Broadcast Team Announced
Beginning Jan. 23 with the MasterCard Championship, the lineup will feature a tandem of squads that will share the action in the booth for The Golf Channels 26-tournament schedule in 2004.
The roster will include veteran golf broadcaster Jim Kelly, The Golf Channels Rich Lerner, and former PGA Tour players Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo.
According to The Golf Channel Executive Producer Tony Tortorici, the two-team concept will bring a wealth of experience and provide variety for viewers over an extensive schedule of events.
Were very excited for our viewers because weve got a great cast of broadcasters for a great season of Champions Tour golf, he said.
Were looking forward to a great season in 2004 with The Golf Channel, said Champions Tour President Rick George. The teams of Rich Lerner/Brandel Chamblee and Jim Kelly/Frank Nobilo will present viewers at home with an ideal mix of familiar and fresh voices that will bring energy, enthusiasm and a new face to Golf Channel telecasts of the Champions Tour.
Veteran golf broadcaster Jim Kelly will return to the Champions Tour television booth as host/commentator with Frank Nobilo expanding his role with The Golf Channel team as an analyst.
Kelly, who has more than 30 years of award-winning golf broadcasting experience with CBS, ESPN and NBC Sports, comes over from his previous role as host of Champions Tour events on CNBC.
Nobilo, a native New Zealander whose playing career was cut short due to injuries, has made previous Golf Channel appearances as a guest analyst for the Sprint Pre/Post Game.
The 1998 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic champion also enjoyed five victories on the European Tour, was two-time New Zealand PGA champion and a three-time member of The Presidents Cup.
The other team will feature Rich Lerner as host and Brandel Chamblee as analyst.
Lerner, a member of The Golf Channels on-air team, has served the network in a number of capacities, including anchor, reporter and essayist for Golf Central, and host of various original specials and documentaries.
In 2003, he teamed with Donna Caponi as the primary host for The Golf Channels coverage of the LPGA Tour. He also has hosted The Golf Channels coverage of early-round PGA Tour competition.
Chamblee, who has played on the PGA Tour since 1985 and is the 1998 Greater Vancouver Open champion, will be making a full-time transition from the tour to the broadcast booth, where he has gained previous experience with The Golf Channel and garnered excellent reviews for his tournament reporting with ABC Sports.
An All-American at the University of Texas, his career highlights include sharing the first-round lead at the Masters in 1999 and in finishing among the Top-100 on the PGA Tour money list for the sixth straight year in 2000. In addition to analyst duties for the Champions Tour, Chamblee also will join The Golf Channels Sprint Pre/Post Game show.
Through 2008, The Golf Channel will be the exclusive cable television home of the Champions Tour and will produce all of its own tournament telecasts. Each telecast will be replayed on the network ' the majority in prime time ' and the tour also will receive ancillary coverage throughout The Golf Channel programming schedule, including Golf Central, Sprint Pre & Post Game, Golf Talk and a weekly, 30-minute Champions Tour Learning Center show.
Other programs planned include a season preview, a mid-year review, and a special look at the road to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.
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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.
Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.
But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.
“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”
Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.
“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”
After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.
In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.
No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.
Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.
“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”
And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.
Let it go.
Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.
“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”
It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.
During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.
Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.
“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.
McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.
It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.
“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”
The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.
Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.
The only thing left to do?
Let it go.
Z. Johnson may have to pay for the jet home
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Zach Johnson will have some bragging rights when he gets back to the ultimate golf frat house on Friday after a second-round 67 moved him into the lead at The Open.
Johnson is rooming with Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler this week at Carnoustie. It’s a tradition that began two years ago at Royal Troon.
Kisner joked on Thursday after he took the first-round lead that the perks for the house/tournament front-runner were limited: “I probably get to eat first,” he said.
There is, however, one running wager.
“Two years ago we, I don't know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” said Johnson, who added that because of varying travel arrangements, the wager might not be needed this year. “I didn't pay last year. Somebody else did.”
Spieth won last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale.
Despite the expense, Johnson said he didn’t know how much it costs to charter a private flight back to the United States, but it’s a good problem to have.
“I’d be happy to fork it over,” he smiled.