With purported campus-wide restrictions on work hours and staff leaving several university courses closed, there certainly are greater problems facing America’s institutions of higher learning. That said, as feared last month when word surfaced that arguably the finest university course in the land was not open and losing key staff members, it seemed Yale’s tortured relationship with his C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor gem would not be helped by the pandemic.
Sure enough, things have deteriorated quickly based on these images posted by Daryl Brereton:
He noted this on the timing, suggesting it was strictly a deal between the networks.
The first conversations took place during the spring but gained momentum in the past two weeks.
According to multiple sources, as discussions about NBC taking the 2020 broadcast evolved and NBC Universal showed willingness to assume the deal, Fox Sports executives Eric Shanks and Larry Jones brought the idea of transferring the rights to USGA chief executive officer Mike Davis earlier this month. Davis was apparently unaware of the impending change until the time of that presentation.
Executives within the Fox Sports golf team were not made aware of the potential change until last Thursday. The rest of the crew, including announcers Joe Buck, Curtis Strange, Paul Azinger, Brad Faxon and others, were not informed until Sunday afternoon.
Longtime golf writer Craig Dolch returns in the Palm Beach Post pages to share with anti-mask-wearing world just one more sad and profound consequence of COVID-19’s horrifying spread among Americans: some in group homes no longer can receive visits. Including his son Eric, now 29, who was struck with a bacterial infection at age 14 and requires group home care. In Florida, visitors are prohibited in such facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eric’s situation is no different than thousands of elderly and sick individuals throughout Florida who have been left isolated because of the pandemic. Families have been unable to say goodbye to their parents or grandparents, not to mention how difficult it is for those who have become prisoners in their facilities. More than 1,500 people have died in long-term care facilities in Florida due to COVID-19.
So excuse me when someone says it’s their right not to wear a mask. What about my son’s rights and others who have no control over how the public reacts to the greatest medical crisis of our lifetime? Without a mask, they are the silent face of this pandemic. They have no say.
For weeks, I was counting down the days to July 1 – the date we expected the governor to allow visitors into these homes again. I stopped doing that two weeks ago when the number of positive tests in Florida started to spike.
PGA of America Board Votes to Rename the Horton Smith Award
PGA of America sheds historic award with racial ties
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (July 2, 2020) -- The PGA of America Board of Directors has voted to rename the Horton Smith Award effective immediately. It will be replaced with the new PGA Professional Development Award, honoring a PGA Member for outstanding contributions to professional education.
The PGA Board of Directors announced renaming the Horton Smith Award, which had been presented annually since 1965, based upon review of its namesake. Horton Smith, a two-time Masters Champion who served as PGA President from 1952-54, was a defender of the “Caucasian-only” membership clause, which was regrettably included in the PGA Bylaws from 1934-61.
The PGA Professional Development Award retains the previous criteria that showcases individuals who have demonstrated achievements in professional education.
“In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA Member badge and advancing the game of golf,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport. With the new PGA Professional Development Award, we will recognize effective inclusion efforts and honor those across our 41 PGA Sections who continue to promote and improve our educational programs. We look forward to doing more of both as we move forward.”
The first PGA Professional Development Award will be presented Oct. 27-30, during the PGA’s 104th Annual Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut.
As always please hit the link, but just one part that stood out:
Country singer Vince Gill, a very good golfer Rymer has played with often, sent a video that was entertaining and funny. Former Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein sent a text, and so did Pete Bevacqua, the president of the NBC Sports Group. Quite a few players also got in touch, including Harris English, who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“I still can’t do a whole lot, so it’s been nice to sit here and read some of the notes and then take some time to respond and say thank you,” Rymer said. “I’d never say this is something I’d want to go through or would want to see anyone to go through, but I think in the end it can be a blessing.”
The Courier’s Craig Smithexplains plans for expanding theR&A Clubhouse (underground) along with other security updates. The building opened in early 1854 and now must accommodate the club’s inclusion of female members. Of course, none of this is open to the public so I’d understand your lack of interest. But it is golf’s most iconic clubhouse so…
However, the R&A’s new application for listed building consent for the proposed works represents one of the biggest changes in living memory.
It has not yet been revealed how much the redevelopment will cost but it is anticipated to be well into seven figures.
According to the proposals, 450 combined male and female lockers, providing adequate bench and hanging space, will be created along with showers and toilet facilities.
Bag storage areas catering for up to 500 golf bags and trolleys are planned, as are a drying room, a family-friendly meeting area to assist in the promotion of junior golf and a new arrival/drop off layby to improve the road network.
No one knows anything, or so the saying goes. Especially in a time of pandemic where the unknowns and mysteries keep even experts guessing, so you can’t blame the PGA Tour for altering their guidelines almost daily. The latest adjustment comes in the case of Cameron Champ, who arrived last week from Houston, tested positive for COVID-19, withdrew but subsequently tested negative twice.
And now, he gets a rule in his honor.
For Immediate Release.
PGA TOUR Statement – Health & Safety Plan Updates
July 1, 2020
NEW – Change to policy re: players who test positive but are asymptomatic
Since the inception of the PGA TOUR Health and Safety Plan, the TOUR’s policy for all positive test results for players and caddies requires a minimum 10-day self-isolation period, based on the Centers for Disease Control’s time-based protocols.
Now that the TOUR is in week four of its Return to Golf and following several asymptomatic positive tests followed by negative tests – and after direct consultation with the CDC – we are transitioning to the CDC’s test-based model, with their support. Going forward, in accordance with CDC guidelines, a player or caddie who tests positive for COVID-19 but has not had any symptoms may return to competition if he returns two negative tests results, a minimum of 24 hours apart.
The policy change will go into effect immediately. Cameron Champ – who tested positive June 23 and had three subsequent negative tests in the 72 hours that immediately followed that positive result (24 hours apart) – has been medically cleared to play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. As with all players, Champ will remain subject to arrival testing once on site in Detroit. He will be an addition to the field and assigned a 2:10 p.m. tee time (off of No. 10).
A single going out after the full field of 156 go off split tees. That’s quite a reward.
Ok, let’s boilerplate this candle:
“I am extremely grateful for the tireless efforts and conversations between the TOUR, my team and all of the experts who were consulted in order to deliver this best possible outcome,” said Champ.
That could have been him.
“It is a great example of everyone being committed to working together to adapt and evolve in this constantly changing environment. I would especially like to thank my fellow players for their support and cannot wait to tee it up with them in Detroit tomorrow!”
PGA TOUR players Harris English and Chad Campbell, and Korn Ferry Tour players Brandon Wu and Jonathan Hodge – who tested positive earlier this week but were asymptomatic – will be eligible for next week’s events, if they choose to enter a testing regime and pending they each return two negative tests results, a minimum of 24 hours apart.
NEW – Adjustment to Stipend Program and At-Home Testing Protocols
In an effort to further encourage players and caddies to utilize at-home test kits,
Buried(ish) lede alert…that free at-home option has not been a hit.
Because why do that when you can travel all the way to the venue before getting the bad news?
two significant changes are being made to the Stipend Program, after consultation with the Player Directors and PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council Chairman.
To be eligible for the applicable stipend following an on-site positive test, a player or caddie returning from an off week must have completed an at-home test the week prior to returning to play.
The stipend amounts have been adjusted to make them equal for an on-site positive or an at-home positive test result.
Translation: on site positive tests have to be made public, while home positives stay private.
The stipend program for an at-home positive test is applicable only to players who were eligible for the following week’s event (including the top 10 alternates), and a player or caddie will not receive a stipend if he does not follow the protocols set forth in the Participant Resource Guide / PGA TOUR Health & Safety Plan or otherwise acts in a reckless manner with respect to the protocols, including any local health department regulations that may be in effect.
Uh, so, like in cities where masks and distancing is required outdoors won’t this cause problems for most of the field?
The TOUR will be providing players and caddies with additional complimentary at-home test kits.
