ESPN Offering Extensive Coverage Of 2013 Open Championship

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

 

ESPN will broadcast all four rounds of the PGA’s annual Open Championship live next weekend, July 18th – 21st.  ESPN and WatchESPN will have eleven hours of live coverage beginning with the first two rounds July 18th and 19th.  The first two rounds will be broadcast from 4am – 3pm each day.  Saturday’s round three coverage begins at 7am EST and runs through 2:30pm EST.  Round Four cover begins at 6am EST and runs through 1:30 pm EST.

Those that can’t catch coverage when it airs live next weekend need not worry.  All four rounds will be broadcast in an encore presentation.  The live broadcast and encore presentation of The Open are just part of the sixty-five total hours that center on The Open.  Also celebrating the 142nd renewal of one of golf’s biggest tournaments is The Best of The Open Championship.  The encore presentation of this feature has been edited for time.  It will be broadcast next Thursday – Sunday, July 18th – 21st.  the program will be broadcast Thursday – Saturday from 7pm – 10pm EST on ESPN.  Sunday’s broadcast will air on ESPN2 from 9pm – 12am EST.  Fans can get highlights of each day’s best moments on The Open Championship Today from 3pm – 6pm EST July 18th and 19th on ESPN and at the same time on ABC July 20th and 21st.  All broadcasts will be simulcast on ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide, online at ESPNRadio.com and on TheOpen.com.  A full rundown of coverage times and networks is available below.

SportsCenter will have its own special Open Championship coverage live from Scotland’s Muirfield Golf Links.  It will broadcast a one-hour special, SportsCenter at the Open Championship.  The special will air Wednesday, July 17th at 2pm.  There will also be a number of live in-depth reports beginning Monday, July 15th.

ESPN’s Mike Tirico will anchor coverage of the broadcasts for the 18th consecutive year.  He will be joined by Scott Van Pelt of ESPN’s SVP and Rusillo.  The pair will be joined by legendary BBC golf broadcaster Peter Alliss Thursday and Friday July 18th and 19th.  Van Pelt will also serve as hole announcer along with reporters Curtis Strange, Dottie Pepper, and Sean McDonough.  Paul Azinger, David Duvall and Peter Alliss will all serve as analysts for the four-day tournament at different times.  Andy North, Judy Rankin, Dottie Pepper, and Bill Kratzert will be on-course reporters.

During coverage of the annual Open Championship, ESPN will use two technologies to help viewers follow every shot throughout the hole.  The first of the technologies, “Virutal Aerial”, examines wind condition throughout the course and its impact on each hole.  The tech debuted at the 2012 Open Championship.  The second of the tech used to bring viewers into the Open is known as “Flight Tracker.”  This real-time feature will be used on six of the match’s holes.  It will create a virtual line allowing viewers to follow the ball from tee to hole on each of the six holes chosen to feature this tech.

Along with all of the in-depth coverage provided by ESPN, ESPN Radio, WatchESPN, and ABC, ESPN Classic will have fifty-five hours of special golf programming in a tribute to The Open in the days leading up to the famed tournament.  It all begins next Monday, July 15th at 11am EST with a broadcast of highlights from the 1978 Open Championship.  That year’s tournament was won by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.  The programming will run straight through 4am on Thursday, July 18th, when ESPN’s coverage of The Open Championship begins.  The new edition of ESPN The Magazine hits newsstands tomorrow, July 12th.  It will have a preview of next week’s match.  In the meantime, a complete broadcast schedule of next week’s Open Championship is available below.

The Open Championship – Muirfield Golf Links, Gullane, Scotland

(all times U.S. Eastern)

Day/Date Program Start Network
Wed., July 17 SportsCenter at The Open Championship 2 p.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 First Round 4 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 First Round 7 a.m. ESPN Radio
Thu., July 18 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Second Round 4 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Second Round 7 a.m. ESPN Radio
Fri., July 19 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., July 20 Third Round 7 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., July 20 Third Round 9 a.m. ESPN Radio
Sat., July 20 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ABC
Sat., July 20 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., July 21 Final Round 6 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., July 21 Final Round 8 a.m. ESPN Radio
Sun., July 21 The Open Championship Today  3 p.m. ABC
Sun., July 21 Best of The Open Championship 9 p.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., July 22 Best of The Open Championship Noon ESPN2, WatchESPN

There is far more available on The Open On Demand and via other outlets.  For all of that information and more, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/espn and “Like” it or the official ESPN website, http://www.espn.com.

To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New PBS Special Is Great For Golfers Of All Ages

Courtesy: PBS

Golf is one of the world’s greatest games.  It is, for that matter, known as “the greatest game ever played.”  Next to football (or soccer as it’s known in the U.S.), golf’s fans number more than any other sport across the world.  Fans know their favorite golfer.  They know their favorite course.  But how many golfers and fans know the history behind the game’s most legendary courses, or of those individuals that built them?  Now thanks to PBS, fans and players of all ages can learn that history in the new special, “Golf’s Grand Design.” 

North Carolina’s PBS affiliate, UNC-TV, will air this special tomorrow night, August 3rd at 10pm.  Those who miss it can still order it online next Tuesday, August 7th at http://www.shoppbs.org.

