NBC Sports Group Promises To Keep Focus On Golf During Final U.S. Open Production
NBC Sports Group insists that it "will try to take a business-as-usual approach" for this week's U.S. Open despite the fact that this will be the net's final time airing the tournament before Fox takes over next year, according to Ed Sherman in a special to GOLF DIGEST. Fox landed the rights last summer, and NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said of NBC Sports Golf Producer Tommy Roy, "When this all happened, Tommy called me and said, 'How do you want us to cover the last U.S. Open?' I said, 'Tommy, I want you to do the best job you can do and be proud of whatever you put on the air.' He said, 'Thank you for that'" (GOLF DIGEST, 6/9 issue). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted Roy "wants the action this week to be the story and pledged the best possible job of his production staff." Roy: "The story will not be about being NBC’s last U.S. Open. ... But it's been a real privilege to televise a major and we’re giving maximum effort to deliver our best shows yet." Roy noted that he "has been asked frequently if NBC will cut back and cut corners on the final Open telecast." He said, "I can absolutely assure you that’s not in our team’s DNA." Roy did acknowledge that at some point "towards the end of Sunday’s coverage, a reference to NBC’s final U.S. Open will be made on the air" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/10). USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis and President Tom O'Toole yesterday prior to the start of the tournament both had high praise for NBC and ESPN, which have broadcast the Open for 20 and 32 years, respectively. Davis said, "I can tell you that with my 25 years with the USGA, to see -- in the case of NBC -- how they've elevated our championship and the innovations they've used have just been wonderful." O'Toole added the USGA would "not be the strong and healthy organization we are today" without the work of NBC and ESPN (Josh Carpenter, Staff Writer).
MILLER TIME: SI's Alan Shipnuck wrote he is "genuinely bummed" that this will be the last U.S. Open NBC's Johnny Miller calls, as he has "made us much smarter fans." Miller is an "obsessive preparer," who, during tournament weeks, "spends as much time on the putting surfaces as any caddie." His style "isn't for everybody," as he is like the "cranky old uncle who is likely to break up a dinner party with his blunt observations." But golf, "especially the U.S. Open, won't be the same without him." Miller is under contract with NBC through '15, and it is a "no-brainer to have him welcome the sport back to the Olympics" in '16. But this week "is the beginning of the long goodbye" (SI GOLF+, 6/9 issue).
CANDID CAMERAS: USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio notes there will be 57 cameras at Pinehurst, including "many that will capture play in super slow motion, and action cams along the right side of the 18th green, to the left of the first tee and over the clubhouse." On the ground, there "will be multiple point of-view cameras, including some in bunkers." One camera "will be locked on the Payne Stewart statue by the 18th green, which is a gathering place for spectators." Multiple cameras with 3D "pinpoint capabilities will be situated near the greens to capture from all angles the undulation challenges the players will face." Because the U.S. Women's Open "comes the week after the men's, flyovers of each hole will indicate which tee box the women will use" (USA TODAY, 6/12).
NOT JUMPING THE SHARK: GOLF DIGEST's Sam Weinman wrote though Fox golf analyst Greg Norman "will be leaning" on Joe Buck and Fox Coordinating Producer for Golf Mark Loomis to "learn some of the intricacies of broadcasting, he said he hasn't sought out advice from other golfers who have dabbled in the booth." Norman: "You've got to have your own approach. Obviously there are certain things Fox likes us to do, the message and the mannerisms we're trying to convey. It's about having fun out there. I had a lot of fun playing the game and I will have a lot of fun commentating" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/11).