Comment from PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan
“As we all learn more about how to navigate this complicated COVID-19 environment, we appreciate the continued dialogue with medical experts and with the Centers for Disease Control directly as we fine-tune our Health & Safety Plan accordingly. Today’s changes – and those announced over the past week – illustrate our commitment to preserving the health and well-being of our athletes, constituents and our impact on the communities in which we play, as well as a willingness to make medically-sound adjustments that allow our players to compete, safely. The continued success of our Return to Golf depends on that approach.”
So the next time you hammer a drive and watch the ball soar downrange, take a minute to tip your cap to the ball designer working diligently on the dimples. Without them, you’d need to be Iron Byron to keep it on the map.
Maybe we take just a few off for the pros-15 or so?-make it spin just a little more and see who really hits on the sweet spot? Or who knows how to use the spin to shape a shot? Think of the tracer fun!
During the “Return to Golf’s” initial three weeks, wannabe J.J. Watt stunt double and elite PGA Tour professional Bryson DeChambeau’s bulk-up, Bomb and Gouge approach has had him in contention.
But his style of play that sees drives air mailing design features raises questions about whether this is what the future of golf should look like. Particularly in making a mockery of courses built long ago and with no chance of imagining the regulatory complacency of the last twenty years to retain some sort of challenge.
DeChambeau is at least apologetic and respectful of a legend like Donald Ross, designer of the latest course to have no chance against modern equipment. After playing the front nine at Detroit Golf Club, home of this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, DeChambeau says he will be taking the fairway bunkers out of play.
"I haven't played both sides yet, so seems like it's fairly tight, a lot of rough," DeChambeau said. "I think there's a lot of bunkers that are around like 290 (yards), so hopefully I'll be able to clear those and take those out of play. So, sorry, Mr. Ross, but, you know, it is what it is."
Four more players—one on the PGA Tour and three on the Korn Ferry Tour—tested positive for COVID-19 and have withdrawn from this week’s stops in Michigan and Colorado.
Here is the PGA Tour Communications statement issued:
PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour statement – COVID-19 update – June 30, 2020
As part of the PGA TOUR’s pre-tournament screening process this week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, TOUR player Chad Campbell tested positive for COVID-19 and has been withdrawn from the event (he was the first alternate).
Campbell, who last competed at the Charles Schwab Challenge, will have the PGA TOUR’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines.
“While the positive test result is unnerving, I am incredibly grateful to be asymptomatic and feel physically well and my thoughts are with anyone dealing with COVID, directly or indirectly. I support the TOUR’s protocol during this time and will be quarantining myself to protect others until I am well. I am looking forward to competing again once it is deemed safe for me to make my return.”
At the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour’s on-site testing process, Tour members Brandon Wu, Taylor Montgomery and Jonathan Hodge have withdrawn from the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes prior to Wednesday’s first round after testing positive for COVID-19.
A total of 247 players have undergone on-site testing since the Korn Ferry Tour’s Return to Golf on June 11, and to date, Wu, Montgomery and Hodge are the only Tour players to test positive for COVID-19 via on-site testing. They will have the Tour’s full support throughout their respective self-isolations under CDC guidelines.
“These positive test results serve as a distinct reminder that we all need to continue to be vigilant in this ever-changing climate. We will further reinforce the elements of our health and safety plan to all constituents, and deliver our full support to those who test positive for COVID-19,” said Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin.
A trend has developed with the last three positive tests and announcements. The players have issued statements thanking the PGA Tour’s “protocol” and in a couple of cases, have explicitly thanked their Whoop strap for notifying them of possible symptoms.
Yet the people doing the testing, Sanford Health have not been acknowledged in any of these “updates”. These are people are putting themselves at risk, undoubtedly working intense hours trying to test (excessively large) fields in the “Return to Golf” and possibly saving lives by identifying those who might not know they have the virus.
Look, these players who test positive undoubtedly have a million thoughts racing around upon getting this news, owe us no apologies and understandablyy have little desire to issue a statement. Which is why we get the boilerplate vibe in their remarks. So if we are going to get boilerplate staments, why not give some love to the people doing the most important work: testing and tracing.
