Golf Channel Masters Week Coverage to Feature More than 80 Live Hours of News, Analysis & Highlights

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 31, 2015, 6:20 pm

Masters Week Kicks Off Sunday With Five Hours of Live Coverage of the 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals from Augusta National Golf Club 

Masters Greats, Including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd Expected to Join the Live From the Masters Set During the Week 

Compelling Features Include an Intimate Portrait of Masters Defending Champion Bubba Watson’s Family Life; the Rise of Rory McIlroy; Tiger’s Dramatic – and Last – Masters Win in 2005; the Lore of Augusta National’s Famous 12th Hole; and More

GolfChannel.com Also Providing News, Features, Perspective and Analysis; Plus Video Reports from On-Air Personalities and GolfChannel.com Writers From Augusta  

Coverage Culminates by Remembering Ben Crenshaw’s Special Relationship with the Masters in Golf Channel Films’ Premiere of Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET

Masters Week begins on Sunday, April 5, with live coverage of the 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals followed on Monday with the start of the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters signature coverage. This year, Golf Channel will offer more than 80 total hours of live news and themed Masters programming from Augusta National Golf Club and Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando. The week will be capped on Monday, April 13, with the premiere of Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, the latest production by Emmy-nominated Golf Channel Films, which debuted the award-winning Arnie after last year’s Masters.

Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals

On the eve of the Masters Tournament, 80 national finalists – representing boys and girls from across the U.S. and Canada – will experience a thrill of a lifetime by competing at Augusta National Golf Club in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals. Golf Channel will feature five hours of live coverage of the event, including an hour-long pre-game show at 8 a.m. ET followed by four hours of live competition beginning at 9 a.m. ET. The Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development open to boys and girls competing in separate skills divisions (driving, chipping, putting) in four age categories (7-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15). Rich Lerner will provide play-by-play commentary, with Peter Jacobsen as lead analyst. Reporting from the field of competition will be Michael Breed, Charlie Rymer, Kay Cockerill, Steve Sands and Jimmy Roberts. Profiles on several of the national finalists will continue to air on Golf Channel leading up to the event.

Golf Central’s Live From the Masters

Golf Channel’s signature news coverage of golf’s biggest events will dominate the network’s programming schedule during Masters Week with more than 50 live hours featured throughout the day and in primetime. Anchoring Live From the Masters coverage from Augusta National Golf Club will be Rich Lerner, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Notah Begay, David Duval, Steve Sands, Mark Rolfing, Tim Rosaforte and Todd Lewis. Reporting from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando will be Kelly Tilghman, Ryan Burr, Arron Oberholser, Tripp Isenhour and Jim Gallagher Jr.

Other guests scheduled to appear throughout the week include Masters champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd and Ben Crenshaw, who will be playing in his last Masters and has been a guest on Live From the Masters since 2009.

Live From the Masters Scheduled Features (previews available upon request):

  • Family Man – John Feinstein provides an inside look at how the golfer, Bubba Watson, became a family man.
  • Rory’s Rise – Steve Sands follows the story of Rory McIlroy’s rise to World No. 1, highlighted by an in-depth interview with McIlroy, as well as commentary by journalists who cover the game, including Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz and the BBC’s Steve Watson.
  • The Grand Slam – Achieving the modern-day Grand Slam is most improbable for most professional golfers. But capturing all four major championships during the span of a career may be an aspiration for some. What is it about the elusive Grand Slam that captures our attention? Rich Lerner reports.
  • Gentle Ben – As a companion to Golf Channel Films’ Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, this feature covers Crenshaw’s last Masters and the special relationship he has had with Augusta National throughout his career.
  • The 12th – August National’s 12th hole, Golden Bell, has proven pivotal throughout the history of the Masters. Players and journalists will discuss what makes this hole so special and recall memorable moments.
  • Green Jacket Stories – Not unlike Lord Stanley’s Cup, a Masters Green Jacket can travel the world with its reigning champion. George Savaricas explores some of the best Green Jacket stories in history, with details about where it’s been and some of the ways it’s been showed off by its recipients.
  • Tiger 10 Years Later – It’s been 10 years since Tiger Woods won his fourth and final Masters, with a dramatic, playoff win over Chris DiMarco. During the intervening years, Woods has endured challenging times on and off the golf course. Rich Lerner remembers just how impressive Tiger was, and how he might regain the form that made him the most impressive athlete of his generation. Included are interviews with DiMarco, Michael Jordan and NFL Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.
  • Closer LookLive From the Masters also will feature sit-down profiles with:
    • Rickie Fowler – yet to nab the big one, Fowler talks about getting tougher on the course and adopting a killer instinct that may lead him to his first major championship victory.
    • Jordan Spieth – find out what he learned from his near miss at last year’s Masters.
    • Jason Day – frequently on the cusp of a major championship, Day talks about his game and relationship with caddie Col Swatton.

