Michele Tafoya Joins Golf Channel for 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals

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Sunday Night Football’s Tafoya to Take Part in Golf Channel Telecast as a Reporter; also will Lend her Voice to Feature Stories on Finalists in the Field  

Golf Channel to Highlight the Skills of 80 Junior Golfers from Across U.S. and Canada, Live from Augusta National on Sunday, April 3 at 8 A.M. ET

Golf Channel announced today that Michele Tafoya, Emmy award-winning sports personality and sideline reporter for NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football, will join the network’s coverage team as a reporter for the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, airing live from Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 3 beginning at 8 a.m. ET.

Tafoya will report from on the grounds of golf’s most iconic venue, conducting interviews with juniors from across the U.S. and Canada having advanced into the 80-person field (boys and girls, age 7-15) by way of local qualifying, subregional and regional qualifying events. A part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football – America’s #1 primetime TV show since 2011 – she’ll also lend her voice to narrate select feature stories, providing viewers with a closer look at the personalities of a few competitors in the field.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Golf Channel’s team for this year’s Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals,” said Tafoya. “The prospect of watching these remarkable young people compete at Augusta National is truly exciting. I’m expecting the interviews with the winners to be uniquely challenging, because – unlike professional athletes – these are young amateurs who may be experiencing a happiness beyond their imaginations. It will be a privilege to share in their big moment.”

“We’re overjoyed to have Michele join our team in covering the National Finals, as her pedigree and professionalism in the sports industry speaks for itself,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive producer. “Interviewing kids requires a keen curiosity and understanding of their emotions, excitement and pride in making the National Finals. Michele is perfect for this role.”

Live From the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Pre-Game at 8 a.m. ET

Golf Channel’s live coverage of the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finalswill begin at 8 a.m. ET with a special Live From the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals pre-game show, originating from the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters set on the ground of Augusta National. Golf Channel – in its third year of televising live coverage of the National Finals – will offer insight on each competitor across the eight respective age groups (Boys/Girls 7-9; 10-11; 12-13 and 14-15). Guests scheduled to join the pre-game telecast include industry leaders Billy Payne (chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament); Diana Murphy (president, United States Golf Association); and Derek Sprague (president, PGA of America). Steve Sands will host, while Charlie Rymer and Kay Cockerill will help set the stage for the premier youth golf event.

Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Coverage, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ET

Beginning at 9 a.m. ET, coverage will shift to join the competition in progress with the individual Drive, Chip and Putt skills challenges across each age group. As competitors complete all three challenges, champions for each of the eight age groups will be awarded for each of the skill categories, along with the recognition of the overall champions from each age group.

Rich Lerner will handle play by play duties, with Peter Jacobsen joining him in the booth as lead analyst. Reporting from the Tournament Practice Area and alongside the 18th green will be Tafoya, Rymer, Cockerill and Michael Breed. Sands also will conduct interviews. Past Masters champions and Tournament Invitees are expected to arrive at Augusta National during the telecast, interacting with finalists and conducting interviews to discuss the value of the youth initiative in helping to grow the game. In addition to its on-air telecast, Golf Channel also will dedicate pre- and post-event coverage on its daily news shows, Golf Central and Morning Drive, and on GolfChannel.com.

The Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals will kick off Golf Channel’s weeklong coverage of the Masters, which will feature nearly 60 live hours of the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters news coverage, focusing on emerging storylines, analysis, features and guest interviews, beginning Monday, April 4.

For more information,visit DriveChipandPutt.com.