Ranking the 10 Best Broadcasters in Golf
The great thing about televised golf is that viewers get to see and hear a variety of opinions and viewpoints from professional broadcasters who know more about the game than those tuning in from their living rooms.
Sometimes we agree with those opinions, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we like those delivering the opinions, sometimes we don’t. There are some people who won’t watch a particular tournament because of who is showing the event on television.
It’s all very subjective, of course. You say tomato, I say tomatoe.
Here’s my list of the top 10 broadcasters in professional golf.
There are some voices in sports broadcasting that are unmistakable, and Jim Nantz has the best of those. There’s no one in the business more professional, more thorough and more theatrical than Nantz.
His sweet, syrupy style fits perfectly with the cathedral-like setting at Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters.
His presence, however, is not limited to the Masters.
Nantz does the majority of CBS’ golf coverage and the level of his work is always top notch.
Like his counterpart at CBS, Dan Hicks is the consummate professional in his lead role at NBC.
He sets the stage as well as anyone in the game and does a great job of handling the reins on a sometimes unruly cast of characters on the telecast.
The most unruly of those, Johnny Miller, shares the booth with Hicks and keeps the lead guy on his toes at all times.
Rich Lerner performs a variety of duties on Golf Channel's broadcasts but really shines delivering what have become his signature essays for PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events.
He’s a great storyteller with a wonderful voice tone and smoothness. But he also does play-by-play on some events, and he is the show host on some events and conducts player interviews.
He’s received several awards over the years and while he’s not in the class of Nantz or Hicks, he’s very good and very enjoyable.
There never has been and probably never will be a golf broadcaster like David Feherty.
His off-the-wall, irreverent comical way of telling viewers what’s happening on the golf course and between the ears of the players have never been done before.
His Irish accent and his easy way of talking about difficult situations is his trademark.
His ability to make viewers laugh and shake their heads are his trademark.
David Feherty and Gary McCord should take their act on the road.
As members of the CBS golf coverage team, Feherty patrols the fairways while McCord views things from a totally different perspective in the TV tower.
McCord is always informative, but you can count on him providing at least one bit of minutia that only a mind like his could come up with.
The grizzled veteran of this esteemed list, Roger Maltbie knows his way around golf courses and knows how players should get their way around golf courses.
Golf fans and television viewers appreciate Maltbie for something else, too.
He’s one of the few colleagues of Johnny Miller who will call him out on some of the outrageous stuff that comes out of his mouth.
Others will give vocal justification to Miller or remain silent and let the statement ride, but you can count on Maltbie standing up.
Andy North won three times on the PGA Tour in the 1970s and 1980s—two of those being the 1978 and 1985 U.S. Open.
Those give him instant credibility and with his laid-back and light delivery, he’s the kind of guy you look forward to hearing from on a golf telecast.
He doesn’t beat you into submission with all he knows, but when he says something, you can believe it.
Johnny Miller is golf’s mouth that roared.
Filtering is a concept Miller is unfamiliar with, and it’s obvious he relishes stepping out onto the end of the limb and saying what he thinks.
Golf fans really like him or really dislike him. It’s obvious NBC likes him as well because he’s making a lot of money giving the best players in the world occasional jabs—some gentle and some harsh.
CBS has Nick Faldo in the lead analyst chair, NBC has Miller. NBC wins.
Here’s a guy who does a great job for Golf Channel, regardless of whether he’s in studio, doing pre or post-round analysis on site or in the TV on 18.
It kind of makes you wonder why he’s not at CBS or NBC.
But for the viewer, it’s a great thing. We see more of him on Golf Channel than we most likely would on one of the major networks.
He’s either one of the great researchers in TV or has a crack staff working for him based on the incisive stats he comes up with.
Frank Nobilo gets your attention right away with that New Zealand accent, but there’s much more substance to this guy than the voice.
He won 15 tournaments around the world during his playing career in the 1990s, including strong finishes in all four major championships.
He’s been with the Golf Channel since 2003 and has gained a strong reputation for being able to provide solid insight in a variety of situations.
He’s usually the guy the Golf Channel sends out before a major championship to provide looks around the course and to show viewers where the trouble spots are.