Paul Azinger (NBC)
Shane Bacon (Golf Channel)
Co-host of Golf Today, Bacon, who also does play-by-play tournament coverage, is arguably the best young announcer in the business. A former mini-tour player, Bacon knows the game and he has an easy going, entertaining style. Best of all, he doesn’t take himself too seriously as you can see with his podcast (Get a Grip) and his social media posts. It’s a bold prediction on my part, but I believe he could be the next Jim Nantz.
Cara Banks (Golf Channel/Sky Sports)
Smart, knowledgeable and always well informed, Banks is at the top of her game. She’s a superb interviewer who always asks the pertinent questions without being annoying to the interviewee. Consequently, she makes it easy and comfortable to watch. My gosh, with her wonderful, rhythmic English accent, she could read a grocery list and make it sound scholarly and entertaining.
Amanda Balionis-Renner (CBS)
Curt Byrum (Golf Channel)
A former PGA Tour and Nike Tour player, Byrum is insightful, easy-to-listen-to and vastly underrated. Not sure most golf fans could pick him out of a line-up. He’s the ultimate professional and because he never says anything controversial or dumb, he hasn’t achieved the notoriety of some other Golf Channel analysts. He had one PGA Tour win, the Hardee’s Golf Classic in 1989, and his highest finish in a major was a T14 in the 1987 PGA Championship.
Brandel Chamblee (Golf Channel)
David Duval (ESPN)
Extremely knowledgable about what it takes to compete on the highest levels of the PGA Tour, Duval is superb at breaking down what it takes to deliver consistently in the big moments, especially majors. Unfortunately, his voice has very little inflection and excitement and I find myself rapidly traveling to sleepyville when he drones on too much.
Ian Baker-Finch (CBS)
Nick Faldo (CBS)
Jerry Foltz (LIV Golf Tour)
Looks like Jerry took the big payday from Greg Norman and the Saudis and said, “Hasta la vista, baby.” A knowledgeable commentator and on-course reporter with an underrated wit and an easy going demeanor, Foltz always seems prepared. The biggest question most people have is : “Who the heck is Jerry Foltz?” He played golf at the University of Arizona and won the Arizona Amateur in 1989. He played on the Nike Tour (now the Korn Ferry) and won one tournament, the Nike South Carolina Classic in 1995. In 1990, three days after he turned pro he sustained a serious back injury in an auto accident.
Terry Gannon (Golf Channel)
Damon Hack (Golf Channel)
Nobody seems to love the game more than Hack, who has been with the Golf Channel since 2012. The co-host of Golf Today with Shane Bacon, Hack’s enthusiasm is infectious when you listen to him and his golf knowledge is impressive. He’s got one of those affable personalities that’s not contrived and his authenticity comes through.
Dan Hicks (NBC)
Trevor Immelman (CBS)
Colt Knost (CBS)
Former pro golfer and 2007 U.S. Amateur champion, Knost is knowledgeable, articulate and opinionated. As a rookie on-course reporter for CBS he’s more into reporting than opinions at this point ,but I see him eventually sharing more of this thoughts ala Dottie Pepper as he gains stable footing in his new role. His performance on the “Featured Group” stream for 2022 Masters was, well, masterful. Knost was brimming with exceptional insight, stories and anecdotes and worked seamlessly with Shane Bacon and Bill Kratzert. I predict big things for him going forward.
Gary Koch (NBC)
Christina Kim (PGA Tour Live)
Kim has lots of potential as an analyst and commentator, but, at present, her presentation is a bit spotty. She tends to talk too much and her overuse of superlatives like “amazing”, “fabulous” and “incredible” are annoying but make for a good drinking game when you count them up.
Bill Kratzert (Golf Channel)
A former PGA Tour player in the 1970s with four wins, Kratzert is one of these long-time golf analysts that hasn’t worn out his welcome. He sticks to the facts and doesn’t go overboard with his own opinion. He’s knowledgeable about all phases of the game and has that Verne Lundquist type of likable personality. Kratzert does a superb job with Shane Bacon and Colt Knost on “Featured Group” Masters broadcasts.
Justin Leonard (Golf Channel)
Always looking like he just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren Polo advertisement, Leonard is insightful, informative, professional and brings lots of credibility with his successful career on the PGA Tour. Don’t expect a lot of funny one-liners, Leonard’s on-air game is all about letting you know what the players think inside the ropes.
Rich Lerner (Golf Channel)
Davis Love III (Formerly with CBS)
He’s better than Melatonin or Sominex. If I need a good snooze on the couch while watching golf, the soft, melodic tones of Love III’s voice sends me quickly to snoozeville. I have always admired Love as a player and Ryder Cup Captain, but he doesn’t bring much dynamism to the broadcast. Like most Pro golfers turned analysts, he noticeably tiptoes around any criticism of his brethren. (DLIII didn’t last long at CBS and announced he was returning to competitive golf). A good move on his part.
While the 80-year old Lundquist has lost a little off his fastball, I still enjoy his commentary and calls on the par 3 No. 16 at the Masters. His “Yes, sir” call at the 1986 Masters and “In your life have you seen anything like that?” in 2005 when Tiger made his miracle chip shot are part of Masters lore. He’ll be difficult to replace when he eventually steps down from the tower.
Jim “Bones” Mackay (Formerly With NBC)
The former caddie to Phil Mickelson sounds exactly like, well, a caddie. I like his act and really enjoy his information about reading greens and how to approach certain putts. He seems to improve with each tournament. (Mackay recently left his course reporter gig to caddie for Justin Thomas).
Hunter Mahan (NBC)
While he’s not on main broadcasts, Mahan should be. He’s articulate and a great storyteller about his life on the PGA Tour. His performance as an analyst at Ryder Cup 2021 “Featured Groups” stream for NBC/Golf Channel was superb. The three-time Ryder Cupper is easy-to-listen to and has a great sense of humor when the moment calls for it. I predict bigger and better things for him in the golf broadcast universe.
Roger Maltbie (NBC)
Paul McGinley (Golf Channel)
Wow, who knew he was such a flame thrower. McGinley provides entertaining “in-your-face” challenges to Brandel Chamblee and the Irishman isn’t afraid to share his honest opinion on just about any topic in golf. He’s really a breath of fresh air and has a bit of the Johnny Miller flair for offering constructive criticism in an honest and direct manner. McGinley won four events on the European Tour, sunk the winning putt for Europe in the 2002 Ryder Cup and was the winning captain for Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup,
Andy North (ESPN)
Knowledgeable, professional and comfortable in front of the camera, North, a two-time U.S. Open Champion, seems like a nice guy you’d go to for golf advice. North doesn’t say anything even close to controversial so most television viewers probably couldn’t pick him out of a line-up of popular analysts. He probably gets more recognition from his spokesperson duties for the Square Strike Wedge infomercials, which ran incessantly on golf programming a couple of years ago.
Arron Oberholser (NBC/Golf Channel)
A tower analyst and on-course reporter, Oberholser, a former PGA Tour golfer, may not have a big name but he has big-time talent. Vastly underrated and overlooked, Oberholser provides concise, no-nonsense analysis on the best strategies to play holes and the thinking process of golfers he’s covering. His playing career was cut short by injuries, but he’s performing well in this second career as a broadcaster.
Dottie Pepper (CBS)
Morgan Pressel (NBC/Golf Channel)
While continuing to compete on the LPGA Tour, Pressel, a major champion (2007 ANA Inspiration), recently joined NBC/Golf Channel as an analyst and on-course reporter for LPGA and PGA Tour events. For someone with limited experience broadcasting, Pressel is excellent. She relates well to today’s players and her analysis is concise, honest and well delivered. If you’re looking for the next Dottie Pepper or Judy Rankin, I believe its Pressel, especially when she devotes full-time to her broadcasting career.
Judy Rankin (Golf Channel – Recently Retired)
Tom Rinaldi (Fox)
Jimmy Roberts (Golf Channel)
Roberts sometimes gets a little over-sappy like Tom Rinaldi, but I’ll take Roberts for my heart tugging golf essays and interviews. Apparently I’m not the only one that likes Roberts because he’s racked up 13 Emmy Awards. He’s a superb storyteller and generally stays away from the oh so predictable “how does it feel?” question.
Mark Rolfing (NBC)
A steady voice of reason on the airwaves for more than two decades, Rolfing oozes professionalism and is very underrated. He’s honest and fair in his critiques of player strategy and performance. No puff stuff with Rolfing just great straightforward analysis.
Charlie Rymer (Formerly Golf Channel)
Steve Sands (Golf Channel)
This gravelly voice broadcast veteran is always reliable with accurate information on the players and tournaments. He’s well connected and respected by the players and PGA Tour officials and presents interesting behind-the-scenes information that enhances the telecast.
Marty Smith (ESPN)
With his syrupy southern twang and folksy demeanor, Smith sounds and looks like the ideal analyst for SEC football and NASCAR. He does an admirable job at both sports for ESPN. Surprisingly, he does an excellent job of post round interviews with golfers, many who are frustrated and tired. Polite and friendly, Smith’s questions are concise and the players seem comfortable talking about the ups and downs of their day.
Curtis Strange (ESPN)
Remember, this is the guy who sanctimoniously told a young, confident Tiger Woods in 1996 that “You’ll learn” when referring to Woods’ goal to win every tournament. Strange still appears a bit uncomfortable talking about Tiger after all these years. Curtis also seems like the grouchy old guy at the clubhouse grill who might offer up this “kick-in-the-balls” retort to Joe Golfer: “Hey, I won two U.S. Opens and you can’t even break 90, get out of my face with your opinion.”
Wright Thompson (ESPN)
A senior writer for ESPN and golf essayist, Thompson, author of the best selling book “Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon and The Things that Last” is skilled at clearly articulating the struggles, hopes and disappointments of golfers without being sappy or overly dramatic. His video essays on the Masters are beautifully written and strike the right balance between describing the majesty of the tournament and the realities of glorious success and devastating defeat.
Mike Tirico (NBC)
Scott Van Pelt (ESPN)
Michelle Wie West (Golf Channel)
With her teenage heroics and long-time play on the LPGA Tour, her credibility is unquestioned. Wie West’s pleasant personality is a strong asset, but in these early stages of her broadcasting career she speaks in way too many generalities. Hopefully that will change as she learns how to be a professional broadcaster and not just an ultra-successful athlete that happened to score a role in front of the camera.
John Wood (NBC/Golf Channel)
“Woody” as his broadcasting sidekicks like to call him is a former PGA Tour caddie who is extremely knowledgeable and witty. He does a great job of explaining why players make certain decisions on the course as well as imparting inside information the viewer might not know. In his illustrious looper career, Wood was on the bag for Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Mark Calcavecchia and others. He also caddied in Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups and The Olympics.