Sport: Roger Maltbie dishes on his career with NBC, plans for the future and why he'd be shocked if LIV Golf comes calling

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“Welcome to the graveyard of old fired golf announcers.”

Roger Maltbie © Provided by Golfweek Roger Maltbie

That was the playful introduction for Roger Maltbie earlier this week when the former PGA Tour player and NBC on-course reporter joined Gary McCord and Drew Stoltz on their SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show.

Golfweek was first to report last week that Maltbie and Gary Koch won’t be returning to NBC in 2023 after the network told the pair of longtime broadcasters it wanted to “refresh” the team for the future.

Maltbie was originally told 2021 would be his last year before Jim “Bones” Mackay left his on-air role with the network to caddie for Justin Thomas. He returned as an on-course reporter for 2022 but wasn’t renewed for 2023. A five-time winner on the PGA Tour, Maltbie, 71, had been covering golf for NBC Sports since 1992.

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“Does it hurt when you hear the words? Sure. ‘You’re not in our plans.’ Thirty-one years I spent with NBC. ‘You’re no longer in our plans and you’re not part of our future. We need to go young,’ which is a nice way of saying you’re old, and I understand all that,” said Maltbie. “But you know, there’s hurt feelings and there’s also a lot of gratitude. They were great to me for 31 years. I don’t have a complaint.

“I absolutely love the guys I worked with. I will miss watching the greatest players in the world play great,” he continued. “My role was to walk with the final group on Sunday, so I was watching the best players in the world playing their best and I still get a kick out of it to this day, even though I can’t do it anymore. I sure like watching it and I’ll miss all that. I will.”

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If anyone knows how Maltbie and Koch feel, it’s McCord. In Oct. 2019, he and Peter Kostis, two longtime members of the CBS golf team, were not renewed for 2020. Both were told by the network that things were getting “stale.”

“I would have liked to have kept going but it’s a funny thing, the phases your career goes through over the course of 31 years,” Maltbie explained. “When I first started, hell, I knew every player, I was a player still. I was one of them and I was doing TV. I knew the names of their wives and the names of your kids and competed with and against them. There was a real familiarity. Then you go through a period where they know who you are and they know you played and so on and so forth, and then you meet a new bunch of young kids and you go on and then the later years, most of those kids don’t even know I played golf for a living, really to be honest with you. There’s a timespan to everything.”

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Maltbie said he’s mulling over calling some PGA Tour Champions events for the network, noting how he’ll miss the adrenaline rush that comes with live TV. But what about a hypothetical chance with LIV Golf?

“I guess at this age, at 71, you never say never, but that would shock me beyond belief,” said Maltbie. “Greg Norman and I had sort of a spat you might call it years back, and I doubt that I would get a call from LIV, let’s put it that way.”

The international travel and 14-event schedule would be something to consider for Maltbie if the call did come, and he’d have “no compunction about going to work for somebody that’s willing to pay you a salary.”

“This LIV thing, it’s kind of crazy. There’s so much hypocrisy involved in it,” Maltbie said. “I don’t begrudge any player that accepted that money or decided to do that. That’s still a decision that is 1,000 percent their right. I don’t like the idea that they think they could do that and play the PGA Tour. I don’t follow that, but I’m not upset with it.”

“There are people that have this moral outrage about accepting money from the Saudi Investment Fund and it’s like, really? All the business that our government does with Saudi Arabia, and the largest corporations in America, so many of them do some business with the Saudis. Why all of a sudden are golfers the moral compass of the world? I don’t understand that. So I have no problem with those guys taking that money.”

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With Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as its sole funder, LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Not to mention members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.

It’s still to be determined when and where golf fans will see Maltbie in the future. Whether its on a Champions tour or LIV broadcast – maybe he’ll pull a McCord and help with The Match? – the longtime voice will surely be missed by many.

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Phil Mickelson wasted no time in responding to Tiger Woods' comments on LIV Golf, PGA Tour .
Tiger Woods addressed the media Tuesday ahead of his Hero World Challenge in Albany — an event he was supposed to play in before withdrawing Monday due to plantar fasciitis. While he answered questions about his health and future go als on the golf course, Woods also came out firing against LIV Golf and its leader, Greg Norman. “I think (Greg Norman) has to go, first of all,” said Woods, “and then obviously the litigation against us and then our countersuit against them. Those would then have to be at a stay as well, then we can talk, we can all talk freely.

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