NBC Sports Group Announces Leadership Team

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 15, 2011, 2:32 pm

NEW YORK – February 2, 2011 – The executive leadership team of the newly formed NBC Sports Group – which consists of NBC Sports, Golf Channel, VERSUS, 11 Comcast SportNets (regional sports networks) and their digital assets – was announced today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.

“People are the most important part of any organization and the experience, talent and leadership ability of this group is second to none,” said Ebersol. “As we formed the new NBC Sports Group by combining the storied history and broad reach of NBC Sports with Comcast’s 24/7 ability to super-serve the fan, it was imperative to create a leadership team that possessed a wide array of experience and expertise across the business. I could not be happier with this group of collaborative leaders and I feel that our division is well positioned going forward.”

In November it was announced that Ebersol would serve as Chairman of the NBC Sports Group pending completion of the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction, which occurred last week. The new leadership structure takes effect immediately.

Ken Schanzer, a 30-year veteran of NBC Sports, who has been Ebersol’s second-in-command for most of the past two decades, continues in his role as President, NBC Sports and becomes the lead negotiator for all NBC Sports Group partnership agreements. Gary Zenkel remains President, NBC Olympics and Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, NBC Sports, and will now lead the NBC Sports Group Olympic business across all platforms and continues to have business oversight of all digital business. Today’s announcement places Mark Lazarus, Jon Litner, Mike McCarley, Jon Millerand Sam Flood in new roles in the newly formed leadership team.

Mark Lazarus, a 19-year cable industry veteran and former Turner Entertainment Group president, has been named President, NBC Sports Cable Group. He will oversee Golf Channel, VERSUS and the 11 Comcast SportNets, and report directly to Ebersol. Lazarus has worked with every major sports league, Hollywood studio and major advertiser and, as head of Turner Sports, led the network’s acquisition of the rights to the NBA, NASCAR, MLB playoffs, Wimbledon and thBritish Open, as well as the digital rights to NASCAR.com, PGATOUR.com, and PGA.com. Most recently, Lazarus was the President of Career Sports & Entertainment (CSE) based in Atlanta. Lazarus will relocate from his home in Atlanta to NBCUniversal’s New York corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Jon Litner, Comcast Sports Group President, has been promoted to President, VERSUS and SportsNet. Litner, a sports television executive for most of the past two decades with both network and cable experience, joined Comcast in 2005 when he launched SportsNet New York (SNY). Prior to launching SNY, he was the Executive Vice President/COO of the National Hockey League from 1999 to 2005, where he managed U.S. and Canadian broadcasting, digital media, public relations, special events, new business development, game scheduling and in-house television production. He served as Senior Vice President, Programming for ABC Sports prior to the NHL. He reports to Lazarus and will continue to be based at Comcast corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.

Mike McCarley, Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Promotion and Communications, NBC Sports, has been promoted to President, Golf Channel. McCarley has worked alongside Ebersol for more than a decade and has been his close confidant and advisor on many matters pertaining to NBC Sports over the past several years. He is credited with developing NBC Sports’ ‘big-event strategy’ that has resulted in record television audiences for NBC Sports properties including the Olympics, NFL, Kentucky Derby and NHL. He reports to Lazarus and will relocate from 30 Rockefeller Plaza to the Golf Channel studios in Orlando, Fla.

Jon Miller, Executive Vice President, NBC Sports, has been promoted to President, Programming, NBC Sports and VERSUS. Miller, an NBC Sports veteran for 26 years, is known as a savvy and creative programmer. He is credited with creating the NHL Winter Classic and leads NBC Sports Ventures, a unit that generates income from non-traditional revenue streams by acquiring and developing new and existing sports properties. He continues to report to Schanzer for NBC Sports and now reports to Lazarus for VERSUS. Miller remains at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Jamie Davis, former President, VERSUS, will continue to work with Lazarus on strategy and planning for the NBC Sports Group as he assesses potential roles within the Comcast family.

Sam Flood, named only the seventh Executive Producer in NBC Sports history last June, has been promoted to Executive Producer, NBC Sports and VERSUS. Flood began his career at NBC as an Olympic researcher in 1986. In addition to his Executive Producer duties, Flood currently produces NBC Sports’ critically acclaimed NHL coverage and “Football Night in America.” He continues to report to Ebersol and remains at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

 

For biographical information on each of the executives, click on the following links:

Ken Schanzer Bio

Gary Zenkel Bio

Mark Lazarus Bio

Jon Litner Bio

Mike McCarley Bio 

Jon Miller Bio 

Sam Flood Bio

 

 

Getty Images

Casey in line to make Ryder Cup after Travelers T-2

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:30 am

Despite coughing up a four-shot lead at the Travelers Championship, England's Paul Casey moved into a qualifying position to make his return to the Ryder Cup this fall in Paris.

Casey struggled Sunday at TPC River Highlands, shooting a 72 as Bubba Watson raced to victory with a 63. But a four-way share of second place was still good enough to lift Casey into fourth place among those not already qualified on the World Points list, with the top four Europeans from that list in August punching their tickets to Le Golf National.

Casey has played in three Ryder Cups before, but none since 2008. After renouncing his European Tour membership a few years ago, he reinstated it for the 2018 season in order to be eligible to return to the biennial matches.

Here's a look at the updated standings for Europe, with the top four players from each points list ultimately joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

---

5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Matthew Fitzpatrick

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Paul Casey

---

5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

6. Ian Poulter


On the American side of the ledger, Watson jumped two spots to fifth with his third win of the year and seemingly locked up his spot on the squad, while Bryson DeChambeau moved inside the top eight with a top-10 finish in Connecticut.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship earning automatic bids:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Bryson DeChambeau

---

9. Webb Simpson

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

Getty Images

Watson cracks top 15 in world with Travelers win

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:15 am

After his third win in the last five months, Bubba Watson is back on the cusp of the upper echelon in the world rankings.

Watson started the year ranked No. 89 in the world, but after a three-shot victory at the Travelers Championship the southpaw moved up seven spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings. It marks his best position since a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2017.

Watson stayed one spot behind Paul Casey, who was one of four runners-up in Connecticut and rose one position to 12th as a result. Beau Hossler's T-2 finish helped him jump 24 spots to No. 64, while J.B. Holmes went from 93rd to 75th with the same result. Stewart Cink, who grabbed a share of second with a final-round 62, went from No. 149 to No. 95 and is back inside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since September 2011.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Matt Wallace, who won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, went from 91st to 66th.

There was only one change among the top 10 in the rankings, as an idle Jon Rahm moved past Jordan Spieth at No. 5 despite Spieth's T-42 finish at TPC River Highlands. At No. 6, Spieth is at his lowest point in the rankings since before last summer's victories at Travelers and The Open.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rahm. Spieth slid to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Poised to return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods fell three spots to No. 82 in the latest rankings.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray


On the difference between this week and last week ...

There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard


On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

Getty Images

Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

“Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”