This is from Chad Campbell today after testing positive as the Rocket Mortgage Classic’s first alternate (full quote above):
“I support the TOUR’s protocol during this time and will be quarantining myself to protect others until I am well. I am looking forward to competing again once it is deemed safe for me to make my return.”
Dylan Fritteli from Sunday:
“I’m thankful for the WHOOP strap notification of a minor increase [0.3] in my respiratory rate overnight. However, I’m most thankful for the TOUR’s assistance, procedures and protocols, which I will continue to follow during my self-isolation, so as to keep everyone safe. I look forward to getting back on TOUR once it’s safe to do so.”
Harris English on Monday this week:
“I fully supported the TOUR’s new rule of not allowing anyone on the tournament grounds until testing negative, as protecting others in the field and everyone affiliated with the tournament and the community should be the No. 1 priority as a result of a positive test. I appreciate the TOUR’s support and I look forward to competing again after I’m fully recovered.”
Denny McCarthy, who tested positive with symptoms last week, did not address the Tour protocols in the press release describing his symptoms, but Commissioner Jay Monahan did offer more praise for his players and protocols. No Sanford Health though:
“What Denny, Bud and others are demonstrating is exactly what we asked of everyone – continue to do your part in taking this virus seriously and keeping not only your own health as a priority, but also that of your fellow competitors and those you may come in contact with. Today’s update again demonstrates our rigorous and quick testing, contact tracing capabilities and overall healthy and safety protocols. We will continue to liaise directly with local and state government and health officials this week and throughout our Return to Golf.”
No one knows how exactly to handle this awful pandemic and there are no rules, it’s all a dreadful mess.
But the vibe of needing to thank the “TOUR” instead of the folks actually doing the most important work comes across as odd. At best.
The key attribute of the proposed terrace bar? Glass frontage.
Presumably glass that can stop an incoming dimpled white pellet stamped with things like Titleist, Taylor Made, Callaway or Bridgestone? Maybe?
Oh no, it’s about preserving the archtiectural integrity of the building once described by Henry Longhurst as looking like a chest with all the drawers pulled out.
“The need for the development is to continue to meet the demands for function space and to provide the highest quality of facilities to guests in a five-star hotel.
“The use of glass on the north and north-east elevations is designed to maximise and enhance views across the links and towards the town’s skyline, but also sensitively arranged to avoid overpowering the existing window forms and arrangements.
“The small-scale nature of the extension and the proposal to use like for like materials and finishes to match the existing hotel building is not likely to harm the setting or the historical significance of the St Andrews Links Designed Landscape.”
I’ve never been prouder to call Charlie Rymer a friend and ambassador of the sport.
The former U.S. Junior Amateur champion, PGA Tour pro, golf commentator and mayor emeritus of Myrtle Beach Tweeted about his brush with death as caused by COVID-19. The courage and heart to both battle back and share his story is something to behold. And a huge thank you to all who cared for him, especially wife Carol who was already destined for sainthood pre-pandemic (RN).
I’ve battled COVID-19 for the last 10 days. It’s been scary. Very scary. Thanks to the heroes @tidelandshealth for putting your health at risk to treat patients like me. Because of you I’m headed home today to be with my family. May God bless you!
People are asking what Covid-19 is like. It must be different for everyone. I had fever up to 104.7. Chills and sweats. The scary part is the difficulty breathing, coughing, and lung spasms that follow the coughing. The shortness of breath makes you think it’s the end.
When your blood oxygen level drops and you go in to the hospital you get no visitors. Laying in the dark by yourself, trying to breath, thinking of family, and praying is where it hits you that this thing is STRONG and this could be the end.
Reading about COVID-19 and discussing with friends or watching news reports is one thing. When you have FELT THE POWER OF IT as I have you understand that this thing isn’t about left or right politics. It’s about our commmon humanity and survival.
Ron Sirak spent 18 years with the Associated Press and 18 more with Golf Digest/Golf World, he’s an author and Golf Channel contributor while still a reporter on the LPGA beat.