Morning Drive

Morning Drive will kick off each morning of Masters Week with the latest news and commentary. Analysts Charlie Rymer and Chris DiMarco will be reporting live from Augusta National throughout the week. And Gary Williams, Damon Hack, Cara Robinson, Lauren Thompson and John Cook will be getting the day started from Studio AP at Golf Channel’s World Headquarters.

Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta

Throughout a Hall-of-Fame career, Ben Crenshaw’s special relationship with the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club is what he has held most dear. Golf Channel Films provides a life retrospective in Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta, premiering Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET. Featuring interviews with family, friends and fellow pros – and behind-the-scenes footage with Crenshaw – the film also features rarely seen home movies and highlights of Crenshaw’s ’84 and ’95 Masters victories, punctuated by emotional stories of relationships with late teacher Harvey Penick and caddie Carl Jackson.

The Golf Fix: Conquering Augusta National

Hosted by 2012 PGA Professional Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, The Golf Fix will air on Monday, April 6 at 6 p.m. ET and focus on how players in the Masters field can prepare for Augusta National Golf Club. Featured within the show: the keys to playing Augusta National’s par-5s, the proper trajectory for hitting out of Augusta’s greenside bunkers, and how to putt on the course’s fast-breaking greens.

Digital Coverage

GolfChannel.com will feature expanded coverage from its team of writers on-site in Augusta. Content will include news reports, feature stories and exclusive video from GolfChannel.com reporters and Golf Channel on-air personalities.

 

Masters Week Programming Air Times (all times ET):

Sunday, April 5

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8-9 a.m.                       Live from the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship

9 a.m.-1 p.m.              Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals

3-5 p.m.                       Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals (replay, subject to change per live tournament coverage)

Monday, April 6

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-1 p.m.               Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals (replay, subject to change per news conference schedule)

1-5 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

5-6 p.m.                       Masters Highlights: 2005-Tiger Woods

6-7 p.m.                       The Golf Fix

7-8:30 p.m.                  Live From the Masters

Tuesday, April 7

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-6 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Wednesday, April 8

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

6-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Thursday, April 9

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.             Live From the Masters

Friday, April 10

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.               Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.             Live From the Masters

Saturday, April 11

6-9:30 a.m.                  Morning Drive

9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.          Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Sunday, April 12

6-9:30 a.m.                  Morning Drive

9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.          Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                       Live From the Masters

Monday, April 13

10-11 p.m.                   Ben Crenshaw: A Walk Through Augusta

Getty Images

"The Men In Blazers" Hosting Nightly Show From The Open, July 18-22 on NBCSN

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 1:55 pm

Show to Include Off-beat Interviews, Unique Features and Men In Blazers Distinctive Takes on The Open

VIDEO: Men In Blazers: Carnoustie Through the Years Hosting The Open

Culminating in France’s thrilling win on Sunday, NBC Sports’ critically-acclaimed The Men In Blazers – Roger Bennett and Michael Davies – have spent the past month breaking down all of the action surrounding the FIFA World Cup. However, there will be no rest for the duo as they leave behind their Panic Room studio in the “crap part of SoHo” in Manhattan to host a nightly show in conjunction with The 147TH Open. The show will feature the pair’s signature, unconventional style in providing unique takes on golf’s original championship while “sporting an arsenal of the finest golf sweaters that could be found on eBay.” Originating from Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, Men In Blazers will air nightly on NBCSN Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.

In addition to delivering a series of features for NBC Sports’ coverage surrounding The Open, the nightly Men In Blazers show on NBCSN will offer expanded highlights following each round; off-beat interviews, special guests and cameos; along with non-traditional stories highlighting cultural elements relevant to Carnoustie and The Open.

“Both Davo and I grew up with The Open being the heartbeat of our sporting year,” said Bennett. “To cover it from that beautiful monster that is Carnoustie is the honor of a lifetime. We look forward to savoring every attempt to tame Hogan’s Alley, the futile battle between man and nature, and all those ‘subtle’ Ian Poulter wardrobe changes, in equal measure.”

Dedicated features being showcased over the duration of the week include: a retrospect on past Opens having been staged at Carnoustie; an in-depth recollection of the unforgettable 1999 Open; an introduction to the second-oldest golf shop in the world; a history lesson on Carnoustie and its influence on golf around the world; and an examination of Carnoustie’s local delicacy known as “bridies”.

