SBD/January 5, 2011/Media

PGA Tour Gives Golf Channel Permission To Mike Players On Tour

PGA Tour agrees to be flexible with pairings to aid Golf Channel's TV coverage

Golf Channel Exec Producer Jack Graham said that the PGA Tour has given the network permission "to put mikes on players" during the '11 season, but a lack of player interest means that it "might not happen" at this week's season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. Some golfers "don't want to do it," while others are "interested, just not in the first tournament of the year." Graham said that "at some point he expects players will get comfortable with the idea." Graham: "If you look at where we are compared with other sports, we're pretty far behind." When the players are miked, "it will not be live, rather repackaged during the telecast." Graham added, "It will work if we get some cooperation. But it's problematic. Some players will do it. Some won't." Ferguson noted given the "economy and growing entertainment choices -- and especially with a new television contract to be negotiated this year -- the PGA Tour is doing what it can to make broadcasts more interesting." The Tour also is "allowing some flexibility in the pairings to help with TV." There will be around 20 "featured players from the 'A list' that can be moved around to accommodate television." That means "certain players from that group would be chosen to tee off from No. 1 in the afternoon on Friday so Golf Channel could feature them on the back nine -- where most of the TV towers are located -- in the peak hours of the telecast." PGA Tour VP/Rules & Competition Slugger White: "We're just trying to take care of our TV partners. We're all in this together. We're trying to promote our sport" (AP, 1/4).

DRIVE FOR SHOW: The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Brooke wrote Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams' analysis on Golf Channel's new "Morning Drive" program will determine "whether the talk-radio-style show moves the meter and becomes an important part of the channel's daily programming." Kuselias and Williams are "top-notch talkers," and Williams on the show's debut Monday "came across as the more serious of the pair." They "have the right tone," but "can they add anything to the wider golf discussion?" Meanwhile, Brooke noted Golf Channel's latest print ads "include a broadcast schedule of the PGA Tour's first six events, beginning with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions this week and ending with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in mid-February." The schedule is "superimposed over a close-up image of Tiger Woods swinging a golf club." However, Woods "rarely, if ever, plays in five of the six tournaments listed so viewers really won't see much of him at all." But Golf Channel's "ties to Tiger remain strong" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 1/4).

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Golf Channel, PGA Tour

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