NBC Sports Group Announces Coverage Plans Ahead of The Players Championship, May 7-13

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Nearly 90 Hours of Live Programming on Golf Channel, NBC Surrounding PGA TOUR’s Flagship Event Featuring Best Field of the Year

NBC Sports Group next week will dedicate nearly 90 hours of live programming surrounding the PGA TOUR’s marquee event of the season, THE PLAYERS Championship, May 7-13 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Showcasing the deepest field of the year, Golf Channel and NBC will combine to provide 22 hours of live tournament coverage at THE PLAYERS, Thursday-Sunday (May 10-13), which will be complemented by more than 60 live hours of comprehensive news, analysis and features across Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS and Morning Drive.

COVERAGE PLANS: NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live tournament production team will cover every vantage point of the iconic par-3, 17th hole and its island green, with a total of eight high-definition cameras, including a microscopic lens embedded in the lip of the tiny bunker fronting the green. The popular cable-suspended “Supra Cam,” camera system will return, providing unique angles through an ability to fly over the body of water between the par-5, 16th and 17th hole greens. Coverage also will utilize a Trackman three-dimensional follow, along with Toptracer technology on several holes throughout the golf course, including a reverse-flight angle for tracking tee shots from behind the 17th green.

A camera crane operator will be stationed 150 feet in the air above the tree line showcasing aerial shots of the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes. Another camera operator will be positioned on the small island adjacent to the 17th green, capturing reactions of those in the field as they complete the 17th. Coverage also will incorporate the use of wind-direction technology to track conditions throughout the golf course, including both on the tee box and high above the 17th hole.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS also will make use of multi-tracer technology from the front of TPC Sawgrass’ driving range with the ability to simultaneously track the ball flight of each player ahead of their round.

In addition to network coverage, Golf Channel for the second straight year will contribute to DirecTV’s “Launch Pad,” featuring four dedicated channels of coverage from TPC Sawgrass Thursday-Sunday. Golf Channel’s George Savaricas, Phil Blackmar and Jim Gallagher Jr. will take part in the offering, with the four feeds including: Network Simulcast, Featured Group, Launch Pad and Shotlink powered by CDW.

BROADCAST TEAM: Mike Tirico will host the network’s coverage from TPC Sawgrass, while Dan Hicks and Hall of Fame member Johnny Miller will rotate 18th tower duties with Terry Gannon and fellow Hall of Famer Nick Faldo. Past PLAYERS champions Justin Leonard (1998), David Duval (1999) and Davis Love III (1992, 2003) also will contribute to live tournament coverage from the 18th tower Thursday-Sunday. Gary Koch, Peter Jacobsen, David Feherty and Tom Abbott will contribute from outer tower positions, and Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Jim “Bones” Mackay will walk inside the ropes as on-course reporters. Steve Sands will conduct interviews with those in the field, and Jimmy Roberts will provide essays.

Cara Banks, Ryan Burr and Rich Lerner (primetime) will host Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS from on-site at TPC Sawgrass from a dedicated set on the 17th hole. Brandel Chamblee, David Duval and Frank Nobilo will serve as analysts in primetime, while Notah Begay, Jim Gallagher Jr., Billy Kratzert, Justin Leonard and Mark Rolfing will contribute analysis during daytime coverage. Golf Channel Insiders Jaime Diaz, Rex Hoggard and Tim Rosaforte will offer the latest notes as the week unfolds, with Steve Burkowski and Todd Lewis offering reports and conducting interviews with those in the field. World Golf Hall of Fame member Ken Schofield also will contribute to the network’s coverage throughout the week. Lisa Cornwell, Chantel McCabe and George Savaricas will anchor coverage from Orlando.

On Morning Drive, Damon Hack and John Cook will be on-site Tuesday-Friday, along with guest Scott McCarron on Tuesday (2017 Senior Players champion) and first-timers in the field scheduled to join on Wednesday. Robert Damron, Trevor Immelman, Charlie Rymer, Lauren Thompson and Whit Watson will host from the network’s World Headquarters in Orlando, with Geoff Shackelford also contributing from TPC Sawgrass.

