By Ryan Berenz
A big weekend for golf is ahead with the Solheim Cup (it’s the women’s version of the Ryder Cup) in Ireland and the TOUR Championship, the men’s tournament featuring the top 30 players in the FedExCup playoffs standings. The Solheim Cup is broadcast exclusively on GOLF CHANNEL, with coverage beginning with the Opening Ceremony live on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 12pm ET. Live tournament coverage starts Friday morning at 2:30am ET. The U.S. team, captained by Rosie Jones, consists of Paula Creamer, Vicky Hurst, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Ryann O’Toole, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford and Michelle Wie. Captain Alison Nicholas captains the European team with Christel Boeljon, Laura Davies, Sandra Gal, Sophie Gustafson, Caroline Hedwall, Maria Hjorth, Catriona Matthew, Anna Nordqvist, Azahara Munoz, Suzann Pettersen, Melissa Reid and Karen Stupples.
The TOUR Championship coverage begins Thursday and Friday at 1pm ET on GOLF CHANNEL. Saturday coverage begins at 1pm ET on GOLF and then switches to NBC at 2pm ET. Final round coverage on Sunday begins at 12pm ET on GOLF and switches to NBC at 1:30pm ET.
Press release and full TV schedules from the NBC Sports Group below:
NBC SPORTS GROUP TO DELIVER NEARLY 50 COMBINED LIVE HOURS OF GOLF THIS WEEK FROM THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE SOLHEIM CUP
Golf Channel’s Exclusive Coverage of The Solheim Cup Will Feature the Best in Ladies’ Match Play When Team USA Challenges Team Europe in Ireland
NBC Sports Group Coverage of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola Will Showcase the Top-30 Players Competing for the TOUR Championship Crown and the Ultimate Winner of the 2011 FedExCup’s $10 Million Prize
Golf Channel’s Pre Game Show, Which Will Air on NBC Prior to Weekend Coverage, Will Be a First for Golf Coverage on Any Broadcast Network
European Tour Heads to Austria for Austrian GolfOpen
ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2011) – Two of the biggest events in golf coincide on the tournament calendar this week and NBC Sports Group will treat fans to nearly 50 live hours of coverage of both the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and The Solheim Cup.
TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
Dates: Sept. 22-25
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga.
Golf Channel Airtimes (All Times Eastern):
Thursday 1-6 p.m. (Live) / 7 p.m.-Midnight (Replay)
Friday 1-6 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-Midnight (NBC Replay)
Sunday Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-Midnight (NBC Replay)
Golf Channel on NBC Airtimes (All Times Eastern)
Saturday 2-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 1:30-6 p.m. (Live)
NBC Sports Group On-Air Team:
Brian Hammons (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (Golf Channel on NBC) – Play-by-Play
Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (Golf Channel on NBC) – Lead Analyst
Gary Koch (Tower)
Peter Jacobsen (Tower)
Roger Maltbie (On-Course)
Mark Rolfing (On-Course)
Billy Andrade (On-Course)
Jimmy Roberts (On-Course / Interviews)
Steve Sands (Interviews)
Golf Central Pre Game Broadcast on NBC Saturday and Sunday – NBC will air Golf Central Pre Game Live From the TOUR Championship preceding NBC’s Saturday and Sunday coverage of the third and final rounds of the TOUR Championship (1:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. ET, respectively). The half-hour pre-game shows will be a first for golf coverage on broadcast television and will originate from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Both shows will feature Golf Channel and “Golf Channel on NBC” personalities Kelly Tilghman, Brandel Chamblee, Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks and Steve Sands.
NBC Sports Group To Air More than 20 Hours of Live Coverage – Golf Channel and NBC Sports will broadcast a combined 21 hours live tournament action from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. All NBC Sports golf coverage has been rebranded “Golf Channel on NBC.”
Four Rounds of Coverage – In addition to exclusive Thursday and Friday coverage, Golf Channel will air early coverage on Saturday and Sunday leading into “Golf Channel on NBC” coverage. Golf Channel also will re-air NBC’s coverage in prime time on the weekend at 10 p.m. ET.
