January 9, 2021; Maui, Hawaii, USA; Golf Channel on-course reporter Jim Mackay (Bones Mackay) on the third hole during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

GolfNBCBy Awful Announcing Staff on

NBC Sports is taking the rare step of broadcasting this season’s golf coverage without a lead analyst anchoring their coverage in the 18th tower. The network cut ties with lead analyst Paul Azinger after last year’s Ryder Cup but has yet to settle on a permanent replacement. This week with television coverage of the Mexico Open, former NBC on-course reporter Jim “Bones” Mackay will be taking on the role.

Mackay previously worked for NBC Sports as one of their top on-course reporters, but departed the network when he returned to the tour to caddy for multiple major winner Justin Thomas. With Thomas not playing in this week’s event, it has given NBC and Bones a chance to reunite.

Via GolfWeek:

Justin Thomas is skipping the PGA Tour’s Mexico Open this week but his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, will be busy doing a first for TV.

Mackay will serve as the lead analyst for NBC Sports on the telecast of the Tour event South of the border, the first time an active caddie has ever filled that role.

NBC Sports parted ways with Paul Azinger late last year as his contract was set to expire at the end of the season and the network has been rotating voices ever since. PGA Tour pro Kevin Kisner, who handled duties at The Sentry and WM Phoenix Open, former European Ryder Cup captain and SkySports/Golf Channel commentator Paul McGinley did so at the Hero World Challenge, Curt Byrum took a spin at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee worked The American Express, all taking turns as the lead analyst during NBC telecasts.

Interestingly, Mackay went on record saying that he’s not interested in the full-time job at the moment… although given Justin Thomas’ recent form (he hasn’t won a tournament since winning the PGA Championship in 2022) who knows what Mackay’s long term future might hold.

Mackay was one of the best on-course reporters in televised golf as his experience as a top level caddie translated almost perfectly to the role roaming the course. How Mackay fares in the tower away from the action remains to be seen, but he certainly had a real talent for broadcasting in his time with NBC. What may be a little bit curious is why NBC is going to spend a week in the middle of their live tryouts on someone who isn’t a candidate for the job. That is, of course, unless NBC is happy with the rotation of top analysts and doesn’t feel the pressure to make a hire right now.