The anticipation for Rd. 1 was so big. and not just for those of you at home. When Mike Ritz and David Marr began updates Thursday morning at 9 a.m., the Noon Live From the Masters gang was prepping in our newsroom, and just when that show kicked in, there was another meeting to get ready for the 7 p.m. edition of Live From the Masters.
Its hardly a small cast. Producer Matt Hegarty and director Rick Monte handle the early 'Live From'.. and Lead Producer Eric Saperstein and Director Eric Rutledge handle the prime-time 'Live From' broadcast.
The on-air folks included Inga Hammond, Vince Cellini, Frank Nobilo, Brandel Chamblee, Brian Hewitt and myself. Two hours before air-time we are huddled in our newsroom discussing Hegartys rundown of ideas.
That hardly includes the meetings on-site at Augusta where Rich Lerner, Kelly Tilghman, Steve Sands and Scott McCarron, among others, were preparing for their part in the show.
Our start time was four hours prior to network coverage which is actually dictated by your interest at home. Fact is, you all have watched each and every year with such enthusiasm for this major that we continue to add hours and manpower and shows.
So how does it work? And who helps guys like Vince Cellini and myself and the ladies like Inga and Kelly sound knowledgeable?
Long before you see us at noon, there is a collection of some 40 people getting ready behind the scenes. Our lead producer Eric is not only overseeing the days entire coverage and assigning folks to various projects, but hes also working on a variety of statistics and video highlights to best assess the days play at Augusta National.
Saperstein is the boss, but he has help coordinating tapes from various folks who watch and keep a running log of every shot shown on television that day. There is a person (Bret Brilliante) whos sole job is to provide a reel of shots for countless players we might talk about. So when Brandel Chamblee discusses Brett Wetterich, Bret Brilliante has him covered.
There is a highlights producer (Chris Datres) whose job is to put together the best two minutes of highlights from the day, and then add a few shorter versions we might use later in the coverage. Another person (Mike Mc Eown) edits what we call re-teases which lets you know whats coming up in the next few segments.
Alex Byrd is responsible for putting together interview segments from the leaders that come in from Augusta National. Reed Burton is one of our new additions at GOLF CHANNEL. Hes our research man who supplies on-air folks like myself with statistics and brings that information to our folks who put the graphics together that you see on the air.
The tease is what you see at the beginning of the show. One man's job which takes hours to produce. Chris DeCelle is responsible this week. Did you see Arnold Palmers ceremonial tee shot on Thursday? Amy Rogers edited that together. And if you saw Rich Lerners Championship Journal it was Richs writing but Ben Elishas effort to match the pictures to the words that brings it home on television.
Those are just some of the names in the newsroom on this day and of course there are so many more whove been working for months on features that will only see a few minutes of time this week
And the folks in the studio - behind the camera ' are putting in long hours prepping cameras and lighting among other things long before the show kicks off at noon.
Ken Garren is the leader of the most personable team Ive worked with in my television career. No less than 12 people handle cameras, lighting and audio. No chance of doing it without guys like Howard Schain, Jeff Kozak, James Murphey and Jonathon Renuart who handle technical production and camera operation. Derreck Beauregard was in charge of audio, and had help from Steve Specht, Jim McCabe and Rick Alexander.
The noon edition or early edition of 'Live From...' is a blend of informative chaos. Truth is that while we all do our homework and bring countless articles and handwritten notes and media guides to the set, once the first tee ball is struck, we react to whos doing well and whos not.
Scorecards and updates are constant, and there is always a producer and or director talking in my ear about whats coming next. If Inga and Vince and I do our jobs well, you dont notice. Its actually our technical directors Gary Ruchlin, Richard Rothhaus and Alex Tallon who push the buttons as directors Monte and Rutledge bark out the signals.
So it's four hours from Noon to 4 p.m. before network coverage. Then a 30 minute or so breather to grab a bite to eat (while watching the coverage) before another meeting among our producers, hosts and analysts to assess the days play and get ready for our prime-time 'Live From.' Before you know it were on the air again.
Features on Arnold Palmer as the ceremonial starter came your way. Jeev Milka Singh was in the spotlight in prime-time. Of course theres plenty good banter about the favorites like Woods and Mickelson, Els and Singh. And certainly there is a collection of interviews with the leaders and reaction to all of the days biggest stories.
But our goal - and we talk about this all the time ' is to bring you a feel inside the ropes, and to keep you informed about all the players who seemingly have a chance or at least a good story to tell.
And if weather is the story.. weve got that too, as Stephanie Abrams joins us from the Weather Channel.
Its a daily thrill ride that comes four times a year (six if you include the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup).
I arrived just after 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, and finished our nights 'Live From' coverage at about 10 p.m. In between, meetings and a nose to the computer reading wire stories and various newspapers to get ready for showtimes, I was a guest on three radio shows around the country discussing round one.
Its just after 11 p.m. on Thursday night, the make-up is off and the bag is packed. Its time to head home, catch some sleep and wake-up ready to do it all again.
Round 2 comes quickly. And truth is, the anticipation of the next day and what may or may not happen is what gets me excited.
As you can see, Im hardly alone. We do it together and I hope youre enjoying the coverage!
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann