In his most candid interview since CBS dropped him at the end of 2019 from its golf coverage after three decades, Peter Kostis had some choice words for his ex-employer, the PGA Tour and how his termination went down.
In a tell-all interview with the “No Laying Up” podcast, Kostis highlighted the role he says the PGA Tour had in CBS not renewing his contract as well as the tour’s increasing control over tournament broadcasts.
The 73-year-old said he believes his blunt style did not mesh with the tour’s emphasis on promotion, claiming it wants more “cheerleaders” than analysts. He also thinks the tour told CBS to “get younger.”
“From the bottom of my heart I believe this, that no one in management of a network or at the leadership of the PGA Tour gives a rat’s ass about the quality of the telecast,” Kostis said. “They don’t care about the quality of the viewer experience. They don’t care about anything other than promotion. They’re interested in the marketing of the product.”
Kostis, who first joined CBS Sports as an on-course reporter and golf analyst in 1992, recalled when the PGA Tour criticized him for a winner’s interview he conducted with an unidentified rookie.
After the conclusion of the interview, where he asked the player his thoughts on having a spot in the Masters in addition to his two-year Tour exemption, Kostis said, he got a call from a CBS executive in New York.
“They had gotten a call from the commissioner,” Kostis said. “And the commissioner was upset I didn’t say, first off, that he had won 500 FedEx Cup points. And he didn’t want me talking about majors.”
Kostis said he continued to leave the FedEx Cup out of his post-round interviews with winners, which he believes led to a diminished role and eventually played a part in him losing his job altogether.
Kostis claimed he never received a straight answer from CBS. The network supposedly pushed for Kostis to work through this month’s Waste Management Phoenix Open so they could give him a proper “retirement” send-off, but Kostis declined.
He said he wasn’t retiring and was just being edged out.
“I asked [CBS Sports chairman] Sean McManus why he was doing it,” Kostis said. “He said, ‘We just feel like things have gotten a bit stale and we want to go in a different direction.’ … He denies it now, but that was the exact quote.
“I got the feeling that it was more about saving face for them than trying to do something nice for me.”
Just three days after CBS announced that Kostis and fellow CBS mainstay Gary McCord would not have their contracts renewed, Davis Love III was hired as a new announcer. The network is also reportedly close to signing a nine-year extension of its broadcast contract with the tour.
When reached by Golf Digest, officials with CBS and the PGA Tour declined to comment about Kostis’ interview.