NBC Sports Group Tournament Airtimes & Notes (March 17-20)

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 15, 2016, 10:25 pm

PGA TOUR Wraps Up Florida Swing with Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard as McIlroy, Day and Scott Headline the Field


Eight of the Top-10 to Compete in JTBC Founders Cup in Arizona, as LPGA Tour Returns to United States, Airing Live in Primetime on Golf Channel


PGA TOUR Champions Resumes Schedule as Langer, Montgomerie

Lead the Field at Tucson Conquistadores Classic


Lahiri, Harrington Headline at Hero Indian Open



The PGA TOUR concludes its Florida Swing this week with the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard in Orlando. The field includes five of the top-eight ranked players in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Adam Scott. This is the fourth of six consecutive weeks of exclusive live tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC, which will continue next week in Austin, Texas with the WGC-Dell Match Play. The LPGA Tour returns to the United States this week with the JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix, with eight of the top-10 in the world in the field, including World No. 1 Lydia Ko. The PGA TOUR Champions also is in Arizona this week for the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, as Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie headline the field. And defending champion Anirban Lahiri and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington lead the field on the European Tour this week at the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.






Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard


Dates: March 17-20


Venue: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.




Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):


Thursday         2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)


Friday              2-6 p.m. (Live) / 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)


Saturday          12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)


Sunday            12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)




Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):


Saturday          2:30-6 p.m. (Live)


Sunday            2:30-6 p.m. (Live)




Broadcast Notes:


Golf Central player news conference, Wednesday at Noon ET: On Wednesday at Noon ET, Golf Central will present a special player news conference from Bay Hill Club & Lodge, featuring Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.


Morning Drive, Golf Central on-site from Bay Hill all week: Originating from a new, custom-build set on the driving range at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Golf Central and Morning Drive will air live and on-site, continuing through Sunday, March 20. The multi-purpose set will utilize both the driving range and the clubhouse as backdrops and will be used in collaboration by both shows throughout the week.


Every defends: Matt Every finished one stroke clear of Henrik Stenson to successfully defend his 2014 title for his second career PGA TOUR win.


Headlining the field: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau (a), Ernie Els and Maverick McNealy (a).




Golf Channel / NBC Broadcast Team:


Play by Play: Rich Lerner (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)


Analyst: Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (NBC)


Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen / David Feherty


On-Course: Roger Maltbie / Mark Rolfing / Notah Begay


Interviews: Todd Lewis (Golf Channel) / Steve Sands (NBC)


Essays: Jimmy Roberts








JTBC Founders Cup


Dates: March 17-20                                                                    


Venue: Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz.




Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):


Thursday         6-9 p.m. (Live)


Friday              6-8 p.m. (Live)


Saturday          7-9 p.m. (Live)


Sunday            7-9 p.m. (Live)




Broadcast Notes:


Castrale joins live tournament broadcast team: Two-time Solheim Cup participant Nicole Castrale joins Golf Channel’s LPGA Tour live broadcast team this week as an on-course reporter. Castrale, who retired from competitive golf in January, also contributes as a studio analyst and is scheduled to work eight LPGA Tour events in total as part of the live tournaments team.


Celebrating the Tour’s Founders: This is the sixth playing of the JTBC Founder Cup, which celebrates the 13 original founders of the LPGA Tour. The tournament remembers the past and looks ahead to the Tour’s future, namely through its more than $2.5 million raised in the past five years for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program.


Kim defends: Hyo Joo Kim won by three strokes over Stacy Lewis for her second career LPGA Tour victory.


Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Ha Na Jang, Amy Yang, Sei Young Kim, Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim and Suzann Pettersen.




Golf Channel Broadcast Team:


Play by Play: Terry Gannon


Analyst: Judy Rankin


Tower: Tom Abbott                            


On-Course: Jerry Foltz / Karen Stupples / Nicole Castrale


Interviews: Lisa Cornwell








Tucson Conquistadores Classic


Dates: March 18-20


Venue: Omni Tucson National Resort (Catalina Course), Tucson, Ariz.




Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):


Friday              8-10 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6-8 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)


Saturday          5-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)


Sunday            5-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay)




Broadcast Notes:


Sluman to join 18th tower as guest analyst during Friday’s coverage: Six-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Jeff Sluman is scheduled to visit the 18th tower as a guest analyst during Friday’s opening round coverage, offering insight and analysis alongside Bob Papa and Lanny Wadkins.


Dawson defends: Marco Dawson finished two shots ahead of Bart Bryant for his first career PGA TOUR Champions win.


Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Jeff Maggert, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin, Kirk Triplett, Jeff Sluman, John Cook, Todd Hamilton and Lee Janzen.




Golf Channel Broadcast Team:


Play by Play: Bob Papa


Analyst: Lanny Wadkins                    


Tower: John Mahaffey / Dave Marr


On-Course: Billy Ray Brown








Hero Indian Open


Dates: March 17-20


Venue: Delhi Golf Club (Lodhi Course), New Delhi, India




Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):


Thursday         5-10 a.m. (Tape delay)


Friday              5-10 a.m. (Tape delay)


Saturday          6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)


Sunday            6-10 a.m. (Tape delay)




Broadcast Notes:


Lahiri defends: Anirban Lahiri defeated fellow countryman S.S.P. Chawrasia with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win his national open championship and earn his second career European Tour victory.


Headlining the field: Anirban Lahiri, Padraig Harrington, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Dunne, Marcus Fraser, Joost Luiten, Peter Uihlein, Marcel Siem, Scott Hend and Arjun Atwal.




Golf Channel Broadcast Team:


Play by Play: Dominik Holyer


Analyst: Dom Boulet                          


On-Course: Warren Humphreys







WGC-Dell Match Play Bracket Special


Date: Monday, March 21


Airtime: 7-9 p.m. ET (Live)


Venue: Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas




Golf Channel will feature a two-hour primetime show on Monday, March 21, revealing the 64-man field – to be drawn live and in primetime on Golf Channel – with the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play Bracket Special from Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas from 7-9 p.m. ET.The selection process for the WGC-Dell Match Play – which will be staged at Austin Country Club next Wednesday-Sunday, March 23-27 – will be conducted in front of a live audience at the Theatre under the guidance of PGA TOUR competitions officials. The special also is scheduled to include live interviews from select players in the field, and will feature a conversation with University of Texas standouts and World Golf Hall of Famers Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.




Host: Ryan Burr


Analysts: Brandel Chamblee / Tim Rosaforte


Reporters: Todd Lewis / Cara Robinson








WGC-Dell Match Play


Dates: March 23-27


Venue: Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas



Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel & NBC (Eastern):


Wednesday     2-8 p.m. (Live)                         Day One Round Robin           Golf Channel


Thursday         2-8 p.m. (Live)                         Day Two Round Robin          Golf Channel


Friday              2-8 p.m. (Live)                        Day Three Round Robin         Golf Channel


Saturday          10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)              Round of 16                            Golf Channel


                        2-6 p.m. (Live)                        Quarterfinals                           NBC


Sunday            10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)              Semifinals                               Golf Channel


                        3-7 p.m. (Live)                      Championship/Consolation     NBC               


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Recovering Thomas thinks Match Play could help cause

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 10:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a tough couple of days for Justin Thomas, and he hasn’t played an event in three weeks.

The world’s second-ranked player had his wisdom teeth removed on March 7 following the WGC-Mexico Championship and has been recovering ever since.

“I'm feeling OK. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keep taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.”

Thomas, who is listed in the Tour media guide as 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, said he lost about 6 pounds when he had his wisdom teeth removed and has struggled to put that weight back on because of his bout with strep throat.

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As a result, his energy levels are low, which is a particular concern considering the marathon nature of the Match Play, which could include as many as seven rounds if he were to advance to Sunday’s championship match. Thomas, however, said the format could actually make things easier this week.

