NBC golf broadcasts are officially changing, as two of its longest-tenured voices will not be returning to their airwaves in 2023.
Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch, who combined for more than five decades of TV work, will not be calling golf for NBC in 2023. This comes according to a Golfweek report by Adam Woodward, which included confirmation from Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon.
“Their professionalism and prowess is only exceeded by their character as they have been great teammates and friends to so many of us here,” Solomon told Golfweek. “We will be honoring their careers during our coverage of the PNC Championship in December.”
Broadcasters come and go from networks all the time, even as their voices remain attached to specific eras and specific moments. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, as tenured as it got for football on FOX, both left for ESPN earlier this year. The results are often more jolting than surprising. Change comes for everything (and everyone) eventually. Even Maltbie knows that.
“Either you decide that that’s it and I don’t want to do it anymore, or it gets decided for you,” Maltbie told Sports Illustrated Thursday. “In this case it got decided for me, and I’ve got no ax to grind. I mean, 31 years, not too many guys last that long doing this stuff.”
The former pro began his career in broadcasting in the early 90s after winning five times in his PGA Tour career. It ended up being the perfect time to get in to golf broadcasting. The game’s most exciting player of all-time was just starting his reign of dominance.
“So there’s a great deal of gratitude,” Maltbie told SI. “Does it hurt to hear the words? Sure, but, gosh, I saw a lot of great golf. I got to see this guy, Tiger Woods, in full flight, come into his own and play golf like nobody’s seen before.”
Both he and Koch had a front row seat to Woods’ dominance, and for multiple decades. Koch, also a former pro with half a dozen victories, started broadcasting during Woods’ rookie season. Less than five years later, he was in the tower for a curling, triple-breaking putt at TPC Sawgrass that vaulted Woods to victory. You know the putt by three specific words: Better than most.
Koch was the man who said those words, and they’ll follow him for eternity, whether that’s in a broadcast booth or otherwise. Maltbie’s most famous Tiger line? The one that first comes to mind was during Woods’ romp at the 2000 US Open, which he won by 15 shots. During the second round, Woods lashed through rough, up the hill of Pebble Beach’s par-5 6th hole. He had just a 7-iron in hand, and somehow bounced his ball onto the green. Maltbie said what everyone knew was true: “It’s just not a fair fight.”
According to the Golfweek report, NBC is looking to “refresh” its broadcast, but as Solomon said, only after paying tribute to the careers Maltbie and Koch have put together. The PNC Championship takes place the weekend of Dec. 17-18.
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