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ABC Getting a Major Chance With British Open Coverage

July 21, 1995|LARRY STEWART

Everything about the U.S. Open in June turned out well for NBC.

Corey Pavin's four-wood shot at 18 on the final day capped an exciting tournament, leaving NBC with an artistic and ratings success.

Now ABC, which has the British Open, gets its turn to remind the golfing public that it is the network that for years televised three of the four majors.

CBS, which has had the Masters since 1956, took over the PGA Championship in 1991, and the U.S. Open went from ABC to NBC this year.

Which major is the most important? ABC golf commentator Mark Rolfing makes a case for the British Open.

"It is the world championship and the most important event in professional golf," he said. "Quite a few of the American players I've talked to consider it the most important major."

ESPN will show the second round today, live at 6 a.m. and repeated at 1 and 4:30 p.m. And ABC's weekend coverage, for you early risers, will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday and 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

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Jim McKay was planning to be a part of the British Open broadcast team, but he is not fully recovered from the bypass surgery he had in May. Taking his place is free-lancer Jack Whitaker.

McKay, 74, plans to be back at work Aug. 19 for the Travers Stakes horse race at Saratoga in New York.

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Fans of Jim Healy, Pavin's uncle-in-law who was also a sportscaster of some note, will be glad to hear that many of Healy's more memorable tapes will be available for public listening early next year.

Patrick Healy, Channel 4 reporter and the son of Jim, who died a year ago Saturday, called to say the Television and Radio Museum of New York, which is planning to open a branch in Beverly Hills, has requested a portfolio of Healy's tapes.

Healy's widow, Pat, who does volunteer work at the archeology publications department at UCLA, has been putting together a library of Jim's work for the last year and has agreed to supply any tapes that are sought.

Healy's Pavin connection? His niece, the former Shannon Healy, is Corey's wife. They met at UCLA.

"That relationship got my father to back off on his hatred for golf," Patrick Healy said.

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Broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Pat Haden, who worked together on college football for CBS in the 1980s, will be reunited this fall on the NFL for TNT. Lundquist replaces Gary Bender, whose contract was not renewed.

Also, Turner Broadcasting has announced that the void left by Bender on the NBA will be filled by Dick Stockton, who currently does Oakland Athletic television and will again do football for Fox this fall.

Bender has been hired as the radio voice of the St. Louis Rams and will work with Jack Snow, who was retained as a commentator.

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TNT will expand its NFL pregame show from half an hour to an hour this year and is changing the format. It used to be based at game sites and was called "The Stadium Show." But now it will be based in an Atlanta studio and will be called "Pro Football Tonight."

A new host has yet to be named, but CNN's Vince Cellini is said to be the leading candidate.

Warren Moon has been hired to be part of the show, and, yes, he is still playing for the Minnesota Vikings. He is scheduled to appear live on the show when the Vikings play an early game, and on the rare occasion they have a late game, Moon's segment will be pre-taped.

A TNT spokesman said Thursday that network officials plan to talk to Moon about his wife's claim that Moon struck her during an incident Tuesday.

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In an effort to get a jump on Fox on NFL Sundays, ESPN is also expanding its "NFL GameDay" pregame show an additional 15 minutes this year. It will run from 8:45-10 a.m.

TV-Radio Notes

The postseason baseball schedules for ABC and NBC, announced Thursday, have the two networks sharing the playoffs through the World Series. The Series schedule: Game 1 on ABC, Games 2 and 3 on NBC, Games 4 and 5 on ABC, Game 6 on NBC and a coin toss to determine which network gets Game 7, if there is one. . . . ABC's next regular-season baseball telecast is Monday night--Cleveland and the Angels here--and the one after that won't be until Aug. 5. . . . Only eight more days until the first NFL exhibition telecast. ABC will televise the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio, between the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars on July 29, at 11:30 a.m.

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