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Rainy U.S. Open a water hazard for TV teams

NBC and ESPN have plenty of people on hand, but then the deluge halts play.


There were lots of bored television media personnel at the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday. Just about the entire first round was rained out, leaving this roll call of hired help from NBC and ESPN to report on, well, rain:

From NBC, Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks, Roger Maltbie, Gary Koch, Bob Murphy, Peter Jacobsen, Mark Rolfing, Dottie Pepper, Jimmy Roberts, Tim Rosaforte and Bob Costas.

From ESPN, Chris Berman, Mike Tirico, Curtis Strange, Andy North, Terry Gannon, Karl Ravech, Scott Van Pelt, Bill Kratzert, Judy Rankin, Tom Rinaldi and Rick Reilly.

It was a somber Berman who announced, "No more golf today" at 10:53 a.m. PDT.

ESPN is the loser here. NBC takes over hole-by-hole coverage Saturday and Sunday, so now Berman and Co. are down to one day of measuring the water depth of the fairways and talking about Tiger Woods.

We're not sure how much to deduct from ESPN's planned 87 hours of multi-platform coverage after Thursday's rainout. NBC is offering coverage on nine of its channels (including, luckily, the Weather Channel) and even Sirius XM radio was planning 28 hours of coverage -- lots of murmuring followed by . . . more murmuring.

Even CNBC is doing a show from the Open -- a special edition of "CNBC Reports" -- at 5 p.m.

And if you have DirecTV, there's the possibility of adding three extra channels of interactive coverage on its four-in-one screen HD Mix channel.

Hopefully the weather will clear up, because there's enough TV coverage for a dozen 72-hole tournaments.

Wall-to-wall NBA draft coverage

We may not need it, but we're going to get it. As the networks like to say, "extensive multi-platform coverage" is planned for Thursday's 2009 NBA Draft at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden.

For example, beginning Monday, NBA TV and will have daily shows devoted to the draft and will offer commentary from studio host Rick Kamla, analysts Kenny Smith and Steve Smith, and David Aldridge plus a suitably attired Craig Sager poised to interview each draftee.

Also Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl, who finds no stunt too embarrassing (he appeared bare-chested and orange-painted at a Tennessee women's game, for example), has signed on to offer his thoughts and to blog.

ESPN will have its own band of experts and a special piece on probable No. 1 pick Blake Griffin and his workouts with "highly secretive trainer" Frank Matriciano. Of the segment, ESPN says, "Matriciano . . . is so protective of his identity and the bond of trust with the athletes he trains that he refuses to show his face in public."

Howland on 'one and done'

The ESPN show with the most depth, "Outside the Lines," will have a discussion on college basketball, the NBA and the so-called "one and done rule" that has cost UCLA a key player each of the last two years.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland and Ohio State Coach Thad Matta have lost, between them, seven players after their freshmen years. Howland has not been a big fan of the rule and in the show he says, "I would think most coaches don't like it. I think they'd like to change -- the ones that have dealt with it, anyway." Nice little dig at all the coaches who haven't had to deal with it.

The piece airs Sunday on ESPN at 6 a.m. and is rebroadcast on ESPN News at 9 a.m.

Good to watch Friday

The Dodgers and Angels meet again, this time at Angel Stadium for a three-game weekend series. Going into the series, the Dodgers have the best record in the majors and the Angels, who have been on a roll, are in second place in the AL West. Game 1 is at 7 p.m. on Channel 9 and FS West. If you prefer baseball with that metallic ping, the NCAA College World Series continues with two games today -- 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on ESPN2.

Good to watch Saturday

Some good soccer to see as ESPN2 and Univision televise the Spain vs. South Africa Confederations Cup match at 11:15 a.m. Telefutura will have the Iraq-New Zealand match at 11:30 a.m. and ESPN2 will rerun it at 10 p.m. ESPN2 will be in high definition. And last year's surprise team, the Tampa Bay Rays, plays the New York Mets on Channel 11 at 1 p.m.

Good to watch Sunday

If you're in the mood to give women's sports a chance on Father's Day, you can tune into soccer -- the L.A. Sol against Gold Pride (they're from the Bay Area) at 3 p.m. on FSC -- and then the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs at the Sparks will be on Prime Ticket at 6:30 p.m.

At 11 a.m. ESPN offers the Brazil-Italy soccer match and at 11:15 a.m. is the U.S.-Egypt game on ESPN2.

And the final game of the Dodgers-Angels series goes national at 5 p.m. on ESPN.


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