"Countdown to Rio" to Premiere Sunday, July 31 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 28, 2016, 7:35 pm

 Countdown to Rio Follows Seven-Year Journey of Golf’s Return to the Olympics from: Golf Being Voted Back in as Olympic Sport in 2009; Initial Course Architect Pitches; & Building of the Course Venue

“The gold medal is going to be the biggest prize in golf” – Jack Nicklaus

“As you look out to 2020, 2024 and 2028… And let’s just assume golf is in there. This Rio design job is going to carry that torch.” – Greg Norman

“The Olympic Games, that’s the ultimate” – Gary Player

Special Episode of Feherty with Olympic Athlete, Basketball Coach Doug Collins to Premiere Monday, August 1

Golf Channel Digital Features Exclusive Tour of Olympic Course Venue Front & Back Nines with Architect Gil Hanse & Frank Nobilo’s Tee-to-Green Segments Featuring Hole-by-Hole Overview of the Course

After the most recent major champions in the 2016 professional golf season are crowned this Sunday at the PGA Championship and RICOH Women’s British Open, the golf industry will turn its attention to the sport’s return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, with Golf Channel providing coverage from the first tee shot to the final putt of both the men’s and women’s competitions. Golf Channel will kick off its more than 300 total hours of Olympic-themed programming with Countdown to Rio, premiering this Sunday, July 31 at 9 p.m. ET, immediately following Golf Central Live From the PGA Championship.

Seven years in the making, filming for Countdown to Rio dates back to when the IOC officially voted golf back in as an Olympic sport in October 2009, and closely follows the events that unfolded in the subsequent years, including:

October 2009 – Vote Returns Golf as an Olympic Sport for the 2016 Rio Olympics

Countdown to Rio chronicles the steps taken leading up to golf’s return to the Olympics, including the 18-month process of the International Golf Federation (IGF) making presentations to the IOC. Much of the focus centers around the potential for golf in the Olympics to act as a major catalyst in development of the game around the world.

January 2012 – Legends, Golf Architects Pitch to Design Olympic Golf Venue

With Golf Channel’s exclusive, inside access as the only cameras present in the room, Countdown to Rio reveals never previously seen footage of the architect’s presentations from the eight finalists who pitched to design the Olympic golf venue in Rio. The eight finalist groups feature some of the game’s biggest legends and golf architects, among them: Jack Nicklaus/Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman/Lorena Ochoa, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tom Doak, and Gil Hanse/Amy Alcott. Cameras capture the moment in which Gil Hanse learns his team had been chosen to construct the course.

“You sort of start to handicap [your chances] from a design standpoint. ‘Could we hold our own with these eight groups?’ And I felt like we could. Then you start to think politically. ‘Are we as connected? Do we have as big of a presence?’ No. So then it becomes, ‘We really need to work our butts off to design something good.’” – Gil Hanse

“The gold medal is going to be the biggest prize in golf” – Jack Nicklaus

“As you look out to 2020, 2024 and 2028… And let’s just assume golf is in there. This Rio design job is going to carry that torch.” – Greg Norman

“The Olympic Games, that’s the ultimate” – Gary Player 

Spring 2012 – Following Hanse and His Initial Work in Rio

Countdown to Rio follows Gil Hanse in the subsequent months after he was initially awarded the job to construct the Olympic Golf Course. Cameras follow Hanse from the early days of the construction process, where bulldozers are used to clear the land and route the holes, and ultimately begin to shape the land into a golf course setup suited for competition.

September 2013 – “Check-in” Survey Evaluating Progress of Olympic Golf Venue

Representatives from the IGF and Rio Organizing Committee meet with Hanse to survey the progress, and areas still needed to address on the course project.

March 2016 – Olympic Test Event Staged at Newly Designed Golf Venue

In an effort to gauge the readiness of the newly constructed course setup for Olympic competition, a dedicated test event was held earlier this year to ensure the playability of the venue. Cameras were on-site to chronicle the competition and capture the reactions from those in the field after having played the new layout.