MEN IN BLAZERS AIRTMES FOR THE 147TH OPEN WEEK (All Times EST)

Wednesday, July 18               11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Thursday, July 19                   11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Friday, July 20                        1-1:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Saturday overnight)

Saturday, July 21                    11:30 p.m.-Midnight (NBCSN)

Sunday, July 22                      10-10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

Getty Images

Woods delofts 2-iron to use off Carnoustie tees

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 1:23 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods has been effective this season hitting a 2-iron off many tees, reverting to a version of the stinger shot he made so popular.

This week at baked out and brown Carnoustie he went to the next level, adding a new 2-iron to his bag that he bent to 17 degrees, down from his normal 20-degree version.

“I took a few degrees off of it, just trying to be able to have the ability to chase one down there,” he explained on Tuesday.

Woods said he still carries the club about the same distance, from 245 to 250 yards, but “it gets to its final destination much differently [on the ground].”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Obviously, it rolls out whereas mine back home, I've generally liked having it 20 degrees because I can hit the ball into the par 5s as an option,” he said. “This one's not really designed for hitting the ball in the air to par 5s as an option. It's more of a driving club.”

After playing two practice rounds, Woods said he wasn’t sure how much he would use the new 2-iron given the dry conditions which have led to ridiculously long tee shots, and he said he might adjust the club more if the course doesn’t slow down.

“If it softens up, it could be a good club,” he said. “If it doesn't soften up, then I might just add a degree to it and keep it a little softer and not have it so hot.”

The Open is the second consecutive event where Woods has added to his bag. At The National earlier this month, he went with a new mallet-headed putter that he plans to continue to use this week.

Getty Images

Europeans out to end the recent American dominance

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 12:59 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In golf’s biggest events, the Americans have left the rest of the world feeling red, white and mostly blue.

If you’re wondering whether the U.S. currently holds a meaningful title, the answer is probably yes.

Golf’s four majors? Yep.

The Ryder Cup? Indeed.

The No. 1 player in the world? Absolutely.

The Presidents, Solheim, Walker, Palmer and Curtis Cups? Uh-huh.

It’s been a popular talking point at the men’s majors, as Europe’s finest players have been peppered about why they’ve all seemingly fallen under Uncle Sam’s spell.

After all, the Americans haven’t ripped off five major wins in a row like this since 1981-82 – when Justin Rose was still in diapers.

“I don’t know what I’d put it to down to,” the Englishman said Tuesday, “other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really, really well. The top end of American golf right now is incredibly strong.”

Since 2000, the Americans have taken titles at eight of the nine courses on the modern Open rota. The only one they’ve yet to conquer is Carnoustie, and that’s probably because they’ve only had one crack at it, in 2007, when an Irishman, Padraig Harrington, prevailed in a playoff.

Not since Tom Watson in 1975 has a U.S. player survived Carnoustie, arguably the most difficult links on the planet. But Americans ranging from Dustin Johnson to Tiger Woods comprise six of the oddsmakers' top 10 favorites, all listed at 25/1 or better.

“America, there’s no doubt about it, and there’s no other way to put it, other than they have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “It just so happens that it has been a run of American golfers that have won majors, but at the same time, they’ve generally been the best players in the world at the time that they’ve won them.

“You don’t really look at them as a nationality. You just look at them as players and people, and you can understand why they’re the ones winning the majors.”

Indeed, there’s not a fluke among them.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Since this American run began last summer at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka (twice), Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed have hoisted trophies. All were inside the top 25 in the world when they won. All were multiple-time winners on the world stage before that major. And all, most ominously for Europe, were 29 or younger.

“There’s a bit of camaraderie amongst all of them,” Rose said. “I know Brooks and Dustin are incredibly close, and you’ve got Rickie (Fowler) and Justin Thomas and Jordan as a group are all really close. It’s working really well for them. They’re spurring each other on.”

That’s why there’s even more anticipation than usual for the Ryder Cup. The Americans haven’t won on foreign soil in a quarter century, but this band of brothers is better and closer than those who have tried and failed before them. Couple that with a few aging stars on the European side, and there’s a growing sense that the Americans could be on the verge of a dominant stretch.

That should sound familiar.

During an eight-major span in 2010-11, the most common refrain was: What’s Wrong with American Golf? International players captured seven consecutive majors, including six in a row at one point. They took over the top spot in the world rankings. They turned the Ryder Cup into a foregone conclusion. In the fall of 2010, Colin Montgomerie pounded his chest and declared that there’d been a “changing of the guard over to Europe,” and it was hard to find fault in his reasoning.