 “Golf’s Grand Design” is an excellent starting point for fans and golfers of all ages and experience levels.  It clocks in at just under an hour.  That’s not counting the closing credits.  It starts in the sport’s earliest recorded history in Scotland.  The narrator notes that before Scotland, golf’s roots are unknown.

The very first course featured in this special is, of course, St. Andrews.  The program’s narrator notes that this was the very first modern golf course.  From here, the special does something very smart.  Rather than merely jump from course to course and from architect to architect, each architect and course’s segment is preceded by a quote from the architect to be featured.  This lets viewers know which architect is going to be featured.  Kudos to PBS and all involved with bringing the special to life for assembling the program in this manner.  Viewers will learn about the history not only of each architect, but of how each one built his course(s), including his motivation behind building each one in its given form.  Among the many architects featured in the show are:  Charles Blair McDonald, David Ross, and Robert Trent Jones among many others.

In learning how each architect came to build his course(s), viewers will see a rather interesting process.  They will see how golf courses have come full circle from the simple to the grandiose and back to simple again.  The best explanation of this movement comes from a pair of sound bites run early on in the show.  One of the individuals interviewed exclaims of golf, “Half the experience is sharing the time with friends.”  Another noted that “It’s about the exploration of a piece of land.”  Both statements echo a similar mindset.  That mindset is that what makes golf great isn’t how grandiloquent a course is.  What it great is the simple experience of being on the links.  It’s about being with friends and being one with the game and with the course.  This is the mindset that makes the game great.  It’s the mindset that will always make gold the greatest game ever played, and that will always make its many courses just as great.

As a reminder, “Golf’s Grand Design” will air on North Carolina’s PBS affiliate, UNC-TV, tomorrow, Friday August 3rd at 10pm.  The DVD will be available next Tuesday, August 7th.  It can be ordered online at http://www.shoppbs.org.

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New PGA dvd documents a “major” moment in time

Golf, it’s said, is the gentleman’s game.  And since the PGA was founded April 10th, 1916, many gentleman have come through its ranks.  Those names go all the way back to the winner of the inaugural PGA Championship, James M. Barnes.  The PGA Championship was the first of what would become one of the PGA’s “majors.”  In 1934, another of the “majors” began, and has since brought the name of many gentlemen to fame.  That tournament was the Masters Tournament.  Horton Smith won the very first tournament, beating Craig Wood to take that title.  Since then, the Masters Tournament has brought many more names to prominence among the PGA’s ranks, including legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The pair combined for a total of ten Masters titles since Palmer took his first title in 1957.  Now, fifty-five years after Palmer won his first title, members and fans of the PGA could very well be looking at another legend in the making after the conclusion of this year’s Masters Tournament.  His name is Bubba Watson.  And thanks to the people at A&E TV, at&t, ExxonMobile and IBM, fans of the PGA can re-live Watson’s unexpected win at this year’s tournament in the dvd release of “Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament.”

“Highlights of the 2012 Masters Tournament” takes fans through the tournament from the pre-tournament festivities to the amazing final battle for the title between Watson and South African Louis Oosthuizen.  Along the way, the dvd takes fans on the up and down journey throughout each round.  The final score of each round highlights that there was no clear cut leader.  Each round saw a diferent golfer at the top of the leaderboard.  Fans can watch as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods struggle through the first round.  Their troubles, combined with Henrik Stenson’s collapse late in the first round set up what would become the start of Watson’s weekend rise.

The ups and downs of the tournament aren’t all that make this brand new dvd so enjoyable for golfers and fans of the “gentleman’s sport.”  Fans learn that the 2012 Masters tournament was recorded on a total of twenty-eight 3-D cameras.  It’s noted that the setup was the largest production of its kind.  That in itself is impressive.  Just as impressive is how this final product was edited and assembled for fans, including the soundbites added throughout the highlights.  Those soundbites really helped to emphasize the emotion being felt by the competitors.  The note of the production and the soundbites aren’t the only extra pieces of information that fans get in watching this documentary.  Audiences also learn that the double eagle shot by Oosthuizen in the final round was the first ever on television.  In small part, that may be seemingly irrelevant to anything.  But in the grand scheme of things, it shows how rare such a feat is, and for that matter, how rarely such a feat has ever been recorded.  That being the case, even such a small piece of information plays a big role in the overall presentation of this dvd. 

The doube eagle shot by Oosthuizen was one of many wonderful moments in this year’s Masters tournament.  ANother wonderful moment was watching Watson as he received his first ever green jacket, and the press conference that followed.  He openly professed his faith, and talked frankly with reporters about the tournament, adoption, and life in general.  He showed that he was just an average person who got lucky enough to be where he was.  He seemed to break the sterotypical mold of PGA pros and relate to the average fan and viewer.  Those moments are exactly what the PGA needs to bring in a whole new audience.  And having added them in their entirety as bonus features here makes the overall dvd presentation all the better.

The 2012 Masters Tournament was one of the greatest tournaments in PGA history.  From the weather, to the the ups and downs of tournament favorites, to the unlikely win of Bubba Watson, this new DVD documents it all, in a timely fashion.  The general presentation clocks in at just under an hour.  It all combines for what is a wonderful introduction to the sport for new fans, and an equally wonderful walk down memory lane for fans who have been watching the sport for a very long time.

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