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NBC releases British Open schedule; Paul Azinger opens up about Spieth, Day, Tiger and NBC vs. Fox

Azinger on Spieth: "He seems to be his own worst enemy"; NBC vs. Fox: "NBC is a well-oiled machine with a lot of confidence"

BRITISH OPEN PREVIEW AND SCHEDULE

 

 

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Mason

The full schedule and NBC’s production enhancements are below.

Last week, I had a chance to catch up with NBC lead golf analyst Paul Azinger prior to the 148th British Open. Paul didn’t hold back. He actually opened up quite a bit about some top of mind questions. Remember, Paul now works for both NBC and Fox which has the U.S. Open.

The British is returning to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Lots has happened in the last 68 years. 

Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports Group is pumped. He says, “Our extensive approach will feature an unprecedented amount of coverage, with live coverage from the first tee shot early Thursday morning through the final putt on Sunday evening. Leading up to The Open, our coverage will help set the stage with not only the competitive storylines, but also the cultural significance of Northern Ireland as host for just the second time in the 148-year history of The Open.”

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retired Johnny Miller, Paul Azinger and Dan Hicks

Dan Mason Address the condensed schedule of the majors. Player have to formulate their schedules differently.  Many players have played little. Some, like Tiger, have not played at all between majors.

Paul Azinger When you get older you like change a lot less but this change I like. This change has put an emphasis on five full months of golf starting with The Players Championship in March. It does feel weird though that this is going to be the final major as opposed to the PGA. 

I’m not sure if it was just Tiger winning the Masters, but you wonder if anyone who wins the Masters going forward, is going to have to adjust their schedule accordingly. It just seems like the perfect way to end the season and once the British Open ends, just a few short weeks later, someone’s walking out with 15 million with the FedEx Cup.  It’s the way the tour has always wanted it because the NFL starts shortly thereafter.  Unfortunately, you need a wrap-around season to accomplish it. The two tourneys that are most affected are The Valspar and the Honda Classic. As much as I hate change, I like this new schedule.

Dan Mason Thoughts on Jordan Spieth and his game? He’s been winless since the 2017 British Open. Jason Day has made a significant change recently, getting Stevie Williams (Tiger Woods’ former caddie).  Can he resurrect his career?

Paul Azinger I think Jordan’s trying to live up to who he used to be and not where he’s at currently.  Golf is a game of ups and downs and he seems to be his own worst enemy. He’s gone from the artist to more of a paint by numbers guy.  It’s hard to watch.  I think the less you say the better you play. Sometimes he’s a little too candid.  He gives me the appearance  that he needs to unclutter a cluttered mind.

As far as Day, I think he can, but he’s always been a high drama guy whether its vertigo in majors or other minor injuries.  Grabbing Williams tells me he’s very serious about competing again and that tells me something.  Williams knows what good golf looks like or else he wouldn’t do it.

Dan Mason  Thoughts on favorites?

Paul Azinger  Brooks Koepka by a wide margin, (remember his caddie is from there) is the favorite, followed by Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.  Everyone wants to know about Tiger but I believe this next win is going to be so tough and the meaning behind it. (One behind Sam Snead’s record of 82 wins)  Remember, he just had this mountaintop of an experience winning the Masters but this next win is going to be very difficult, more than most expect.

Dan Mason  Satisfied with the sweeping rules changes for 2019?  Equipment or ball modifications needed?

Paul Azinger The only rule I don’t like is dropping from your knee for penalty situations.  As far as equipment, I like it and I like the fact that amateurs can play the same exact equipment as the pro’s and play by the exact same rules.

Dan Mason  Going from Fox to the NBC booth.  What kind of challenge does it present?

Paul Azinger  It’s not that different.  I have nothing but great things to say about both sides. When you go to Fox it’s so new and exciting that we can pull it off. It’s a different dynamic with insecurities because we don’t know how that’s going to go.  With NBC, it’s a well-oiled machine with a lot of confidence and that’s really the only difference I see. In the end though, its golf.  Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t and there are no do-overs. 

