Brandt Packer builds his own TV legacy as Golf Channel producer
Brandt Packer arrived in Stillwater, Okla., last week, genuinely thrilled at the idea of spending the next 15 days there.
Packer, a veteran of 11 years at Golf Channel, has earned a reputation for producing some of the most unique events for the network, whether it’s the Rio Olympics, Drive, Chip & Putt or this week’s assignment in Stillwater, the NCAA men’s and women’s golf championships.
As someone who grew up following his father, legendary basketball analyst Billy Packer, to the Final Four, Brandt always hoped that he would find his way back to producing a college event like this one.
He even found motivation in producing the NCAA golf championships from watching CBS’s iconic postgame celebration of “One Shining Moment.” In Golf Channel’s coverage, Packer calls it the winner’s vignette and it’s a collection of meaningful moments that plays shortly after the national golf champions have been crowned.
“I always remember my dad, after he’d interviewed the winning coach and player, staying on the court for ‘One Shining Moment,’” Packer said. “And you could see the passion and pride in his face. I thought, ‘Boy, if I ever get to do a college event, I want to capture the passion that he had.’ So, when we run that vignette, it’s my way of paying tribute to him.”
In fact, it was years earlier that Packer, through watching his father, was introduced to TV production of golf. Well, it wasn’t exactly golf, it was Putt-Putt miniature golf.
Few people probably remember that when the elder Packer wasn’t covering college basketball, he provided color commentary for Putt-Putt broadcasts. Again, Brandt was tagging along, soaking in all aspects of TV production.
It was at a Putt-Putt event in Fayetteville, N.C., that Brandt, all of 8 or 9 years old, decided that he wanted to be a producer because “he was the guy in charge.”
Now the 44-year-old is going into his fifth year of producing NCAA golf championships.
Golf Channel and the NCAA last year agreed on an extension that will take the relationship out to 2029.
Producing the college events requires a different touch than when Packer produces a PGA Tour or Champions Tour tournament. The NCAA championships bring the team concept into play and emotions run high in the pursuit of a national title, compared to a stock tour event.
There’s also more preparation required because the college players typically aren’t as well known. Hence, the extra-long stay in Stillwater, where Packer will put in several days of preparation before the men’s and women’s champions will be decided by next week.
“We started this five years ago, really, with a blank canvas,” said Packer, who played a year of golf at the University of Houston. “Now you look at the golfers and no one is even fazed by the TV cameras or doing interviews. It’s just become part of the process.”