You see them in front of the camera reporting golf scores and news, but here's a quick look at some of Golf Channel's on-air talent behind closed doors. This week it's Tom Abbott. An England native, Abbott dons several hats for Golf Channel, including studio host and commentator for Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage of the European Tour, anchor and reporter for Golf Central and play-by-play host for the network’s LPGA coverage.
Dream golfing vacation? Going down to Melbourne and playing the Sandbelt courses would be a trip I’d love to make. I’d also venture down to New Zealand and play Cape Kidnappers.
What is the hardest thing about being a golf broadcaster? Staying fit and eating healthy whilst being away at tournaments.
Favorite sandwich/food? Anything home-cooked. Every so often, I work an event in England and can drive to my parents' house in London on a Sunday evening to a home-cooked meal, there’s nothing better. I’m also a big fan of frozen yogurt and the toppings.
Favorite personal blooper reel moment? During a live LPGA broadcast a few years ago, we showed a list of former NCAA champions. All of the recent winners were recognizable names apart from one, Sarah Huarte in 2004. On-air, I asked Judy Rankin about Huarte and like me she had no idea what Huarte was doing. She gave me a “I can’t believe you’ve just thrown me under the bus' stare and said “I’m sorry Tom, I can’t speak to that.” I learned a valuable lesson: Protect your analyst, and they’ll do the same for you. Judy still gives me a hard time for catching her off-guard even to this day. Huarte, by the way, is now the women’s golf coach at the University of San Francisco. Aside from that blunder, Stephanie Sparks and I have had some hilarious moments on the set of 'Big Break,' most of which never should and never will see the light of day. Sometimes a few clips find their way on to a blooper reel which appears on golfchannel.com.
Dream fourball? Winston Churchill, Duke of Windsor and President John F. Kennedy, I’m a history buff and the conversations would be intriguing.
A little-known secret about doing live TV? The people you see and hear are a tiny part of the production. We have over 100 people involved in a 'Big Break,' and roughly 70-80 people working an LPGA or European Tour event. The whole machine wouldn’t work without every single one doing their particular role.
Funniest co-worker at Golf Channel? Golf Central producer, Ben Daughan. He is a tremendous mimic – I dread to think what he says and does when he’s imitating me in the hallways of the Golf Channel, but he has some very funny impressions. We only work together a few weeks a year, but they’re great weeks.