The Sprint Days are a Marathon

RSS

Let me start by thanking you for the many comments regarding this column and the Sprint Pre and Post Game shows. Wednesday night we had some guests in our studio watching the show, including a few of the folks from our title sponsor Sprint. This happens more often than youd think.
 
So I got to thinking ' perhaps youd like to know a little bit about how the show is put together. Believe me: the 1-hour show you see on Wednesday night or Sunday night doesnt just happen.
 
Lets start with Wednesdays Sprint Pre Game. Brian Hewitt and Kelly Tilghman are regulars with me, so that part of the cast is a given. The analyst role is determined based on our Champions Tour coverage during that week. If Frank Nobilo is on the Golf Channels Champions Tour team that week, then youll see Brandel Chamblee in the studio. Likewise, if Brandels in the booth with Rich Lerner (as will be the case this week at the Ace Group Classic), then youll see Frank Nobilo with us in Orlando.
 
If the PGA Tour event that week is on CBS, Peter Oosterhuis will join us from that tournament site ' just as he did this week from Torrey Pines and the Buick Invitational. If NBC has coverage itll be Mark Rolfing. Brandel used to be our guy during ABC telecasts, but now hes exclusively a Golf Channel guy.
 
Mark Lye is playing the Champions Tour and commentating for TGC as well. That means youll see him on the show from various events, but not in studio as much as he was last year.
 
A week before the next Sprint Pre Game we put together a wish list of various tour guests. Steve Flesch is now a regular with us when hes playing the PGA Tour. By the way, I hope youre enjoying his work. Hes been pleasantly overwhelmed with favorable comments. Other live guests are determined by which events are the biggest and most interesting for that given week. If the LPGA is making the biggest news that week then we go that route.
 
Our lead producer is Eric Saperstein. He and his staff of producers begin work for Wednesdays show on Monday morning. They are assessing the stories of the week, looking back at the history of that weeks event for a proper perspective, and assembling a statistical look at the players making noise. This process requires a whole lot of research and plenty of walks to TGCs video library.
 
While Im in the office anchoring Golf Central on Monday and Tuesday, part of my time is spent reading articles, calling players for perspective and helping our staff secure guests. The same goes for Kelly, who spends Monday and Tuesday handling Your Game Night and the Grey Goose 19th Hole.
 
Brian Hewitt is one of the most thorough journalists I have ever come across. He has Golf Central duties early in the week as well but spends much of his Monday and Tuesday with his cell phone glued to his ear. You ought to see his contact list! The information he gathers gets filtered to the rest of us and is put into the show format accordingly.
 
For instance, if Phil Mickelsons agent provides some insight about his game or family or whatever, he makes sure thats part of our discussion regarding Phil. If we need a David Duval update hes on the phone and gathering the information to use in conversation that night. It might be the smallest of notes, but we feel like every little thing adds to your tournament knowledge for the week.
 
Tuesday is the day that I put my voice on the tease that you see at the beginning of the show. One of our producers is assigned the job of creating the words, the feel and the look of that segment to get the show going. We look at the script together and Ill make my adjustments. A one-minute tease might take 4 hours to assemble and edit!
 
Wednesday is show day! Our producers are in by mid-morning. Anchors are in by 1 p.m. ET and well meet at 2 p.m. The meeting is a gathering of producers and anchors; a rundown of what each of the seven segments of the show will consist of; and a batch of stories and statistics.
 
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., well go our separate ways to assemble scripts and do our own research. For Kelly, Brian and me that means phone calls to make, Internet articles from various newspapers around the world to read, and a look at video highlights or breakdowns. Brandel and/or Frank spends time in the edit rooms looking at video tape of players' swings and tough holes on that weeks courses. We may, or may not, tape an interview that you will see that night. This depends on the guests schedule. (Were not going to tell Clint Eastwood or Mike Weir that its live or else!)
 
If its Sunday, were in by 1 p.m. and watching golf tournaments together all afternoon, and deciding which storylines are critical for analysis. Thats Brandel's and Franks jobs to tell us what they want to break down.
 
Make-up (some of us need a lot) happens about one hour before showtime. Then its a final look at the rundown, a little chat among us about the direction of the show and a chat between Saperstein, producer Matthew Hegarty, me and Director Eric Rutledge -- usually not all together.
 
We now hit air at 7:30 p.m. Were on the set at 7:15, putting on microphones and doing the final checklist. At 7:30 its Hi Folks! And if were doing our jobs properly, its the beginning of an hour to inform and entertain.
 
We are all role players. Despite what some perceive, I promise you we get along. In fact, we usually go out for a bite after the show on Wednesday. Kelly has dubbed it The Pre Game Post-Game. And guess what: part of that get-together includes talk about what viewers might find interesting on the very next show!
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann