Rory McIlroy has almost certainly drained all the drama out of the on-course play at the U.S. Open. But outside the ropes, NBC led off its telecast with an immediately controversial pre-taped segment. Listen to the pledge of allegiance that runs alongside the patriotic images, and later to the one that overlays video of previous U.S. Open winners:
In case it's been awhile since you said the pledge in elementary school, the first version left out the words "under God" and "indivisible." The second went even further, knocking out "one nation" as well.
The outcry on Twitter was immediate and almost universally negative. Perhaps this style was an artistic choice on the part of the segment producer, interweaving the pledge with military and golf-related sound bites, but the decision to leave out "under God" is a curious one at best, and a highly controversial one, without doubt.
Later in the telecast, host Dan Hicks read the following statement during coverage: "It was our intent to begin our coverage of this U.S. Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being here in our nation's capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the pledge of allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."
Of note: "under God" was not in the original pledge from 1892, which read, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The words "under God" were not added to the pledge until 1954, when President Eisenhower signed Congressional legislation to that effect into law.