FEATURES: Throughout the week Golf Channel will showcase several features on THE PLAYERS and those in the field, including:

  • Five years removed from Tiger’s last win, new-age TOUR has replaced Tiger era The PGA TOUR has seen a monumental shift since Tiger Woods’ last victory in 2013 at Firestone, led by the next generation of stars who grew up idolizing Woods. A vast departure from the Tiger era, transparency inside and outside the ropes – thanks in large part to social media – is the new norm amongst the game’s elite through their willingness to open up their lives to the outside world.
  • South Korea’s undeniable influence in golf Si Woo Kim’s victory at TPC Sawgrass last year was the latest example of South Korea’s substantial influence in golf. Matt Ginella examines the surge of South Korean success, and how the nation’s men and women are making their impact felt across the game’s highest levels.
  • Delving into the many layers of staging a PGA TOUR event Unlike many of its professional sports counterparts, the PGA TOUR season accounts for nearly the entire 52-week calendar year. The piece explores the many ins and outs of what goes into putting on an event, from its operations footprint and sponsors, to its charitable component and ultimate impact on the region playing host to the annual TOUR stop.
  • Practice and preparation for the modern TOUR professional The idea that to compete on the PGA TOUR takes immense amounts of practice and preparation is a widely accepted reality. As technology devices, equipment and statistics have become mainstream, the evolution in how TOUR players approach a typical practice day continues to shift from the game’s preceding generation of professionals.                

Golf Channel Digital Coverage

Golf Channel Digital will feature expanded coverage of the PGA TOUR’s marquee event, with Will Gray, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner and Randall Mell reporting from TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course. Chantel McCabe and Tripp Isenhour also will provide previews, analysis and news coverage throughout the week via Golf Channel Digital, originating from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando, including “Instant Analysis” once tournament play begins.

Fans are able to access all news and tournament coverage surrounding THE PLAYERS, and enjoy 24/7 live streaming at any time, on any device through Golf Channel Digital and the NBC Sports App, powered by Playmaker Media.

PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center: Monday, May 7

Premiering at 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 7, PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center will feature 1995 PLAYERS champion Lee Janzen, along with Scott McCarron – who is in the field next week at TPC Sawgrass courtesy of his victory at the 2017 Senior Players Championship. Mic’d up during a recent round of competition, Janzen and his caddie Keith Nolan offer tips on how to best manage your game on the course, while McCarron breaks down the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.

International Programming

Golf Channel will produce international news programming surrounding THE PLAYERS from Orlando in both Japanese and Mandarin, featuring reports and custom content throughout the week. These productions will complement the international distribution of Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS, which is distributed to markets within Golf Channel’s worldwide footprint of nearly 500 million viewers in more than 80 countries and nine languages around the world.

 

NBC Sports Group Programming at THE PLAYERS, May 7-13 (all times Eastern):

 

Monday, May 7

Morning Drive                                                                 7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                               7-9 p.m.

PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center                           11:30 p.m.-Midnight

 

Tuesday, May 8

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-5 pm. / 7-9 p.m.

 

Wednesday, May 9

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-5 p.m. / 7-9 p.m.

 

Thursday, May 10

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-1 p.m.

THE PLAYERS Championship (First Round)                      1-7 p.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              7-9 p.m.

 

Friday, May 11

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-1 p.m.

THE PLAYERS Championship (Second Round)                 1-7 p.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              7-9 p.m.

 

Saturday, May 12

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-2 p.m.

THE PLAYERS Championship (Third Round)                    2-7 p.m. (NBC)

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              7-9 p.m.

 

Sunday, May 13

Morning Drive                                                                7-9 a.m.

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              9 a.m.-2 p.m.

THE PLAYERS Championship (Final Round)                     2-7 p.m. (NBC)

Golf Central Live From THE PLAYERS                              7-9 p.m.