NBC To Air Live Coverage Of Augusta National Women's Amateur
NBC will "broadcast the final round" of the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA) set to take place April 3-6, according to John Boyette of the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE. Golf Channel will air "highlights, live reports and news coverage throughout the event," including an on-site presence "during the first two competitive rounds," which are held at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta. Golf Channel's "Live From the Masters" telecast will begin on April 5, and include Saturday's final-round coverage at Augusta National Golf Club. Golf Channel on Sunday is airing the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals from ANGC. Meanwhile, the ANWA has signed "five presenting sponsors" for the tournament -- AT&T, Bank of America, IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Rolex (AUGUSTACHRONICLE.com, 9/12). AT&T, IBM Mercedes-Benz and Rolex are existing sponsors of The Masters (THE DAILY). GOLFWEEK's Beth Ann Nichols notes the move by NBC, which has never had rights to The Masters, to air live coverage from the ANWA, marks a "significant boost for the women's game" (GOLFWEEK.com, 9/12). Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner tweeted, "Can't wait to cover it -- could be a game-changer" (TWITTER.com, 9/12).
GREAT MOVE FOR THE SPORT: NBC's Mike Tirico, who will be part of the team covering the ANWA, said the event could "be a boost for not just women's golf but golf as a whole.” He noted there is a "good path to follow" for how the tournament could grow based on what the Drive, Chip & Putt Finals "has done for junior golf." He said, "It inspires junior golfers at most every club around the country that has a junior program. If Augusta National can do that for junior golf around the country, think what this will do for women's amateur golf." Tirico said Augusta National Chair Fred Ridley was "right on the money when he said women's golf is an important segment of the sport." Tirico: "There will be lots of young ladies starting to play golf who will have this as a destination when they're practicing those early mornings and late evenings” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 9/12).