Top-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm is backing Bryson DeChambeau in singling out the practice of US-based TV networks CBS and NBC Sports in seeking ‘reaction’ footage during the course of PGA Tour events.
The ‘practice’ of on-course TV cameramen focussing on the Tour’s leading golfers long after they have played a shot came to a head during last week’s coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
DeChambeau was early into his third round when after a poor shot from a seventh hole bunker, he slammed a club angrily into the sand shortly after impact, and he ultimately made bogey.
While he described his reaction to the shot as “dumb,” he took issue with the cameraman subsequently following him closely as he approached the green and marked his ball.
“He was literally watching me the whole entire way up after getting out of the bunker, walking up next to the green,” said the American.
“And I just was like, ‘Sir, what is the need to watch me that long?’”
DeChambeau said. “I mean, I understand it’s his job to video me, but at the same point, I think we need to start protecting our players out here compared to showing a potential vulnerability and hurting someone’s image. I just don’t think that’s necessarily the right thing to do.”
In capturing a sixth PGA Tour title, DeChambeau was again asked about the incident during the third round.
“I’m not going to comment anymore on the stuff that happened yesterday other than I respect everybody and I think people took it the wrong way and I’m sorry that they did so”, he said.
“My job and my idea is never to devise anyone — not create any divisive nature, I just want to provide the best entertainment out here. I just felt like a minute long for videoing me was kind of a little weird, but we talked it out and it was all great and no issues, no issues whatsoever.
“So, appreciate what they do, appreciate everybody that works hard out here to provide great entertainment”.
Rahm’s Spanish demeanour has seen the now World No.2 also lose his cool and he admits he’s an easy target for the CBS cameras.
“You’re talking to a guy who’s easy to get a reaction from,” said the double Irish Open winning Rahm ahead of this week’s Workday Charity Open.
“Yeah, I mean, they have followed me to get that reaction. I’ve spoken to some directors before, and what they answer is that they want to show the public the frustration we go through, which is true. I don’t think they realize how stressful this can be sometimes.
“The only time where I have a problem sometimes with PGA Tour Live is when the camera movement — so let’s say I hit a shot and the camera is on me for a little longer, and let’s say next is some other player to go, sometimes they stay on me a little too long and then they rush to the next player and you can see them from your peripheral and you have to stop and restart your routine, right.
“It’s happened multiple times. Or you’re hitting a shot and they get your line on the putting or chipping, and that’s what I have an issue with.
“When you’re disrupting play, that just shouldn’t happen. You’re not going to get cameras — the above camera on football will be in the way when Tom Brady is throwing a pass, possibly hit the ball, interrupts a game or things like that.
“So, I know we’re professionals and we should be focused, but when you start seeing people run close and they’re trying to set up the cameras, that’s the only time I have an issue.
“But then them trying to follow, as well, I mean, it’s PGA Tour Live and you’ve been chosen to be one of the feature groups and people are going to want to see you, right. And I know I’m saying this, and I know why you’re asking this question, but you can’t control what you feel and your emotions but you can control your actions. If you’re going to get made like I get mad, just assume you’re going to get a little bit of criticism, and that’s it. If not, maybe just not do it. It’s the only way I can say.
“And I know why you’re asking this, and I am one of those who’s in that situation, but as an athlete that’s all I can say. The only problem, like I’ve said, that I’ve had is when the disrupt play a little bit, and that shouldn’t happen.
“In professional golf we shouldn’t be waiting for cameras to be in place. But other times if they’re not going to have to go to the next player and they want to try to catch me saying something or my face after a three-putt or a bogey or a bad shot, well, I mean, if you’ve watched golf the last year you know what my reaction is going to be, but yeah, I understand why they do it.”
Both Rahm and DeChambeau have a strong argument for the Tour to address the on-course actions of CBS and NBC Sports.