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Smylie Kaufman finds unique style in on-course commentator debut at PGA Championship

Golfer Smylie Kaufman made his “debut as an on-course commentator for ESPN+” at the PGA Championship, and during the event his "brand of commentary began to take shape,” according to Brendan Quinn of THE ATHLETIC. Kaufman "never imagined broadcasting." And when he was "presented with the possibility of doing some in-booth PGA Tour Live work,” it “didn’t interest him.” It felt “too far removed from the action." But then came a pitch to “do some on-course work.” Kaufman had never previously "done live TV work.” But throughout the PGA Championship, he gained an understanding of when to “allow on-course mics to pick up player-caddie conversations versus when to jump in," and to be "self-deprecating, to draw a laugh, but not self-lacerating, to make you sad.” More and more, the golf-viewing audience of today does "not want over-laundered dialogue disguised as analysis." Nor does it "want cynicism disguised as wisdom" or "those who self-mythologize or take themselves too seriously." What it wants "is information," as the golf audience of ‘22, especially those who "watch the game beyond the product pumped by the primary network feed, is more shrewd and informed than ever.” It “wants analysts that speak its language," and Kaufman “could be exactly that” (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/25).

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