Technical improvements

Drones and a “constant leaderboard” were two of CBS producer Sellers Shy’s most well-received changes among golf-watching audiences. Expect to see improvements to both features as well as an increased frequency of “Fly Cam”, “Boat Cam” and Atlas super high-definition camera images used during the broadcast.

5. Softening the “commercial load”

None like commercials during a golf broadcast, at least the people responsible for making them. Shy and McManus both pointed to scoreboard and segment improvements as part of the pair’s efforts to streamline the viewing experience at CBS. This may mean fewer pre-produced packages, or as Sports Business Journal reported, pushing the tournament sponsor’s CEO interview — long a staple of Sunday afternoon coverage — to Saturday.

6. Amplifies the greatest moments

Last year, CBS experimented with a first-of-its-kind mobile set at WM, bringing host Amanda Renner and course analyst Colt Knost to the famed 16th tee box. Back then, the goal was to get Renner to help capture the energy in one of the sport’s best environments.

Then came Sam Ryder’s now famous ace and the raucous celebration that followed, expertly captured by Renner and Knost.

In ’23, Shy said CBS expects to implement a similar strategy at a handful of golf’s biggest “places,” hoping to capitalize on the energy it found on No. 16.

James Colgan

Golf.com editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories to the website and magazine. He writes Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his broadcast experience 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. Before joining GOLF, James was a caddy scholarship recipient (and clever looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be contacted at james.colgan@golf.com.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: