Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Players Championship - A Special Week on Golf Channel & NBC

Nearly 100 Hours of Live Television Devoted to the PGA TOUR’s Marquee Tournament Attracting the Most Competitive Field in Golf 

33 Hours of Live Tournament Coverage, Highlighted by the Most Technologically Advanced Production of the Year 

Golf Channel’s Spotlight Coverage Returns to Showcase Gauntlet of Finishing Holes at TPC Sawgrass 

New Technology Will Allow Fans to Interact with Telecast and Be Part of the Social Conversation

“TPC Sawgrass is one of the most intriguing golf courses in the world in terms of how it makes the pros think through every shot. It has stood the test of time. I appreciate this golf course more and more each year.” – Dan Hicks, Golf Channel on NBC 

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 30, 2014) – Boasting one of the world’s most challenging golf courses – highlighted by the 17th hole’s famous island green – and the strongest field of the year, THE PLAYERS Championship will offer marquee viewing on Golf Channel and NBC with nearly 100 hours of combined live coverage during tournament week, May 5-11.

THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass will provide the backdrop and the networks of NBC Sports will tell the stories and showcase the action of the most-anticipated tournament on the PGA TOUR calendar. A combined 33 hours of coverage of live golf will air on both Golf Channel and NBC, which will be blanketed by more than 43 live hours of the most comprehensive news coverage at golf’s biggest events with Live From THE PLAYERS. Additionally, Morning Drive will tee off each day, dedicating 20 live hours during the week to THE PLAYERS, with expanded shows Thursday through Sunday; and Golf Channel’s Spotlight coverage will return on the weekend to focus on TPC Sawgrass’ treacherous finishing stretch of holes while complementing NBC’s traditional coverage. Michael Breed will be live on the driving range at TPC Sawgrass for Monday’s edition of The Golf Fix, when he’ll demonstrate how the pros will navigate the course and provide strategies for playing its toughest holes.

BROADCAST TEAM: Golf Channel on NBC’s live tournament coverage of THE PLAYERS Championship will be anchored by Dan Hicks and Hall-of-Famer Johnny Miller. Terry Gannon and Sir Nick Faldo will host early rounds on Golf Channel. The remainder of the broadcast team for all four rounds will include Gary Koch (16 & 17) and Peter Jacobsen (14) in tower positions; Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Jerry Foltz walking with the players; Steve Sands conducting interviews; and Jimmy Roberts providing features and essays. Kelly Tilghman will serve as tournament telecast host for Golf Channel’s early round coverage, while NBC Sports newcomer Josh Elliott will make his debut with the golf broadcast team, hosting NBC’s weekend coverage.

Rich Lerner, Tilghman and Ryan Burr will anchor Golf Channel’s Live From THE PLAYERS coverage from TPC Sawgrass and will be joined by analysts Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Brad Faxon and a host of others, including award-winning journalist Tim Rosaforte. Lisa Cornwell and George Savaricas will host from Golf Channel’s Orlando studios, and will be joined by analysts Steve Flesch and Tripp Isenhour.

SPECIAL PRODUCTION ELEMENTS: Every conceivable angle of the famous par-3, 17th hole and its island green will be covered by Golf Channel on NBC’s production team. A total of nine high-definition cameras, including a microscopic lens embedded in the lip of the small bunker fronting the green, will be in place.

Returning is the popular “Actioncam,” a cable-suspended camera system that will fly over the lake between the 16th and 17th greens. A camera will be situated behind the 14th tee that will provide a seldom seen, reverse ball-flight for one of the more difficult tee shots on the course; and “pole-cams” that rise as much as 30 feet in the air will be located on the tee at holes 2, 6 and 10, and on the 14th green.

Some of the manned camera positions also are noteworthy, including a position lifted by a crane 150 feet into the air above the tree line and that will show unique shots of the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Another camera operator is ferried to a small island near the 17th green where he is marooned for approximately eight hours during a broadcast, capturing player reactions from this unique angle.

SPOTLIGHT: Golf Channel’s Spotlight coverage will return at THE PLAYERS Championship, focusing on the challenging stretch of finishing holes at TPC Sawgrass. Spotlight coverage is enhanced for 2014, featuring a reverse-L on-screen graphic displaying continuous stats and player updates. While NBC is on the air live with its traditional tournament coverage, Golf Channel also will be on live, but focusing its telecast solely on holes 16-18. Coverage will be highlighted by special production elements, including ProTracer, which uses graphics to track the flight of the ball in real time; and TrackMan, a technology that measures club-head speed, ball speed and carry distance. Randy Moss and Curt Byrum will anchor Spotlight coverage, with Craig Perks and Scott McCarron following players on the three holes.

INTERACTIVE: An additional second-screen experience is in store for Golf Channel viewers during the week of THE PLAYERS Championship. For the first time, Live From THE PLAYERS will incorporate a polling technology called iPowow, which will give fans an opportunity to actively participate in Golf Channel programming through a computer or mobile device. Only Internet access is required, making the process simple for anyone to use. Viewers will be invited by Golf Channel personalities to answer poll questions on a variety of topics, which then they can track by the second at Golf Channel has the option to air ongoing results or reveal updates at any given moment.

FEATURES: Throughout the week within Live From THE PLAYERS, Golf Channel will offer in-depth features built around the best stories in golf, both compelling and entertaining:
  • Sergio – one year after a controversial and disappointing PLAYERS Championship appearance, Sergio Garcia discusses his subsequent personal journey. Still only 34, Rich Lerner explores how close Garcia has become to the golfer and the star the golf world thought he could be 15 years ago. 
  • Bubba’s Victor Tour – after capturing his second green jacket, Masters Champion Bubba Watson takes Golf Channel on an exclusive, all-access trip to his alma mater – University of Georgia – his hometown and his high school, among other stops along the way. 
  • Norman’s Epic Round – it’s the 20th anniversary of Norman’s record-breaking round at TPC Sawgrass that won him THE PLAYERS Championship by eight strokes. Norman and then playing partner Fuzzy Zoeller remember the day and what it was like conquering Pete Dye’s architectural masterpiece. 
  • Diving 17 – thousands of golf balls drown in the water surrounding TPC Sawgrass’ famous 17th green every year, and Matt Ginella takes a dive to discover how these gems are retrieved. 
  • The Fifth Major? – it’s a question asked every year – should THE PLAYERS Championship be declared a major championship? This feature examines what constitutes a major and talks to players about their views on this event. 
DIGITAL CONTENT: will feature expanded editorial content during THE PLAYERS Championship week, with up-to-the-minute blogs and fan interaction, including:
News & Features – writers will post features throughout the week.
Live Chats – editorial staff will host live chats Thursday-Sunday to keep fans up-to-date and answer their questions as the action unfolds.
Exclusive Video Content – will provide video updates daily throughout the week from the network’s digital studio in Orlando, as well as segments from Golf Channel’s Live From THE PLAYERS and Morning Drive news coverage.

STREAMING ON GOLF LIVE EXTRA/NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA: All the news and tournament action surrounding THE PLAYERS Championship can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online through the help of Golf Channel’s Golf Live Extra. Fans also can stream Golf Channel on NBC coverage of live golf with NBC Sports Live Extra.