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Skratching The Pro-Am Itch

On Wednesday afternoon, I watched live action from the Waste Management Phoenix Open pro-am on my Web browser.

The streaming broadcast on kicked off a new partnership between the Tour, SkratchTV and GoPro Inc. that promises to “deliver never-before-seen perspectives and episodic video content to golf fans around the world,” according to a news release announcing the relationship.

For the uninitiated, SkratchTV is an online video network the Tour co-launched a year ago to court younger audiences. And GoPro Inc. is the maker of those seemingly ubiquitous portable action video cameras all the kids are wearing these days.

The broadcast chronicled play and banter on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, the par-3 surrounded by stadium seats that’s ground zero for what’s become known as the biggest party in golf. It highlighted marquee players such as Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson; celebrity amateurs such as Emmitt Smith, Dierks Bentley and Greg Maddux; and some unique camera angles courtesy of strategically placed GoPros.

For those with nothing better to do on a rainy afternoon in somewhere other than sunny Phoenix, the pro-am wasn’t a bad take, offering an inside-the-ropes glimpse of the event’s laid-back vibe. And I enjoyed tracking Fowler’s birdie putt at ground level from behind the hole, thanks to GoPro.

But while SkratchTV on-course interviewer Erik Anders Lang might have charmed millennials with his extreme-sports look (read: shaggy, unkempt hair and facial scruff), I simply found him annoying. His 16th-tee repartee with Watson regarding hair products was particularly painful. And though mildly amusing, his previously recorded interview with Charley Hoffman – in which the pair conversed from inside adjacent port-a-johns – was a little lowbrow for my taste.

But then again, I’m from Generation X.


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