NBC Sports Group Tournament Airtimes & Notes: Feb. 3-7

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 2, 2016, 9:30 pm

Fowler, Watson Headline at Waste Management Phoenix Open, with NBC Sports Group Dedicating More Than 25 Hours of Live Programming On-Site 

Ko to Make 2016 Debut at Coates Golf Championship; Lee & Pettersen Paired Together for 1st Time Since Solheim Cup, Airing Wednesday-Saturday 

McIlroy Returning to Familiar Setting to Defend Omega Dubai Desert Classic 

PGA TOUR Champions Shifts to South Florida for Allianz Championship

NBC Sports Group will feature more than 25 hours of live programming from on-site TPC Scottsdale surrounding the Waste Management Phoenix Open, including tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC, and Golf Central originating from an embedded set location within the raucous par-3 16th hole “coliseum.” Veteran on-course reporter and one of golf’s most animated personalities – David Feherty – is set to make his NBC Sports Group live tournament debut as lead analyst during Thursday-Friday first and second round coverage on Golf Channel. World No. 1 Lydia Ko is set to make her first start of 2016 on the LGPA Tour at the Coates Golf Championship, airing Wednesday-Saturday on Golf Channel. Alison Lee and Suzann Pettersen are paired together for the first two rounds, which will be the first time the two will complete alongside one another since their controversial match at the 2015 Solheim Cup. World No. 3 Rory McIlroy will look to defend his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, an event he has won twice in his career. And the PGA TOUR Champions returns with the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.

 

PGA TOUR

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Dates: Feb. 4-7

Venue: TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.

 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         3-7 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)

Friday              3-7 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Saturday          1-3 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)

Sunday            1-3 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)    

 

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):

Saturday          3-6 p.m. (Live)

Sunday            3-6 p.m. (Live)

 

Broadcast Notes:

Feherty debut: David Feherty, joining NBC Sports Group exclusively in 2016 following a nearly 20-year career with CBS as an on-course reporter, will make his live tournament debut this week. Feherty will join Rich Lerner in the 18th tower as lead analyst for Golf Channel’s first and second round coverage Thursday-Friday, and he’ll transition to his familiar on-course reporter role during Saturday-Sunday afternoon coverage on NBC.

Golf Central on-site from raucous par-3 16th hole: Golf Central, the network’s signature evening news program, will originate from on-site, embedded within TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole spectator “coliseum.” The show, which will feature live news and analysis leading in and out of live tournament coverage, will be hosted by Kelly Tilghman, and feature Brandel Chamblee and Arron Oberholser as analysts, with George Savaricas providing reports and player interviews.

Largest crowds on PGA TOUR: The event attracts the largest galleries on the PGA TOUR, with a record 564,000 in attendance throughout the week in 2015, including nearly 160,000 during Saturday’s third round alone.

Koepka defends: Brooks Koepka finished one shot ahead of Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer and Bubba Watson for his first career PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.

Golf Channel / NBC Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Rich Lerner (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)

Analyst: David Feherty (Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday); Curt Byrum (Golf Channel, Saturday-Sunday); Johnny Miller (NBC)

Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen

On-Course: Roger Maltbie / Mark Rolfing / Notah Begay / David Feherty (NBC)

Interviews: Steve Sands             

 

LPGA TOUR

 

Coates Golf Championship

Dates: Feb. 3-6

Venue: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Ocala, Fla.

 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Wednesday     2-5:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-10 p.m. (Replay)

Thursday         11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) 

Friday              8-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 pm. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live)

 

Broadcast Notes:

Pettersen & Lee paired together for first time since controversial Solheim Cup match: Alison Lee and Suzann Pettersen – the two players at the center of last fall’s controversial moment in the 2015 Solheim Cup – will be paired together for the first two rounds this week. Wednesday’s opening round 12:25 p.m. ET tee time will feature Lee and Pettersen playing alongside Stacy Lewis.

Choi defends: Na Yeon Choi defeated Lydia Ko, Ha Na Jang and Jessica Korda by one stroke for her eighth LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim, Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist, Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull and Alison Lee.       

 

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Terry Gannon

Analyst: Karen Stupples

Tower: Tom Abbott

On-Course: Jerry Foltz / Kay Cockerill

Interviews: Lisa Cornwell (Thursday-Saturday)

 

EUROPEAN TOUR

 

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Dates: Feb. 4-7

Venue: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis Course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         11 p.m.-4 a.m. (Live, Wednesday Overnight) / 6:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)

Friday              2:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)

Saturday          4-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)        

Sunday            3:30-8 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Replay)

 

Broadcast Notes:

McIlroy defends: Rory McIlroy won by three shots over Alex Noren to earn his 10th career European Tour victory, and his second time winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Martin Kaymer, Bryson DeChambeau (a), Danny Willett and Lee Westwood.

 

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Studio Host: Mike Ritz

Play by Play: Julian Tutt

On-Course: Ken Brown

 

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

 

Allianz Championship

Dates: Feb. 5-7

Venue: Broken Sound Club (Old Course), Boca Raton, Fla.

 

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Friday              11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)

Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Tape delay) / 3-5 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Tape delay) / 2-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

 

Broadcast Notes:

Goydos defends: Paul Goydos finished one stroke ahead of Gene Sauers for his second career PGA TOUR Champions win.

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert, Jay Haas, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf, Mark O’Meara, Jesper Parnevik and Nick Price.

 

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Whit Watson

Analyst: Lanny Wadkins

Tower: John Mahaffey

On-Course: Billy Ray Brown / Dave Marr

-NBC Sports Group-

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”