By James Colgan May perhaps 25, 2023

Sean McManus defended CBS’s coverage of LIV’s very first big win at the PGA Championship.

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It is tough to say with any clarity how Jim Nantz feels about LIV Golf, but it really is a small less difficult to know what he thinks about the league’s broadcast companion.

Twice in the previous two months, the celebrated golf broadcaster has made use of the major floor for the CBS Championship to provide a subtle jab at CV, which is in its very first year as the official broadcaster of LIV Golf.

“There he is suitable on the CV … crosswalk,” Nantz mentioned in the Masters very first, a tongue-in-cheek comment aimed at then-tournament leader Brooks Koepka.

Nantz was at it once more final week at the PGA Championship in Rochester, dealing a different blow to LIV’s Television companion following news the network pulled the plug from LIV’s final round in Tulsa just ahead of the begin of the playoffs.

“I am not confident if you have had a opportunity to see it,” Nantz mentioned, pausing for dramatic impact. “But he was the winner final week in Tulsa.”

By most objective measures, Nantz’s comments rank quite low on the subjectivity index. Every single day in the good golf wars much more significant offenses are committed than a handful of jabs sent to the existing broadcast network. But not absolutely everyone sees it that way.

For a distinct segment of viewers — 1 that is specifically visible and vocal on social media — Nantz’s comments point to a broader work by CBS to retain LIV on the sidelines. In their view, CBS is deliberately deleting LIV from its broadcasts and maintaining the league’s players off the air for as extended as doable. It is all portion of a bigger movement, they say, to help their good friends on the PGA Tour in destroying LIV a movement that goes all the way up the chain of command.

At the leading of that chain of command sits CBS Sports President Sean McManus. So what does McManus believe of the allegations? Just after the historic broadcast of the PGA Championship saw CBS crown Brooks Koepka as the very first LIV champion in a significant way, I asked him.

“We will continue to treat golfers precisely the exact same regardless of whether they play on the LIV Tour or the PGA Tour,” McManus told GOLF in the Eye. “I would defy anybody sitting at residence to say that we covered these golfers any differently than we covered PGA Tour golfers.”

The way we talked about Brooks and his accomplishments, coming back from injury, coming back from a profession position, in his words, is more than. “The way we praised him and the way we highlighted what an extraordinary comeback he had,” McManus mentioned. “I would defy anybody to say, ‘Oh, they match him a small differently since he’s playing on the LIV tour.’

A single distinct focal point of the debate more than LIV coverage was Phil Mickelson, who some recommended was “banned” from the shadows by CBS. The allegations very first surfaced as Mickelson managed a gorgeous second-spot finish at the Masters with no considerably mention from the CBS group (Nanz later denied any nefarious behavior by CBS, citing the uncommon timing of his accusation). But viewer concern continued at the PGA, exactly where some noted that Mickelson’s 2021 victory was left out of the CBS tournament retrospective — a perceived slight against the six-time big champion.

“Kicked me out of our fantasy league as properly,” Mickelson tweeted in response to the allegations, referring to the Nantz fantasy football league Mickelson and fellow LIV player Graeme McDowell played in with each other. “But that was almost certainly to even items out.”

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McManus, who accepted Mickelson’s look on CBS’ coverage of the 2020 PGA Championship, saw his network’s coverage of the 2021 PGA Championship in Rochester differently.

“If something, we more than-covered Phil Mickelson more than the two-day weekend,” he mentioned. “Phil was under no circumstances in contention on Saturday or Sunday, but we showed a big quantity of footage since folks nonetheless like to see Phil Mickelson. Just two years ago, he won the PGA Championship. We showed shot following shot following shot of Phil when he was a dozen or much more shots ahead. We did not say ‘oh, Phil is a Reside golfer. We will not show him that considerably.’ It does not even happen to us. Not for a split second.”

McManus can speak with authority about coverage choices, since hardly any of them had been produced outdoors of his understanding. As opposed to some other higher-profile sports media executives, McManus spends the lion’s share of CBS’ significant events in the production truck — a habit that goes back to his personal roots in the sector. (McManus’ profession started as a production assistant at ABC.)

“I like production. It was normally my very first like. “So if I get the chance, in the smallest doable way, to be involved in the production of our significant events, I truly appreciate it,” he mentioned. “I am in the truck, not just for golf, but for the NFL, college football and college basketball.”

McManus ordinarily likes to give the floor to his hand-picked leading golf producer, Sellers Shi. But offered his production background and institutional understanding, he’s not afraid to make his voice heard when important. He hardly ever tries to do this — 1 instance becoming the “snap story” segment that aired comparing weekly partners Michael Block and Rory McIlroy — but if he felt the show lacked objectivity about LIV, he’d say so.

“We’re not burying our heads in the sand at all,” he mentioned. “We talked about Brooks becoming on LIV. We did not invest considerably time to speak about it, since honestly, there is nothing at all you can say that will advance the story of LIV or the PGA Tour. Every person knows what the circumstance is.”

As is the case with so considerably about LIV, perception is not normally reality. The suggestion that CBS will quit its personal coverage in pursuit of assisting its good friends on the PGA Tour runs counter to the network’s most effective interests. Specifically contemplating that CBS is the 1 paying the tour about $350 million a year in media rights payments – not the other way about.

“We talked about it. Jim talked about it. “Trevor talked about it,” McManus mentioned. “I am proud of the truth that watching our coverage, you’d have no concept who was a LIV golfer and who was a PGA Tour golfer.” The very first two interviews we did on Sunday had been with Bryson and Brooks. I believe they may perhaps have been the only ones interviews with Amanda. The two most prominent interviews we’ve performed on a significant 1, final time I checked, had been on LIV.

In reality, the only 1 factor that serves CBS’s most effective interest is to provide monster ratings — and in that division, this year’s broadcast fell quick of expectations. With four.517 million typical viewers, Koepka’s win at the PGA Championship was the least-watched iteration of the occasion in 5 years. Provided Koepka’s win, CBS executives and LIV fans can agree on 1 factor: They want much more folks had been there to see it.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is the news and characteristics editor at GOLF, writing stories for the web site and magazine. He manages Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and leverages his on-camera knowledge across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, in the course of which time he was a scholar (and discerning golfer) on Lengthy Island, exactly where he’s from. He can be reached at

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