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Truth & rumours

Second best option?

From Friday's Globe and Mail

The Presidents Cup is the most important golf tournament to be played in this country, yet Canadian viewers will not be able to watch a domestic telecast of the event.

TSN is picking up the TNT and NBC productions, despite Mike Weir's participation in the U.S. team versus non-European team match-play competition.

The wrong decision?

Probably not. TSN's says it would have cost about $1-million to produce coverage of the four-day event. And on Saturday and Sunday, its telecasts would have been competing for viewers with NBC and its lineup of star commentators.

What's more, the PGA prefers not to have two sets of reporters and camera crews fighting for space on the course.

Still, Bobby Clampett's opening remarks on the TNT telecast yesterday illustrated the downside of an analyst outside this country commenting on Canada.

He said golf exploded here after Weir's 2003 Masters win. Golf has been a huge participation sport in Canada for years. He referred to Weir as a kid. He's 37 years old. And he made note of Weir's immense popularity. Our sense is, after four mediocre post-Masters seasons, his popularity has declined.

That said, yesterday's telecast was fine. It caught the mood at Royal Montreal Golf Club, which was clearly tense. The pictures were compelling and, of course, there was no shortage of stars on whom to focus. The commentary was fair.

TSN will provide 27 hours' coverage (HDTV), today noon to 6 p.m. EDT; Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Rod Black and Bob Weeks also are onsite for commentary.

Seen elsewhere

In the hockey world, the Steve Downie cheap shot on Dean McAmmond is seen as just another in a long line of unfortunate incidents.

Former TSN hockey announcer Paul Romanuk, who has been living in London for the past two years, offers this insight into how violence in hockey is viewed elsewhere.

In advance of the Anaheim Ducks-Los Angeles Kings doubleheader in London this weekend, the BBC interviewed Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who was asked about fighting.

"Burkie took the typical North American position," Romanuk said. "You know, 'I'm not going to apologize for it. Our game's rough, we need fighting to police the sport,' and all that kind of thing.

"As a hockey fan and Canadian ex-pat, I'm watching it and thinking, your average Brit, never mind European, is going to say, 'What a bunch of Neanderthals.'

"Burkie tried to defend it by saying, 'Well we get just as upset by the diving and histrionics in soccer,' which is true and a good point. But they really are apples and oranges."

Romanuk, whose wife Kari is a top executive with Coca-Cola in London, has been working in sports media there, doing play-by-play for Eurosport, a satellite channel, and editing a magazine.

He will call the NHL Network telecast of Ducks-Kings on Sunday with former long-time TSN partner Gary Green. "I might get a little emotional," Romanuk said.

Hockey Night in Canada will begin its season Saturday with the first Ducks-Kings game. Jim Hughson and Greg Millen will do the play-by-play. Host Ron MacLean will be in the studio in Toronto with commentators Craig Simpson and Cassie Campbell.

Nessy on ice

TSN's Pierre McGuire features his "monster" player during hockey telecasts. Network colleague Glenn Healy plans to do a "Loch Ness Monster" spot for the telecasts that he works on.

"Just like the Loch Ness Monster, he's the player you've heard of, but, in a game, you've never seen. With bagpipes playing in the background, we'll show a shift of a guy having a dog of a game."

Cherry family tree

The Don Cherry franchise is expanding beyond sports. Cherry has been in Britain this week shooting Who Do You Think You Are?, a new CBC Television show about tracing a person's genealogy.

Cherry, along with his Hockey Night in Canada partner Ron MacLean, will join HNIC Radio's launch on Sirius (channel 122) on Monday, along with co-hosts Jeff Marek and Kelly Hrudey.

  • The CFL has reached a deal to air highlights on Joost, a Dublin-based international broadband TV service. The league says it is the first in the world to be carried in-season on Joost.
  • Score Golf Magazine has posted a special online Presidents Cup edition available at SCOREGolf.com.
  • Joe Theismann and ESPN have reached a contract settlement. The network dropped Theismann from Monday Night Football but refused to fire him because it would have required a full buyout. Theismann refused to quit and complained publicly about the demotion.

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