Golf Channel Masters Week Coverage to Feature More than 80 Live Hours of News, Analysis & Highlights

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 31, 2015, 6:20 pm

Masters Week Kicks Off Sunday With Five Hours of Live Coverage of the 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals from Augusta National Golf Club 

Masters Greats, Including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd Expected to Join the Live From the Masters Set During the Week 

Compelling Features Include an Intimate Portrait of Masters Defending Champion Bubba Watson’s Family Life; the Rise of Rory McIlroy; Tiger’s Dramatic – and Last – Masters Win in 2005; the Lore of Augusta National’s Famous 12th Hole; and More Also Providing News, Features, Perspective and Analysis; Plus Video Reports from On-Air Personalities and Writers From Augusta  

Coverage Culminates by Remembering Ben Crenshaw’s Special Relationship with the Masters in Golf Channel Films’ Premiere of Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET

Masters Week begins on Sunday, April 5, with live coverage of the 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals followed on Monday with the start of the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters signature coverage. This year, Golf Channel will offer more than 80 total hours of live news and themed Masters programming from Augusta National Golf Club and Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando. The week will be capped on Monday, April 13, with the premiere of Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, the latest production by Emmy-nominated Golf Channel Films, which debuted the award-winning Arnie after last year’s Masters.

Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals

On the eve of the Masters Tournament, 80 national finalists – representing boys and girls from across the U.S. and Canada – will experience a thrill of a lifetime by competing at Augusta National Golf Club in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals. Golf Channel will feature five hours of live coverage of the event, including an hour-long pre-game show at 8 a.m. ET followed by four hours of live competition beginning at 9 a.m. ET. The Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development open to boys and girls competing in separate skills divisions (driving, chipping, putting) in four age categories (7-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15). Rich Lerner will provide play-by-play commentary, with Peter Jacobsen as lead analyst. Reporting from the field of competition will be Michael Breed, Charlie Rymer, Kay Cockerill, Steve Sands and Jimmy Roberts. Profiles on several of the national finalists will continue to air on Golf Channel leading up to the event.

Golf Central’s Live From the Masters

Golf Channel’s signature news coverage of golf’s biggest events will dominate the network’s programming schedule during Masters Week with more than 50 live hours featured throughout the day and in primetime. Anchoring Live From the Masters coverage from Augusta National Golf Club will be Rich Lerner, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Notah Begay, David Duval, Steve Sands, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte and Todd Lewis. Reporting from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando will be Kelly Tilghman, Ryan Burr, Arron Oberholser, Tripp Isenhour and Jim Gallagher Jr.

Other guests scheduled to appear throughout the week include Masters champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd and Ben Crenshaw, who will be playing in his last Masters and has been a guest on Live From the Masters since 2009.

Live From the Masters Scheduled Features (previews available upon request):

  • Family Man – John Feinstein provides an inside look at how the golfer, Bubba Watson, became a family man.
  • Rory’s Rise – Steve Sands follows the story of Rory McIlroy’s rise to World No. 1, highlighted by an in-depth interview with McIlroy, as well as commentary by journalists who cover the game, including Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz and the BBC’s Steve Watson.
  • The Grand Slam – Achieving the modern-day Grand Slam is most improbable for most professional golfers. But capturing all four major championships during the span of a career may be an aspiration for some. What is it about the elusive Grand Slam that captures our attention? Rich Lerner reports.
  • Gentle Ben – As a companion to Golf Channel Films’ Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, this feature covers Crenshaw’s last Masters and the special relationship he has had with Augusta National throughout his career.
  • The 12th – August National’s 12th hole, Golden Bell, has proven pivotal throughout the history of the Masters. Players and journalists will discuss what makes this hole so special and recall memorable moments.
  • Green Jacket Stories – Not unlike Lord Stanley’s Cup, a Masters Green Jacket can travel the world with its reigning champion. George Savaricas explores some of the best Green Jacket stories in history, with details about where it’s been and some of the ways it’s been showed off by its recipients.
  • Tiger 10 Years Later – It’s been 10 years since Tiger Woods won his fourth and final Masters, with a dramatic, playoff win over Chris DiMarco. During the intervening years, Woods has endured challenging times on and off the golf course. Rich Lerner remembers just how impressive Tiger was, and how he might regain the form that made him the most impressive athlete of his generation. Included are interviews with DiMarco, Michael Jordan and NFL Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.
  • Closer LookLive From the Masters also will feature sit-down profiles with:
    • Rickie Fowler – yet to nab the big one, Fowler talks about getting tougher on the course and adopting a killer instinct that may lead him to his first major championship victory.
    • Jordan Spieth – find out what he learned from his near miss at last year’s Masters.
    • Jason Day – frequently on the cusp of a major championship, Day talks about his game and relationship with caddie Col Swatton.

Morning Drive

Morning Drive will kick off each morning of Masters Week with the latest news and commentary. Analysts Charlie Rymer and Chris DiMarco will be reporting live from Augusta National throughout the week. And Gary Williams, Damon Hack, Cara Robinson, Lauren Thompson and John Cook will be getting the day started from Studio AP at Golf Channel’s World Headquarters.

Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta

Throughout a Hall-of-Fame career, Ben Crenshaw’s special relationship with the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club is what he has held most dear. Golf Channel Films provides a life retrospective in Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, premiering Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET. Featuring interviews with family, friends and fellow pros – and behind-the-scenes footage with Crenshaw – the film also features rarely seen home movies and highlights of Crenshaw’s ’84 and ’95 Masters victories, punctuated by emotional stories of relationships with late teacher Harvey Penick and caddie Carl Jackson.

The Golf Fix: Conquering Augusta National

Hosted by 2012 PGA Professional Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, The Golf Fix will air on Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m. ET and focus on how players in the Masters field can prepare for Augusta National Golf Club. Featured within the show: the keys to playing Augusta National’s par-5s, the proper trajectory for hitting out of Augusta’s greenside bunkers, and how to putt on the course’s fast-breaking greens.

Digital Coverage will feature expanded coverage from its team of writers on-site in Augusta. Content will include news reports, feature stories and exclusive video from reporters and Golf Channel on-air personalities.


Masters Week Programming Air Times (all times ET):

Sunday, April 5

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8-9 a.m.                       Live from the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship

9 a.m.-1 p.m.              Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals

3-5 p.m.                       Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals (replay, subject to change per live tournament coverage)

Monday, April 6

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-1 p.m.               Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals (replay, subject to change per news conference schedule)

1-5 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

5-6 p.m.                       Masters Highlights: 2005-Tiger Woods

6-7 p.m.                       The Golf Fix

7-8:30 p.m.                  Live From the Masters

Tuesday, April 7

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-6 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Wednesday, April 8

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

6-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Thursday, April 9

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.             Live From the Masters

Friday, April 10

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.             Live From the Masters

Saturday, April 11

6-9:30 a.m.                  Morning Drive

9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.          Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Sunday, April 12

6-9:30 a.m.                  Morning Drive

9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.          Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Monday, April 13

10-11 p.m.                   Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta

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DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

“When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

And that was an offseason event.

“They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

“Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”

Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.

Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

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CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream:

Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Phil Mickelson

* This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

* For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

* He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

* This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.

Jon Rahm

* Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

* In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

* Last year he finished T-34 in this event.

Adam Hadwin

* Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

* In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Brian Harman

* Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

* Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

* Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Brandt Snedeker

* Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

* This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

* Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.

Patrick Reed

* Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

* This is his first start of 2018.

* Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)