Hanse Offers Exclusive Tour of the Olympic Golf Course for Golf Channel Digital

Following the completion of the golf course design process, Gil Hanse welcomed Golf Channel cameras for an exclusive tour of the golf course. Hanse shares insight on the course’s front and back nines, and explains what went into constructing an ideal venue fit for a global Olympic test for both the men’s and women’s competitions. Golf Channel Digital features the respective front and back nine tours:

Frank Nobilo’s Tee-to-Greens Prepare Viewers for New Venue

Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo spent time in Rio filming his signature Tee-to-Greens segments on the Olympic Golf Course. Nobilo details which holes will likely prove pivotal as players compete for their chance to win an Olympic medal. Golf Channel Digital highlights Nobilo’s Tee-to-Greens segments:

Olympic Athlete, Basketball Coach Doug Collins Joins Feherty for a Special Episode Premiering Monday, August 1

Next Monday, August 1, former Olympic athlete (1972 Munich Summer Games) and basketball coach Doug Collins will join David Feherty at 9 p.m. ET on the latest episode of Feherty. Among other topics, Collins recounts having been on the losing end of the controversial 1972 gold medal game between the United States and the Soviet Union, and what it was like to have coached Michael Jordan.

NBC SPORTS’ GOLF OLYMPIC PROGRAMMING PLANS

Men’s Olympic Golf Broadcast Team (August 11-14)

Johnny Miller, World Golf Hall-of-Famer and NBC analyst of more than 25 years will lead the network’s live tournament coverage of the men’s competition, rotating lead analyst roles with six-time major champion and Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. David Feherty, Emmy-nominated sports personality and longtime golf broadcaster, will split time as a tower analyst and on-course reporter, and Peter Jacobsen will serve as a second tower analyst. Roger Maltbie and Curt Byrum will offer insight from inside the ropes as on-course reporters along with Feherty. Veteran NBC Olympic personalities Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will join Miller and Faldo in the broadcast booth, rotating play-by-play duties. Todd Lewis will serve as a reporter and conduct player interviews.

Women’s Olympics Golf Broadcast Team (August 17-20)

Gannon and Sands also will handle play-by-play during the women’s competition, where they’ll be joined by two additional Hall-of-Fame personalities in 10-time major champion and winner of 72 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam, who will rotate lead analyst duties with Karen Stupples. Byrum also will join the 18th tower as an analyst, while Tom Abbott will be positioned as a tower analyst, and Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill will work as on-course reporters on the grounds. Lewis will conduct player interviews.

Live From the Olympics News Coverage Team

Golf Channel will provide wraparound news coverage immediately prior to and following live coverage of the competition via its Golf Central Live From the Olympics programming. Rich Lerner will host coverage from Rio’s Olympic golf course and will be joined by Faldo (men’s competition) and Stupples (women’s competition), as well as Golf Channel’s roster of analysts taking part in the network’s live coverage of the Olympics. Golf Channel insider Rex Hoggard and Lewis also will provide daily reports and offer interviews with players on-site.

Golf Makes Historic Return to the Olympics

Golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years represents a modern-day first as Golf Channel joins NBC Sports’ unmatched Olympic heritage to become the first single-sport cable network to provide live coverage of its sport’s Olympic competition. Golf Channel will feature more than 130 live hours of Olympics programming, and nearly 300 hours in total. Similar to NBC Sports’ all-encompassing coverage of marquee events like the Ryder Cup, NBC Olympics’ live coverage of the men’s and women’s competitions in Rio will begin with the opening tee shot and continue until the medals are awarded.

The International Olympic Committee in 2009 voted to bring golf back to the Olympics for the 2016 and 2020 games, after the sport had been absent in the Olympic program since the men’s competition in 1904 and women’s in 1900. Athletes will compete on the newly constructed Olympic Golf Course, which was designed by Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott in Reserva Marapendi, located in Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca. Additionally, Olympic gold medalists will receive exemptions into all of their respective major championships, including: The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2017 for the men, and the Evian Championship (in 2016) and ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, and Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 for the women.

NBC will feature live look-ins, highlights and updates on the golf competition throughout the Games. All Olympic competition, including golf, will be live streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, (Powered by Playmaker Media), both of which require authentication.

The Olympic golf competition will consist of 60 players on both the men’s and women’s side, competing in a 72-hole stroke play competition based on world golf rankings. The top-15 players in the official world golf rankings are eligible, with a maximum of four players allowed from a given nation. Outside of the top-15, each nation is allowed a maximum of two players (based on world ranking). If a country has already qualified two or more players within the top-15, additional athletes are not eligible.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.