SBD/Issue 208/Sports Media

ABC's British Open Coverage Hampered By Simulcast Of BBC Feed

Watson Scheduled To Join ABC's Coverage
This Weekend But Will Be Playing Instead
This week's British Open on ABC and TNT "isn't likely to be a TV gem," according to Pete Dougherty of the Albany TIMES-UNION. The two nets are "limited to the 'world feed' provided" by the BBC, which uses standard-definition cameras. ABC Sports Coordinating Producer Mike McQuade said, "The BBC is improving the world feed. We've added an aerial camera. We've added the x-mo (super slow-motion) camera. We've also helped and worked in conjunction with them in providing U.S. cameramen on certain holes that will be on the world feed." Meanwhile, Dougherty notes this is ABC's only PGA Tour telecast of the season, though ESPN broadcasts a "couple of additional events," and ABC has a cast of announcers -- Andy North, Curtis Strange, Paul Azinger, Judy Rankin and Tom Weiskopf -- "who have rarely worked together" (Albany TIMES-UNION, 7/17). Tom Watson is also scheduled to join ABC's coverage this weekend, but at presstime he was tied for the lead in the tourney. Prior to the start of the Open, he said that he is hoping to "play well enough that he'll appear on-air swinging rather than analyzing." Watson: "I hope I'm not broadcasting on Saturday and Sunday very much, if at all" (USA TODAY, 7/16). 

FIRST-DAY JITTERS? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes TNT, in its last year covering the tournament, "did whatever it took -- interviews, old tape, British Open come-on promos, features, extended on-camera chats among commentators -- to show as little live golf as possible" during Thursday's first round. The net at one point "abandoned live coverage ... for a rambling 4 1/2 minute interview with Stewart Cink, then went to a panoramic shot, next showed three live shots, then to more scenery, then to commercials" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).

IN THE BOOTH:  YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote Weiskopf joined TNT's coverage Thursday and showed "some rust ... particularly when it was left on him to do play-by-play." However, Weiskopf, who was an analyst for CBS from '85-95, "shined when called on for analysis." While he sometimes "faded into the background, his simple analysis and insight into playing links golf was a welcome change from the sometimes-loquacious" Ian Baker-Finch (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/16).

TRACKING TIGER: ABC’s Mike Tirico, who will serve as the net's main play-by-play announcer during the British Open, discussed the topic that Tiger Woods is covered too much by U.S. broadcasters and said, "You’re easily watching the best thing that we’ve seen since Jack Nicklaus in golf. So we’d be morons, idiots, and we wouldn’t be doing a very good job as business people if we didn’t show you Tiger. For many years, a lot of you listening watched Tiger play more than you watched anybody else” (“The Scott Van Pelt Show,” ESPN2, 7/16).

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