While we do also discuss the upcoming LPGA return in late July, the majority of our discussion surrounds Sirak’s definitive story for Golf Digest on the Fox-USGA media contract. With the deal having collapsed and NBC/Golf Channel/Peacock taking on the remaining seven years of a contract they once held, it was the perfect time to catch up with the 2015 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient in Journalism about his story, the fallout from the latest turn and playing golf in a pandemic.
Good signs are aplenty in the latest ratings news, this time for the 2020 Travelers Championship.
Even with only one certified superstar in Dustin Johnson contending, CBS limited in production-values and a so-so ratings start at Colonial, the Sunday broadcast earned a 2.0 final round overnight rating despite a rain delay on the back nine. That’s up 43% vs. last year and fell just short of NASCAR’s Geico 500 for top sports event of the weekend.
Golf Channel saw its biggest audiences since the restart, topping an average audience of over a 1 million with Sunday’s lead-in coverage (Saturday did not include any due to tee times moving up).
Even without the traditional fan energy that is so much apart of the Travelers viewing experience, note how the audience grew each of the three days on Golf Channel.
With limited on site at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Utah Championship, PGATour.com’s Stewart Mooredid a nice job capturing Sunday evening’s incredible saga of Daniel Summerhays. The 36-year-old announced his retirement to start the week in his hometown event, then fired a final round 62 to be leader in the clubhouse for a few hours. He was eventually tied by two others and lost on the first hole of a three-way playoff, ultimately won by Kyle Jones.
Now he’s going to assess if it’s really time to walk away for the teaching and high school golf coaching job he’s taking.
From Moore’s story:
For the 36-year-old Summerhays, in his post-loss press conference, there was a bit of reflection. Was it time to turn away from a life in golf? He won the Korn Ferry Tour’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship as an amateur in 2007; lost in a playoff at the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship in 2013; in 2016, gained entry into the U.S. Open as the fourth alternate and wound up T8 for the week; that same year, finished solo-third at the PGA Championship with six birdies in his final 10 holes to earn his lone career trip to the Masters Tournament.
That torrid run in major championships was just four years ago.
“It would’ve been unbelievable to take the trophy home and to have one more,” Summerhays said. “We’ll have a little family meeting and we’ll evaluate how I want to see the rest of the summer go and what we’re doing.”
The Korn Ferry Tour’s post from Golf Channel’s coverage where Steve Burkowski and Craig Perks did a super job telling the Summerhays story.
Tony Paulpreviews this week’s PGA Tour return to the Motor City for the Rocket Mortgage Classic and finds a negative in the thing I’ve heard the most positive comments about: fan free events devoid of derelicts wailing baba booey.
For starters, there will be no fans, no baba booeys, no elevated blood-alcohol levels. That threatens to suck some of the fun out of the tournament.
And we don't exactly know when there will be another, given the Red Wings and Pistons are done, while the Tigers are supposed to start the season in late July — though COVID-19 has a strange way of keeping everyone from making plans in stone these days.
The tournament lost several multiple players on Monday who hadcommitted, with the PGA Tour announcing Harris English as the fifth player to test positive for COVID-19. He has withdrawn and will spend ten days in quarantine. His Whoop band apparently hasn’t arrived in the mail yet as the boilerplate statement only included the shameless homage to the Ministry of Sawgrass almost assuredly not uttered by English:
PGA TOUR COVID-19 Update - June 29, 2020
As part of the PGA TOUR’s pre-tournament screening process this week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, PGA TOUR player Harris English tested positive for COVID-19 and has been withdrawn from the event.
English, who did not compete last week at the Travelers Championship, will have the PGA TOUR’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines.
“While it’s disappointing to receive this news, as I feel healthy, I’m pleased that the new safety protocols we have in place worked this week,” said English. “I fully supported the TOUR’s new rule of not allowing anyone on the tournament grounds until testing negative, as protecting others in the field and everyone affiliated with the tournament and the community should be the No. 1 priority as a result of a positive test. I appreciate the TOUR’s support and I look forward to competing again after I’m fully recovered.”
Oh yes, that’s just what he said! Verbatim.
English is the fifth PGA TOUR player to test positive for Coronavirus since the PGA TOUR’s Return to Golf on June 11.
