Peter Kostis and Gary McCord have been familiar voices on CBS Sports’ PGA Tour coverage for some 30 years each. However, their run at CBS Sports has come to an end, with both key players not returning to the Eye Network’s PGA Tour broadcasts in 2020.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on his Facebook page on Oct. 26 both Kostis, who has been with CBS since 1992, and McCord, who has been on the team since 1986, are out of the CBS golf team.
“Gary and Peter have been an important part of our golf coverage for three decades,” said a CBS Sports representative in a statement to Ourand. “They were both outstanding teammates and we thank them for their significant contributions throughout the years. We wish them both all the best.”
Kostis had a two-year option remaining on his contract which CBS chose not to exercise, ending his 27-year tenure as an on-course analyst with the Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision camera, as well describing the action and player technique.
Kostis sent Ourand a statement on the matter, referring back to his golf broadcasting debut during the 1989 Ryder Cup for USA Network. The long-time instructor plans on returning to his roots and teaching golf.
He has been working with an over-the-top golf instruction service to roll out content. Kostis said he had been giving thought to pursuing a reduced travel schedule in the final two years of his contract, had his option been exercised. CBS broadcasts the overwhelming bulk of domestic PGA Tour weekend rounds, making for a hectic schedule from January through August for their team. NBC Sports takes over part of February and throughout March before CBS takes the PGA Tour into the FedEx Cup playoffs. CBS also broadcasts the Masters and PGA Championship.
McCord has not commented publicly as of yet, but the PGA Tour pro was known for his colorful commentary and a friendly, approachable style. It’s unclear if he wants to continue broadcasting in some capacity.
The departures of Kostis and McCord leave a gaping hole in the CBS Sports golf team. Now there will be speculation as to who will replace them. CBS has used Mark Immelman in several tournaments in the last 18 months, and his teaching background could fit Kostis’ role. Trevor Immelman has been lauded for his work with Golf Channel in the studio, but he may not be ready to make a full-time leap away from competitive golf. The Aussie Luke Elvy has called holes for several CBS events, as well, though it’s unclear if he would want to turn to a full-time schedule with the network.
Of course, Frank Nobilo works with CBS on a limited schedule, and he’s one of the best voices in the game. CBS could make him a permanent member of the team, though that would take Nobilo away from his great work at Golf Channel.
CBS has been cutting budget from golf this year, forcing a number of long-time behind-the-scenes crew members into buyouts and retirements. Removing Kostis and McCord can be seen as another cost-cutting move. The question is why. With the PGA Tour currently in the process of taking bids and proposals for its weekend package starting with the 2021-2022 season, it’s expected CBS and/or NBC will continue to be a significant TV partner. However, even if CBS’ share of the schedule remains similar, it appears the company wants to commit less money to staffing the events. Nonetheless, changing out names and faces in the interest of saving money won’t fix the underlying problems golf fans have with the CBS product, including too many commercial breaks, not enough golf action and a lack of respect for the details of the golf tournament.