Golf has an abundance of compelling, real-life stories waiting to be told about the game and the characters that inhabit it. Golf Channel’s new original series, In Play with Jimmy Roberts, will scour the globe to uncover the most compelling stories in golf, premiering Tuesday, March 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET and returning monthly.
Host and managing editor Jimmy Roberts, a 13-time Emmy Award-winner at ESPN and NBC Sports, has drawn critical acclaim for telling stories in sports during his distinguished career, which includes covering 14 Olympics for multiple networks.
'If you tell stories in this business, there are three things you hope for: resources, time and something compelling to talk about,” said Roberts. “With In Play, we are so fortunate to have the first two via Golf Channel, and that will provide us with the exciting challenge each month to search for the third. Fortunately, the depth of content related to the game of golf is rich with great stories from all corners of the globe and all levels of the sport.'
'At each Olympics for decades, viewers have laughed, cried and been inspired by stories told by Jimmy Roberts. In Play will continue in the rich NBC Sports tradition of storytelling, by now turning the lens on compelling stories related to golf,” said Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel.
The series will chronicle stories ranging from celebrities to everyday people who are all unified by the sport. Early scheduled features include:
• Golf Vistas From Behind Bars – Sentenced to prison for a murder he claims he did not commit, Valentino Dixon has spent the past 21 years in Attica State Prison in Upstate New York. Eligible for parole in 2030, Dixon has never played a round of golf or even picked up a golf club. However, he passes the time in his cell drawing famous golf holes from around the world. Interviews include Dixon, his childhood art teacher Charlotte Ross, and Lamar Scott, who also is serving a life sentence but claims he committed the crime Dixon was convicted for more than two decades ago.
• Kidnapped: But Golf Saved My Life – While serving as an editor for the Atlanta Constitution, Reg Murphy was the victim of a kidnapping in 1974. He credits golf with helping him survive while being locked in the trunk of a car during the 49-hour ordeal – survived mentally by visualizing a recent round shot by shot at Augusta National, home of The Masters. Later becoming the president of the United States Golf Association, Murphy shares his harrowing tale with Jimmy Roberts.
• Mission to Israel – When the PGA TOUR's Hunter Mahan, Michael Thompson, Tiger Woods' coach Sean Foley, and LPGA Hall-of-Famer Amy Alcott were invited on a peace mission to Israel in late November 2012, the intent was to use the game of golf to help bring two different societies together – Palestinian and Israeli youths. Halfway through the mission, however, the group found themselves near the conflict between Hamas and Israel, with airstrikes hitting near the golf course used by the peace mission. Golf Channel cameras captured video from the real-world conflict and reactions from the players on the peace mission.
• The King’s Warehouse – Latrobe, Pa., is an iconic location in American golf as the home of the sport’s most famous player, Arnold Palmer. In a massive warehouse is a treasure trove of memorabilia that Palmer has collected over the years. Rich Lerner joins The King for a rare tour.
• Divots of Depression: Christina Kim – With her robust, upbeat persona, LPGA professional Christina Kim seems an unlikely victim of depression. Known for her incandescent smile and her full-throttle cheering at the Solheim Cup, Kim found herself in that unlikely position in April 2011, wrestling with depression and contemplating suicide.
Golf Channel contributors who are already working on stories for In Play with Jimmy Roberts, includes Damon Hack, who covered golf for The New York Times and Sports Illustrated and Golf Channel’s veteran on-air hosts Rich Lerner and Kelly Tilghman, and Golf World senior writer Tim Rosaforte. The series’ supervising producer, Israel DeHerrera, is an 11-time Emmy Award-winning producer who most recently oversaw a slate of documentary features during NBC’s Olympic coverage from London.