Great news regarding the first player to test positive: Nick Watney.
He’s getting ready to drive home to Austin after his unplanned extended stay in Hilton Head, is feeling good, plans to wear a mask on his lone pit-stop, and mostly has been concerned about whether he infected anyone else (he has not based on contact tracing and subsequent testing).
"I will say, it's not the greatest feeling being the first to get it," Watney said in his first interview since he was notified June 19 at the the RBC Heritage of his positive test.
"Some things are so vague around this thing," he said. "The symptoms ... some people get this, some get that. I haven't had a fever or cough the whole time, no shortness of breath. Maybe that's the reason it's so scary. I still don't know how or where I got it."
He lost his sense of smell, a sensation he described as "gnarly," but said that is coming back. And perhaps the strangest sensation is being at a golf resort without playing golf.
Two months ago, after the USGA decided to postpone the U.S. Open to September, Fox Sports execs Eric Shanks and Larry Jones reached out to Pete Bevacqua and Jon Miller at NBC Sports to see if their network -- which owns Golf Channel -- would be willing to carry some of this year’s event. Fox’s fall schedule is jam-packed, and it saw NBC as a potential lifeline to help it carry and sell one of golf’s four majors. Early in the discussions, it became clear that NBC wanted a bigger piece of the USGA package, and Fox wanted out.
Write down time!
Ourand also noted the ultimate problem dooming the Fox-USGA partnership had nothing to do with the production side of the presentation after the first year struggles:
Golf never fit Fox: Fox gets a bad rap for its golf production. The network’s performance at last year’s U.S. Open in Pebble Beach was praised widely. But golf never fit into Fox’s plans. The Fox execs that originally cut this deal -- Chase Carey and Randy Freer -- left the company soon afterwards, and nobody was left to champion the sport. Fox never was close to adding to its golf portfolio; it wasn’t a serious contender for either British Open or PGA Tour rights, which should have been the first sign that it wanted to get out of the USGA deal.
Fox’s Joe Buck took to Twitter to downplay the stellar work he did, particularly when his big league chops shined during a rules fiasco in 2016 and course setup issues in 2018.
Nantz, Hicks, Tirico all better at calling golf than me -but I would put our production up against anybody’s. Our innovation and drone shots and overall effort to try new things pushed golf coverage forward and for that I am most proud.Our producer Mark Loomis was a master tutor
Brad Faxon responded to several Tweets, including this:
Thanks Andy, nice of you to say, love @the_fried_egg and your passion for golf course architecture as well. Been nice having @gil_hanse as well on the team. Not many know more than he does. https://t.co/QMWWn1g9lU
Unfortunate news for the top PGA of America professionals in the U.S. who have seen their annual championship rescheduled and now, cancelled.
Set for Austin in late July, with the top 20 going to the PGA Championship in San Francisco and the top 3 recently announced as U.S. Open exemptions, it’s both a shame and also an eye-opener for August’s championship given the mention of travel restrictions. The PGA Championship will retain the 20 spots for PGA pros by exempting 2019 PGA Player Of The Year standings.
The news was emailed to PGA members. Ron Mintz posted the sad news:
The PGA of America announced on Monday that it has canceled the PGA Professional Championship.
“With the health and well-being of our PGA Members, volunteers, rules officials and staff serving as our guiding principles throughout this effort, recent COVID-19 surges in the area and various travel restrictions made our collective pursuit prohibitive.” 2 of 2
USGA Announces New Media Rights Partnership with NBCUniversal
Move is a win for golf fans
Wow, even the subhead has layers.
LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (June 29, 2020) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that the United States media rights for its championships have been transferred to NBCUniversal (NBCU), effective immediately.
With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the shift in dates for the U.S. Open from June to September, finding the necessary broadcast hours presented a challenge for FOX Sports, given their commitments to the National Football League, Major League Baseball and college football. What started as an exploration of how FOX Sports and NBC/Golf Channel could work together this unique year led to a broader conversation and eventual agreement for NBCU to take over the USGA media rights.