“I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field,” said Thomas, who has won just one match in two starts at the Match Play. “If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.”

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Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:50 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.

Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.

“I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”

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Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.

“[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”

Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.

“He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”

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This week, let the games(manship) begin

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:47 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The gentleman’s game is almost entirely devoid of anything even approaching trash talk or gamesmanship.

What’s considered the norm in other sports is strictly taboo in golf - at least that’s the standard for 51 weeks out of the year. That anomaly, however, can be wildly entertaining.

During Monday’s blind draw to determine this week’s 16 pods, Pat Perez was the first to suggest that this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is the exception to the stoic rule on the PGA Tour.

“Me and Branden [Grace] played a nine-hole match today and were chirping at each other the entire time,” Perez laughed. “Stuff like, ‘go in the trees.’ We were laughing about it, I didn’t get mad, I hit it in the trees.”

Although Perez and Grace may have been on the extreme end of the trash-talk spectrum, it’s widely understood that unlike the steady diet of stroke-play stops in professional golf, the Match Play and the Ryder Cup are both chances to test some of the game’s boundaries.

“There’s been a couple of different instances, both in the Ryder Cup. I can't share them with you, I'm sorry,” laughed Jordan Spieth, before adding. “I think they [the comments] were indifferent to me and helped [U.S. partner Patrick Reed].

Often the gamesmanship is subtle, so much so an opponent probably doesn’t even realize what’s happening.

Jason Day, for example, is a two-time winner of this event and although he was reluctant to go into details about all of his “tricks,” he did explain his mindset if he finds himself trailing in a match.

“Always walk forward in front of the person that you're playing against, just so you're letting them know that you're pushing forward and you're also letting them know that you're still hanging around,” Day explained. “People feed off body language. If I'm looking across and the guy's got his shoulders slumped and his head is down, you can tell he's getting frustrated, that's when you push a little bit harder.”

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Some moments are not so innocent, as evidenced by a story from Paul Casey from a match during his junior days growing up in England.

“I remember a player’s ball was very close to my line, as his coin was very close to my line and we were still both about 10 feet away and he kind of looked at me,” Casey recalled. “I assumed he looked at me to confirm whether his marker was in my line and it needed to be moved. I said, ‘That's OK there.’ So he picked [his coin] up. And then of course he lost his ability to understand English all of a sudden.”

While the exploits this week won’t be nearly as egregious, there have been a handful of heated encounters at the Match Play. In 2015 when this event was played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez went nose to nose when the Spaniard attempted to intervene in a ruling that Bradley was taking and the incident even spilled over into the locker room after the match.

But if those types of encounters are rare, there’s no shortage of mind games that will take place over the next few days at Austin Country Club.

“It's part of it. It should be fun,” Spieth said. “There should be some gamesmanship. That's the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That's why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don't think that would be unusual.”

It also helps heat things up if opponents have some history together. On Tuesday, Rory McIlroy was asked if he’s run across any gamesmanship at the Match Play. While the Northern Irishman didn’t think there would be much trash talking going on this week, he did add with a wry smile, “Patrick Reed isn’t in my bracket.”

McIlroy and Reed went head-to-head in an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the American won 1 up. The duo traded plenty of clutch shots during the match, with Reed wagging his finger at McIlroy following a particularly lengthy birdie putt and McIlroy spurring the crowd with roars of, “I can’t hear you.”

It was an example of how chippy things can get at the Match Play that when McIlroy was asked if he had any advice for Spieth, who drew Reed in his pod this week, his answer had a bit of a sharp edge.

“Don't ask for any drops,” laughed McIlroy, a not-so-subtle reference to Reed’s comment last week at Bay Hill after being denied free relief by a rules official, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said on Sunday.

Put another way, this is not your grandfather’s game. This is the Match Play where trash talking and gamesmanship are not only acceptable, but can also be extremely entertaining.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.