Golf Channel and NBC Shine Spotlight on TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 5, 2016, 10:50 pm

More than 80 Hours of Live Television Devoted to the PGA TOUR’s Marquee Event Featuring the Year’s Top Field of Players, May 9-15

22 Hours of Live Tournament Coverage, Highlighted by One of Golf Channel and NBC’s Most Technologically Advanced Productions


The dramatic setting of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and its famous 17th hole will provide the backdrop for THE PLAYERS Championship, headlining more than 80 hours of combined live programming on Golf Channel andNBC, May 9-15.

Boasting the strongest field of the year competing on one of the world’s most iconic golf courses, THE PLAYERS Championship is one of the most-anticipated tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule. A combined 22 hours of live golf coverage will air on both Golf Channel and NBC, which will be blanketed by more than 60 live hours of comprehensive golf news, analysis and feature programming with Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS and Morning Drive.

BROADCAST TEAM: NBC’s live tournament coverage of THE PLAYERS Championship will be anchored by Dan Hicks and Hall-of-Famer Johnny Miller. Terry Gannon and Hall-of-Famer Sir Nick Faldo will host early round coverage on Golf Channel, with Hicks and Miller contributing. The remainder of the broadcast team for all four rounds will include Gary Koch (17th hole) and Peter Jacobsen (15th hole) in tower positions; David Feherty, Roger Maltbie, and Mark Rolfing walking the course; Todd Lewis and Steve Sands conducting interviews; and Jimmy Roberts providing features and essays. Feherty and Rolfing also will rotate with Koch and Jacobsen in the towers for Golf Channel’s coverage on Thursday and Friday.

Ryan Burr, Rich Lerner and Kelly Tilghman will anchor Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS coverage from TPC Sawgrass and will be joined by analysts Notah Begay, Brandel Chamblee, 1999 PLAYERS Champion David Duval, Tripp Isenhour, Frank Nobilo and Arron Oberholser. They will be joined by a team of Golf Channel reporters and contributors, including Steve Burkowski, Lewis, Rex Hoggard, John Feinstein, Tim Rosaforte and Ken Schofield. Lisa Cornwell and George Savaricas will provide updates from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando.

SPECIAL PRODUCTION ELEMENTS: All angles of the famous par-3, 17th hole and its island green will be covered by NBC’s production team with a total of nine high-definition cameras, including a microscopic lens embedded in the lip of the small bunker fronting the green, in place. Returning is the popular “Supra Cam,” a cable-suspended camera system that will fly over the body of water between the 16th and 17th greens. Golf Channel and NBC also will implement ProTracer technology on the driving range at TPC Sawgrass and on several holes throughout the course. On the par-3 17th hole, ProTracer also will track reverse flight of the tee shots from a unique angle behind the 17th green.

A camera crane operator will be stationed 150 feet in the air above the tree line showing unique shots of the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes. Another camera operator will be ferried to the small island near the 17th green, where he is marooned for approximately eight hours during live coverage, capturing player reactions from this unique angle.

Golf Channel and NBC also will continue the use of its wind-direction technology to track the wind conditions throughout the course, including tracking conditions both on the tee box and high above the par-3 17th hole. The technology was first introduced during the PGA TOUR’s Florida Swing earlier this year.

MORNING DRIVE:  Morning Drive will have a live presence on site at the TPC Sawgrass driving range beginning Tuesday with analysis, guests and features exclusive to the show. Morning Drive will begin each day with the latest news from THE PLAYERS Championship with John Cook, Matt Ginella, Damon Hack, Cara Robinson and Charlie Rymer hosting on-site.

THE GOLF FIX: Airing Monday at 6 p.m. ET, host Michael Breed will play the closing holes at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass (holes 16-18) teaching the shots the pros will hit at THE PLAYERS Championship. Breed will show viewers how to hit a draw off the 16th tee, how to hit it close on the island green on 17 and how to conquer the water off the tee on 18.

FEATURES: Throughout the week within Live From THE PLAYERS, Golf Channel’s features will include:

  • 2015 PLAYERS Championship Recap – 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler discusses his unforgettable final round last year and how the biggest win of his career has taken him from a popular yet unproven player to a confident, verified star on the PGA TOUR.
  • Club Donation – After winning THE PLAYERS Championship, the champion donates one of his clubs back to TPC Sawgrass who puts it on display. Matt Ginella takes a look at which clubs former winners picked to donate and why.
  • What’s in a “Team” – While golf is an individual sport, players like Jordan Spieth often use the words “we” and “team.” This feature will take a close examination at the growing trend of players and their “teams” on the PGA TOUR.
  • The Mental Pressure of the Closing Holes at TPC Sawgrass – Rich Lerner sits down with the game’s preeminent mental coaches and several players to discuss the mental grind the players go through on the finishing stretch of holes at THE PLAYERS Championship.

DIGITAL CONTENT:  Golf Channel Digital will feature expanded editorial content during THE PLAYERS Championship week, with up-to-the-minute blogs and fan interaction, including:

  • News & Features      writers Will Gray, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner, and Randall Mell will report      from TPC Sawgrass throughout the week.
  • Exclusive Video Content      will provide video updates daily throughout the week from the network’s      digital studio in Orlando, as well as segments from Golf Central Live From      THE PLAYERS and Morning Drive news coverage.

STREAMING ON GOLF LIVE EXTRA/NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA:  All the news and tournament action surrounding THE PLAYERS Championship can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online through the help of Golf Channel’s Golf Live Extra. Fans also can stream NBC Sports’ coverage of live golf with NBC Sports Live Extra.

Golf Channel/NBC programming from THE PLAYERS Championship, May 9-15 (all times Eastern):

Monday, May 9  
Morning Drive 7-9 a.m.
The Golf Fix 6-7 p.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 7-8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 10  
Morning Drive 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-5 pm. / 7-9 p.m.
Wednesday, May 11  
Morning Drive 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-5 p.m. / 7-9 p.m.
Thursday, May 12  
Morning Drive 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
THE PLAYERS Championship   (Round 1) 1-7 p.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 7-9 p.m.
Friday, May 13  
Morning Drive 7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
THE PLAYERS Championship   (Round 2) 1-7 p.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 7-9 p.m.
Saturday, May 14  
Morning Drive  7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
THE PLAYERS Championship   (Round 3) 2-7 p.m. (NBC)
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 7-9 p.m.
Sunday, May 15  
Morning Drive  7-9 a.m.
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
THE PLAYERS Championship   (Final Round) 2-7 p.m. (NBC)
Golf Central Live From THE   PLAYERS 7-9 p.m.
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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

But then . . .

“Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

Park’s back with a hot putter.

That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

“The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

“But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

“I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

“She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

“I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

“When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

“This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

“First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

“I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

“I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

“I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

“You never know,” she said.