As a result, NBCUniversal will broadcast the four championships the USGA will conduct in 2020: the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur (Aug. 3-9 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.); the 120th U.S. Amateur (Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore.), the 120th U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and the 75th U.S. Women’s Open (Dec. 10-13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas).
“We are thrilled to acquire the remainder of FOX Sports’ USGA agreement, and will carry the designated USGA events, including the U.S. Open, through 2026,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group. “Adding these prestigious USGA events to our already incredibly deep golf business, led by our long-term PGA Tour partnership, as well as The Open Championship and the Ryder Cup, positions us as absolute leaders in the golf space. This deal is advantageous for all parties, including NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Peacock and the USGA, but also FOX Sports, and we thank them for working with us to complete this transaction. It further solidifies our platforms as the destination for golf viewers and enthusiasts, with NBC, Golf Channel, GOLFNow and GOLFPASS.”
“Partnering with NBCUniversal, including Golf Channel, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to connect and engage with the core golf audience more directly and routinely, and as a nonprofit, to continue to have a significant and lasting impact on the game,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA.
While the details are confidential,
Well, except to the AP and Wall Street Journal…
the term of the agreement between NBCUniversal and the USGA will be the same as the previous agreement with FOX Sports, carrying through December 31, 2026, and the financial remuneration for the USGA will remain the same for the duration of the agreement. This allows the USGA, as a nonprofit, to continue to fulfill its mission to champion and advance the game of golf, which includes conducting 14 annual Open and Amateur championships, serving golfers and golf courses and providing pathways into the game.
Translation, FOX will be paying a lot of money to make the deal go away.
Starting in 2021, when the USGA’s full championship schedule will be played, the agreement with NBCU will allow the USGA to continue the uninterrupted coverage it provides to television fans thanks to its longstanding partnership with Rolex. In 2021, that means eight of the USGA’s televised championships will be completely uninterrupted, including the U.S. Women’s Open and the Walker Cup. For the U.S. Open, thanks again to Rolex, NBCU will continue the tradition of showing the last hour of the final round uninterrupted.
To Fox and Rolex’s credit, this was an incredible “tradition” that started in 2018 and one everyone hopes can continue if financially feasible.
“In addition to moving our media rights to NBCUniversal, we are also excited by the opportunities that will come from extensive coverage on NBC’s Peacock platform,” said Davis. “We have implemented a defined strategy to build our digital offerings over the last six years and have achieved significant success. The reach and engagement of our championships will only increase through the NBCUniversal family, including their commitment to bring their “Live From” program to the U.S. Women’s Open beginning in 2021 and to cover Golf’s Longest Day linked to U.S. Open qualifying.”
Golf’s longest and arguably one of its very best days had been covered by Golf Channel prior to the rights transfer, with Fox retaining a wrap-up show element that aired late in the day.
Ok, here’s where we praise FOX…
Heralded as a landmark partnership between FOX Sports and the USGA in 2013, the network first began broadcasting USGA championships in the 2015 season. At the time, the network made its first foray into golf under the talented leadership of Mark Loomis, executive producer of USGA on FOX. Loomis developed a top-notch team of on-air talent and production professionals. This group not only brought to life the annual U.S. Open broadcast, but also the seven other USGA championships it aired each season.
“FOX Sports has cherished its time as home to the USGA championships for the past six years. This is a relationship and partnership that has been second to none,” said Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of FOX Sports.
I’m not sure I would have used second to none, now that it’s none. But go on…
“Recent events calling for the shift of the U.S. Open created scheduling challenges that were difficult to overcome. While we are proud of the success we’ve built over these years, this is a win for golf fans everywhere, a win for the USGA and a win for FOX and NBC Sports.”
Wins for everybody…
“We have genuinely appreciated the partnership that we have had with FOX Sports over the last six years and are grateful for their steadfast efforts to produce world-class events,” said Davis. “FOX brought significant innovation to golf broadcasting by elevating technology and enhancing the fan experience.”
Very true and let’s hope it continues for the remaining seven years.
And with that ends one of the more bizarre chapters in USGA history.