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Double Coverage Fits Golf to a Tee

August 09, 1996|LARRY STEWART

NBC thought it could handle the Olympics without a cable partner. CBS certainly doesn't make that mistake with the PGA Championship.

CBS, which has been televising the PGA Championship since 1991, uses TBS to not only cover the first two rounds but also share in the weekend coverage. The PGA Championship is the only tournament that has such an arrangement.

CBS scheduled nine hours of PGA Championship coverage, TBS a record 17. TBS' coverage Saturday and Sunday runs from 7:30 to 10 a.m., with CBS taking over at 10:30.

Sharing coverage of golf tournaments began in 1982, when the USA network teamed with CBS on the Masters and ESPN with ABC on the U.S. and British opens.

"We were doing Thursday and Friday rehearsals anyway, so it made sense to show the first two rounds on cable," longtime ABC golf producer Terry Jastrow says.

ESPN shares in the coverage of 23 golf events--11 with ABC, seven with NBC and five with CBS. The USA network shares 13 tournaments, including the Masters. The PGA Championship is TBS' only shared tournament.

Kevin O'Malley, senior vice president of programming for Turner Sports, said, "The tournament gets more exposure, the sponsors get more exposure, and the fans get to see more golf."

So everyone is happy. Well, almost everyone.

The TV crews work both the cable and network portions, making for long days.

CBS' Gary McCord recalls that at the 1993 PGA Championship, he was out there so long on Friday he made a makeshift bed in his tower out of some T-shirts and jackets.

"I did three hours of the telecast lying down," he said.

"Actually, it's not that hard on the announcers. I mean, we don't work that hard. But those guys carrying around those minicams, well, by Sunday they're beat."


Olympic leftovers: Still waiting for Dick Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports, to admit his network's coverage wasn't flawless.

He told USA Today that the job NBC did got "an approval rating of 97% from our audience research surveys."

Where did NBC find these people? In all the letters and voice-mail messages we've received, not one person liked NBC's coverage.

A typical comment comes from reader David Wilshin of Beverly Hills: "NBC may be pounding their chest, but every single one of the 30 or so people I polled said it's the worst coverage ever. Not one positive vote."

It's a good thing Muhammad Ali was presented his gold medal at the basketball venue. If it had been done at the boxing venue, NBC would have ignored it.

One more thing: All those NBC promos claiming it now has Jimmy Johnson make it sound as though Johnson, who formerly worked for Fox, was going to work for NBC instead of the Miami Dolphins. And Johnson's biggest game of his first season as coach of the Dolphins--a home game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 27--will be on Fox.


Johnson will be replaced by Ronnie Lott on Fox's pregame show, and Lott, who was introduced to reporters on a conference call this week, was very impressive.

He showed a vast knowledge of the NFL, giving in-depth answers to all questions about various teams.

Of the Raiders, whom he played for in 1991 and '92, Lott said, "Somehow they've got to figure out of way to avoid making all those penalties."


Recommended viewing: Another one of Roy Firestone's "Up Close" specials is on ESPN today at 4:30 p.m., with Carl Lewis, Art Modell and Brian Blades as the guests.

Lewis tells Firestone he never thought he had a chance to run on the 400-meter relay team, and that's why he didn't practice with the team. He points out he never anchored a losing relay team at any level, and also says he may not have even rooted for the U.S. team had his friend Mike Marsh not been on it.

"Carl's tone is very matter of fact," Firestone said. "There is no hostility in his voice."

Of his interview with Blades, who was acquitted of manslaughter charges in the shooting death of a cousin, Firestone said, "I had the feeling there was a lot he wasn't telling us."

TV-Radio Notes

Patrick McEnroe is following in his brother's broadcasting footsteps. CBS announced that Patrick, as well as John, will be part of the broadcast team for tennis' U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 26. . . . The Classic Sports Network this month will show previous dramatic U.S. Open matches, beginning today at 4 and 8 p.m. The first? John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors in their memorable five-set semifinal battle in 1984. . . . Fox has re-signed Jerry Glanville as a football commentator. "I allowed Fox to stay under the salary cap," Glanville said.

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