When TGC Turns 20 Then What


This has been an interesting month or so at the ol Golf Channel. In the weeks leading up to our official 10-year anniversary, producers and on-air folks have been grinding away at special programming to relive the past 10 years in golf. January 17th was the big day.

Its been a wild ride. I remember working as a sports anchor in the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids/Battle Creek, Mich., television market. The call came in about a start-up Golf Channel, which I thought was a great idea.
Without a completed studio to show off, but with a January 17, 1995, launch date as the target, TGC flew me down for an interview that went very well. Apparently liking what they heard and had seen from me, they offered me the job as reporter-anchor.
I had come by myself (on their first class ticket, which was impressive), and stayed at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. But given their urgency to keep the process moving, they needed a quick answer. I remember calling my wife from a Chilis restaurant in Orlando and trying to make a decision. I needed a couple days, I told them.
Two days granted, I flew home (on their coach ticket, which was a bit unnerving) to talk it over with my wife. Ill never forget it. We stayed up all night searching for pros and cons. Ultimately the risk of uncertainty and the fear of TGC failing was outweighed by the potential for being a part of something spectacular ' from the ground floor up.
Decision made, I was on board. I remember telling my news director in Kalamazoo, Mich., about the job I had been offered and had accepted. The Gulf Channel? Whats that? he asked. I laugh about it to this day. His name was Mike ' one of the best bosses Ive ever had. And he could play the game, too. He thought it was some sort of Gulf Coast news station searching for a sports anchor.
In the end, it was nothing but support. And now, 10 years later, those friends and family that wondered where we were headed, have a lot to look back on.
So all that as a backdrop - and with 10 years of great golf to cover and talk about - lets look ahead to what we MIGHT just be talking about when The Golf Channel turns 20.
Heres 10 years of TGC experience and my LUCKY 7 as to what might be on January 17, 2015:
1. The Golf Channel reaches as many homes as any other cable network. Also carries numerous PGA Tour events, along with being the dominant home for every other professional tour.
2. Tiger Woods about to hit 40 years of age (I know this to be true). Hes tallied at least eight more majors. Hard to believe he wouldnt average close to one a year. Dont be fooled, however, those eight or so majors will not again include 15-shot runaways.
3. Ernie Els, whos 45 years old, has five more and also the career Grand Slam. Vijay Singh hits the Champions Tour with three more majors, still racking up PGA Tour titles in big numbers. Phil Mickelson has three more major victories, at least one more Masters. Adam Scott proves the best of the current young guns collecting three major titles. Chad Campbell and Zach Johnson have two majors apiece. Surprise, surprise David Duval earns one more. And someone we dont even know yet will have four! And, by the way, well see a tournament, somewhere, pay $5million to win.
4. The European Tour brags about Padraig Harrington. He dominates like no other player in Europe and wins two majors. Europe also continues its Ryder Cup success, winning more that it loses.
5. Annika Sorenstam has a change of heart on retirement, making a strong push at the 88 titles amassed by Kathy Whitworth. Shes got plenty of talent behind her, though.
6. Which brings me to Michelle Wie. Shell be 25. And for all you skeptics, shell have 15 LPGA wins including four majors ' at least.
7. The game of golf is stronger than ever. A huge growth in total players, fueled by years of hard work paying off from the First Tee program and also a leveling off of costs to play the game. The next Tiger Woods is out there somewhere.
Who really knows? Not me. Not any of us.
But the beauty of sport and golf in particular is that its nearly impossible to predict. Im certain of that. Actually, Ive been lucky enough to be living proof. The Golf Channel? Who knew how great it could really be?
And thanks, too, to all of you for being as big a part of the success as anyone or anything!
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann