What an embarrassment for Fox Sports, the U.S. Open and United States Golf Association.
Fox Sports is profusely apologizing for inadvertently broadcasting rough sex talk between two U.S. Open fans Friday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The offensive chatter was picked up by one of Fox’s 200-plus, omnipresent on-course microphones, then mistakenly broadcast to millions of TV viewers watching FS1’s coverage of Round 2 of the 2018 U.S. Open.
“Today, during the live FS1 broadcast of the 2018 U.S. Open, one of the many microphones on the course inadvertently picked up some offensive crowd chatter. We sincerely apologize,” Fox Sports spokeswoman Anne Pennington said in a statement to Sporting News.
When SN asked Pennington if the offensive audio came from fans on the course or a radio mixup, Pennington confirmed it came from the gallery.
The conversation, involving an unidentified man bragging about how he violently head-butted his “bitch” ex, was captured by Awful Announcing. (WARNING: The link goes to an article containing extremely graphic and NSFW audio.)
Fox’s Joe Buck was discussing Masters winner Patrick Reed when Fox’s viewers suddenly heard two new voices discussing sex. After they had finished, Buck came back on the air as if nothing had happened.
To cap Fox’s freaky Friday, the audio cut out for nearly 15 minutes during its afternoon coverage from the historic course in Southampton, N.Y., on Long Island. To his credit, Buck handled the sound snafu with aplomb, noting: “The reviews are in. We’ve never sounded better.”
During its first four years of USGA coverage, Fox has liberally sprinkled on-course microphones around the greens, tee boxes, fairways and galleries to bring viewers the sights and sounds of a U.S. Open.
But Sporting News warned Thursday that some of the gavones in the loud, proud New York crowd would give Fox more audio than it could handle:
“It’s hard to blame Fox for spectators running their yaps. That’s more of a USGA issue. Most of us have been stuck in crowds with bozos who think they’re hilarious, and crowds at major sporting events have become louder, drunker and more in-your-face over the years. Still, the mics picking up these gavones hurt the broadcast. As a viewer, I found it distracting to hear that stuff on nearly every hole, every shot.”
The next question is how the strait-laced, white-shoe crowd at the USGA will react to its premier event being sullied by Fox’s X-rated, misogynistic audio.
We’ll see this weekend.