Scott Van Pelt had a hilarious way to describe golf commentary
There’s been plenty of talk in recent weeks about golf broadcasts. The possibility of mic’ing up players stirred up plenty of back-and-forth about the value of announcers. But one former Golf Channel personality had a particularly fun take on the entire art of golf broadcasting.
Scott Van Pelt, host of ESPN’s midnight SportsCenter, joined Ryen Russillo’s Ringer podcast last week to discuss a little bit of everything. But in one segment, Russillo pushed Van Pelt to name another sports media personality he’d trade careers with. When Russillo suggested Joe Buck, Van Pelt pushed back because he doesn’t consider himself a broadcaster.
“I don’t call games!”
Russillo was incredulous. “You’ve never called a game?”
“Never! I mean, I’ve done golf. Anyone can do golf. ‘Let’s go to 16…'”
Russillo started laughing. “Give me the 16th right now.”
Van Pelt went into his announcer voice. “‘Alright, Bryson DeChambeau, he’s enormous, he’s eating seven protein shakes a day, he just hit a drive 380. Looks like he’s got a wedge …’ This is where your producer’s in your ear saying, ‘lay out,’ because he’s talking to his caddie. So I’m not talking. Clubs rattle … ‘that’s nice.’ To 12 …”
It’s interesting hearing Van Pelt echo the sentiments of golf fans all over social media, who increasingly excoriate any announcer who speaks up during a player-caddie conversation.
Russillo wanted more. “Let’s make it harder. Give me — he and his caddie are in a disagreement about which club. How far out are they?
Van Pelt stepped up to the challenge. “‘Looks like DeChambeau — they’re probably, I think they’re 160, that’s probably like a wedge for DeChambeau now, who’s enormous. Looks like his caddie wants him to use the 9. Ooh, he’s got a knife! Holy sh—!’“
All fun and games. But Van Pelt concluded the segment with further insight into the job. Last week, Brooks Koepka said that rather than making golfers wear mics, announcers “should just shut up and listen.” Van Pelt worded it differently but seemed to echo Koepka’s point.
“No, I’m not kidding,” he said. “Most of what they tell you with golf — first of all, it takes a long time, it’s happening very slowly, and the less you say, the more the people in the truck like it. So just say very little, if something funny pops up say that, but mostly just get the score right. Doing golf’s easy.”
Especially easy, Van Pelt concluded, when compared with other announcing gigs.
“I’ve never done a game and I’ve never really wanted to because I think it would be hard as hell.”
You can listen to the complete podcast interview below (the exchange happens around the 35:30 mark).