It’s exciting no matter where you do it. I can’t believe I get to do both!

 

AIRTMES FOR THE 148TH OPEN WEEK (All Times EST):

 

Monday, July 15

7-9 a.m.                                   Morning Drive

9-11 a.m.                                 Golf Central Live From The Open

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.                  Sky Sports – On The Range

7-9 p.m.                                   Golf Central Live From The Open

 

Tuesday, July 16

6-10 a.m. / Noon-2 p.m.         Golf Central Live From The Open

10 a.m.-Noon                          Morning Drive

9-10 p.m.                                 Vantage Point with Mike Tirico

 

Wednesday, July 17

6-10 a.m. / Noon-2 p.m.         Golf Central Live From The Open

10 a.m.-Noon                          Morning Drive

11-11:30 p.m.                         The Men in Blazers (NBCSN)

 

Thursday, July 18

Midnight-1:30 a.m.                 Midnight Drive

1:30 a.m.-4 p.m.                      The Open – First Round

4-5 p.m.                                   Golf Central Live From The Open

11-11:30 p.m.                         The Men in Blazers (NBCSN)

 

Friday, July 19

1:30-4 p.m.                             The Open – Second Round

4-5 p.m.                                   Golf Central Live From The Open

11-11:30 p.m.                         The Men in Blazers (NBCSN)

 

Saturday, July 20

5-7 a.m.                                   The Open – Third Round

7-11 a.m.                                 Golf Central Live From The Open

7 a.m.-3 p.m.                           The Open – Third Round (NBC)

3-4 p.m.                                   Golf Central Live From The Open

1-1:30 a.m.                              The Men in Blazers (NBCSN, Saturday Overnight)

 

Sunday, July 21

4-7 a.m.                                   The Open – Final Round

7-10 a.m.                                 Golf Central Live From The Open

7 a.m.-2 p.m.                           The Open – Final Round (NBC)

2-4 p.m.                                   Golf Central Live From The Open

10-10:30 p.m.                         The Men in Blazers (NBCSN)

 

NBC also shared this information, which might be of interest going into the British:

COVERAGE ENHANCEMENTS AT THE 148TH OPEN: NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open will utilize 150 cameras, the most for any golf event, and will employ additional production enhancements such as:

  • “PLAYING THROUGH” COMMERCIAL BREAK FORMAT: Enhancing both the viewership and commercial experience, NBC Sports’ popular “Playing Through” split-screen commercial format returns for The Open, ensuring viewers don’t miss key stretches of the action during commercial breaks. During NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open at Carnoustie in 2018, an additional 181 shots of live golf were shown because of “Playing Through”.
  • GOLF CENTRAL LIVE FROM THE OPEN EXPANDED WEEKEND COVERAGE: Golf Central Live From The Open will feature expanded hours on Saturday-Sunday, complementing NBC’s early coverage from Royal Portrush. Coverage will include live look-ins at the practice ground as the leaders prepare for their round.
  • TOPTRACER TECHNOLOGY: Coverage will have the capability of utilizing Toptracer on all 18 holes at Royal Portrush. Topracer will be utilized on tee shots either via live video or via NBC Virtual Follow, a live trace over a graphic representation of the hole. Toptracer also will be featured on approach shots via cameras that can travel anywhere on the course.
  • BUNKER CAMS: NBC Sports’ coverage of The Open will once again make use of the popular “bunker cam” technology, embedding a camera into the lip of seven bunkers at Royal Portrush to offer a unique perspective as players attempt to make their escape.
  • INFLUENCE OF WIND: Wind indicators will be utilized around the course to measure changes in wind conditions in real-time, providing immediate ultra-precise data so viewers can easily distinguish what a player is facing over a given shot.

 

 

 

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Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Dan Mason has been in sports broadcasting since the 1980s, doing play by play, color and covering the ACC. He previously hosted programming for ESPN Radio in Raleigh. He can be reached at dmason1@nc.rr.com

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