NBC Sports Group Kicks Off PGA TOUR's Florida Swing and Six Consecutive Tournament Weeks

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 23, 2015, 3:20 pm

Golf Channel’s Weekend Spotlight Coverage Showcasing “The Bear Trap” Closing Stretch at PGA National Resort & Spa

Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks’ Partnership Begins 16th Year for Golf Channel on NBC, Setting All-Time Network Record for 18th Hole Broadcast Tandem

Morning Drive Welcomes Cara Robinson as New Co-Host

 

Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC will present 23 live hours of The Honda Classic this week, as the PGA TOUR moves east for the Florida Swing and NBC Sports Group kicks off exclusive coverage of the TOUR’s next six weeks.

The Honda Classic, with 16 of the top-25 players in the world in the field, will feature marquee names, such as World No. 1 Rory McIlroy – making his U.S. debut in 2015 – Sergio Garcia (7), Justin Rose (8), Martin Kaymer (11), Rickie Fowler (12), Hideki Matsuyama (14), Patrick Reed (15), Victor Dubuisson (16), Billy Horschel (17), Phil Mickelson (18) and Brooks Koepka (19).

Hicks & Miller Set Record:  Leading Golf Channel on NBC’s weekend coverage will be Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller, who will begin their 16th year as play-by-play announcer and lead analyst, which sets a record in golf for the longest-tenured 18th-hole broadcasting tandem for any network.  Joining Hicks and Miller will be Gary Koch, Roger Maltbie, Peter Jacobsen, Notah Begay and Steve Sands.  Calling the action for Golf Channel’s early round coverage will be Terry Gannon and Frank Nobilo, supported by the NBC crew, as well as Todd Lewis and Angela Hamann reporting for Golf Central.

Spotlight Coverage:  Golf Channel’s Spotlight Coverage debuts in 2015 at The Honda Classic, featuring live action of players navigating what has become one of the toughest three-hole stretches in golf and complementing Golf Channel on NBC’s award-winning traditional coverage.  While NBC is on the air live with traditional coverage, Golf Channel also will be on the air live, but focusing on “The Bear Trap,” encompassing Nos. 15-17 on the Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA National Champion Course.  Calling the action will be Bob Papa, Curt Byrum, Tom Abbott and Jerry Foltz.

The Honda Classic – Live Tournament Airtimes

Wednesday     5-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel Pro-Am coverage)

Thursday         2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live traditional coverage)

Friday              2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live traditional coverage)

Saturday          1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live lead-in coverage)

Saturday          3-6 p.m. ET (NBC live traditional coverage)

Saturday          3-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live Spotlight Coverage)

Sunday             1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live lead-in coverage)

Sunday             3-6 p.m. ET (NBC live traditional coverage)

Sunday             3-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live Spotlight Coverage)

Exclusive PGA TOUR Coverage:  The Honda Classic will commence six consecutive weeks of PGA TOUR action on Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC, including:

  • The Honda Classic, PGA National Resort & Spa – Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (Feb. 26-March 1)
  • World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship – Trump National Doral, Doral, Fla. (March 5-8)
  • Puerto Rico Open – Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico (March 5-8)
  • Valspar Championship – Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Palm Harbor, Fla. (March 12-15)
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational – Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Orlando, Fla. (March 19-22)
  • Valero Texas Open – TPC San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas (March 26-29)
  • Shell Houston Open – Redstone Golf Club, Humble, Texas (April 2-5)

Cara Robinson Joins Morning Drive:  English sports television presenter Cara Robinson will make her on-air debut as the newest co-host for Morning Drive on Thursday, Feb. 26.  A London native, Robinson brings extensive experience in television and golf. She most recently served as host of Golfing World, a weekly, internationally distributed program that travels to golf’s biggest events to conduct player interviews and features about all aspects of the game.  She also participated in @TheOpenLIVE, a live digital telecast of the Open Championship, and has contributed as a studio host and reporter for productions surrounding Wimbledon, World’s Strongest Man, rugby and tennis at the London 2012 Olympics.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x