“European golf was very healthy a few years ago for a long time,” McIlroy said. “It seemed like every major someone from the island of Ireland turned up to, we were winning it. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”

Because it wasn’t.

So even though it’s been more than a year since an International player held any title of consequence, these types of runs are cyclical, and Europe in particular has no shortage of contenders.

Major drought or not, McIlroy is a threat every time he tees it up. Rose turns 38 in two weeks, but he’s playing arguably the best golf of his career, recording a top-10 finish in a ridiculous 17 of his past 21 starts. Fleetwood is fresh off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, where he closed with 63. Jon Rahm is a top-5 machine. Alex Noren just won on the Ryder Cup course in France.

“I think Tommy, clearly, showed how close the Europeans are to challenging that dominance as well,” Rose said. “So it’s not like we’re a mile behind. It’s just that they’re on a great run right now, and there’s no reason why a European player shouldn’t come through this week.”

Getty Images

Links to the past: Tiger's return revives Open memories

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 12:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods rekindles his love affair with links golf this week at Carnoustie, which seems about right considering his introduction to the ancient ways of the game began here on the Angus coast.

It was here on the most brutal of the Open Championship rota courses that a 19-year-old Tiger first played links golf at the 1995 Scottish Open, an eye-opening and enlightening experience.

“I remember my dad on the range with me, saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100 yard sign?’” Woods recalled on Tuesday at Carnoustie, his first start at The Open since 2015. “I said, ‘No, I'm just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best.’”

During this most recent comeback, Tiger has been all smiles. A new, relaxed version of his former self made calm and approachable by age and the somber influence of injury. But this week has been different.

During a practice round with Justin Thomas on Monday he laughed his way all the way around the brown and bouncy seaside layout. Much of that had to do with his return to the unique ways of links golf, the creative left side of his brain taking the wheel from the normally measured right side for one glorious week.

He talked of game plans and strategic advantages on a parched pitch that has seen drives rolling out over 400 yards. At his core, Tiger is a golf nerd for all the right reasons and this kind of cerebral test brings out the best of that off-the-charts golf IQ.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Although there are no shortages of defining moments in Tiger’s career and one can make all sorts of arguments for what would be his seminal moment – from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 U.S. Open –the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool stands out, based on near-perfect execution.

In ’06 at Liverpool, which played to a similar shade of dusty yellow as Carnoustie will this week, Tiger hit just a single driver, opting instead for a steady diet of long irons off tees. For the week he hit 48 of 56 fairways, 58 of 72 greens and rolled the field for a two-stroke victory and his third, and most recent, claret jug.

This Open has all the makings of a similar tactical tour de force. For this championship he’s put a new 2-iron into play that’s more like a strong 1-iron (17 degrees) and imagines, given the conditions, a similar low, running menu.

“It could be that way,” Woods said when asked the similarities between this week’s conditions and the ’06 championship. “I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees, just because I hit a 3-iron on Monday, down 18, I went 333 [yards]. It can get quick out here.”

If Tiger ever needed a major championship confidence boost the Carnoustie Open would be it, an inspiring walk down memory lane to a time when he was the undisputed king of golf.

“[The ’06 Open] is the closest you can compare to this,” David Duval said. “But I struggle to remember that golf course being as fast as this one. It was close, but this one is something else.”

Ernie Els had a slightly different take, albeit one that was no less ominous to the rest of the field this week.

“Liverpool is on a sand hill, this has a bit more run to it,” Els said. “But it’s got the same feel. It’s almost like St. Andrews was in 2000. Very, very fast.”

It’s worth noting that Tiger also won that ’00 Open at the Home of Golf with an even more dominant performance. It is the unique challenges of the links test that make many, even Tiger, consider the Open Championship his best chance to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

More than any other Grand Slam gathering, The Open is blind to age and the notion of players competing past their prime. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, then-53-year-old Greg Norman flirted with the lead until the very end, finishing tied for third; a year later at Turnberry, Tom Watson came within one hole of history at 59 years young.

“It certainly can be done,” Woods said. “You get to places like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But links-style golf courses, you can roll the ball. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

Whether this is the week Tiger gets back into the Grand Slam game depends on his ability to replicate those performances from years past on a similarly springy course. As he exited the media center bound for the practice putting green on Tuesday he seemed renewed by the cool sea breeze and the unique challenges of playing the game’s oldest championship.

Coming back to Carnoustie is more than a reintroduction to links golf; for Tiger it’s starting to feel like a bona fide restart to his major career.