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ABC Cuts Away from Buick Classic

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Television viewers got only a few glimpses of the final two holes of Sergio Garcia's playoff victory in the Buick Classic on Sunday after ABC ended its coverage to show 'America's Funniest Home Videos.'
Garcia, Rory Sabbatini and Padraig Harrington were on the second tee of the second playoff hole when the network cut away at 7 p.m. EDT.
Garcia ended up beating Sabbatini on the third extra hole, with ABC's sister network, ESPN, showing only a few shots on its 'Baseball Tonight' program.
'Their agreement with the tour does give them the right to leave the telecast at 7 p.m. Eastern,' said Bob Combs, the PGA Tour's senior vice president of public relations and communications. 'We're disappointed with the amount of coverage once they switched over. We expected them to show more shots. ... The balance wasn't what we expected.'
The playoff added to a tedious weekend for ABC, which ended its Saturday coverage at 6 p.m. EDT as scheduled with the final groups in the middle of the back nine.
'We stayed as long as we could,' ABC spokesman Mark Mandel said. 'The show went more than a half an hour longer than was programmed.
'When we can, we try in these circumstances to switch the programming, in this case over to ESPN or ESPN2. Obviously, they couldn't accommodate. We're very sorry about having to frustrate our viewers.
'It was just a matter of trying to make sure that we lived up to our commitment to viewers who were expecting to see certain programming.'
Some players took more than five hours to complete their rounds Saturday and Sunday, in large part because most attempted to reach the par 5s in two and many tried to drive the two short par 4s, creating a logjam on the short Westchester Country Club course.
Because of the problem, the players were grouped in threesomes in the final round with 11-minute intervals between groups. They played in twosomes Saturday with eight- and nine-minute intervals.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Buick Classic
  • Full Coverage - Buick Classic
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