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.
Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.