Aimpoint presented by Fidelity Featured – Aimpoint presented by Fidelity, Golf Channel’s Emmy-award winning graphics technology that measures the line of the putt and where players must aim to hole-out, will be featured on holes 9 and 18 at East Lake G.C.
TOUR Championship Features Field of Top-30 – The top-30 players remaining in the PGA TOUR Playoffs not only will compete this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola crown, but also to improve their shot at winning the season-ending FedExCup and $10 million. If any of the top-five players heading into this week’s tournament – Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar – win at East Lake, they automatically win the FedExCup.
Golf Central on-site Thursday-Sunday – Golf Central will expand to an hour Wednesday-Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, and will broadcast live and on-site Thursday-Sunday from East Lake Golf Club. Kelly Tilghman, Brandel Chamblee, Steve Sands and Tim Rosaforte will host Golf Central from East Lake.
Golf Talk Live, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET - Following the conclusion of play at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and an hour-long Golf Central, Golf Channel will host its fifth edition of Golf Talk Live on-site at East Lake. Host Steve Sands and panelists Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing will debate the top storylines of 2011, recap the PGA TOUR Playoffs and preview the storylines going into the PGA TOUR’s Fall Series.
Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo:
“The points may not show it, but the three best players so far in the race for the FedExCup are Simpson, Donald and Snedeker. Scoring for the 15 rounds each has played (-35, -32 and -29 respectively) in the Playoffs provides proof that they have shown the required form to be ‘Mr. September.’”
“The critics will complain about Luke Donald’s chance to win the FedExCup and yet not win a single Playoff event. While the system isn’t perfect, there still should be a reward for playing good golf and contending every week.”
The Solheim Cup
Dates: Sept. 23-25
Venue: Killeen Castle Golf Club, Killeen Castle, Dunsany, Ireland
Airtimes (All Times Eastern):
Thursday (Opening Ceremony) Noon-1 p.m. (Live)
Friday 2:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 2:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live) / 7-10 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 5 a.m.-Noon (Live, Including Closing Ceremony) / 8-10 p.m. (Replay)
Golf Channel Tournament Broadcast Team
Rich Lerner (Play-by-Play) / Terry Gannon (Play-by-Play)
Jane Crafter (Lead Analyst) / Dottie Pepper (Lead Analyst)
Tom Abbott (Tower)
Phil Parkin (On-course)
Kay Cockerill (On-course)
Val Skinner (On-course)
Jerry Foltz (On-course)
28 Hours of Live, exclusive, shot-by-shot coverage – The biennial, trans-Atlantic matches of The Solheim Cup – one of the pre-eminent events in ladies’ sports – will air live exclusively on Golf Channel, beginning Friday at 2:30 a.m. ET from Killeen Castle in Ireland. Featuring the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA and the best European players from the Ladies European Tour, the team from USA will be looking to defend and extend its Solheim Cup winning streak to four. Golf Channel will cover every match from tee to green, encompassing 28 live hours over the three days of team competition.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies Featured – Golf Channel will televise The Solheim Cup’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as content from player news conferences Tuesday through Thursday inside Morning Drive.
“It’s going to be much closer than it may look on paper. The patriotic electricity from the European side this week will be hair-raising.”
“The 2009 Solheim Cup showed us the depth of Michelle Wie’s talents when she is engaged with her peers and not over-thinking mechanics or strategy. Her natural athletic talent combined with simple encouragement is a treat for any fan to observe. For her team – but mostly for her – I hope she taps into that Michelle Wie this week.”
“It was clear to all of us involved with the show [Big Break], Ryann was one of the strongest players in the cast and had tremendous potential. This year, despite having limited starts, she has been able to become somewhat of an overnight sensation.”
“Rosie has handed Ryann the golden ticket, but the question now on a lot of people’s lips is whether Ryann will use the ticket to get into the party. It’s going to be interesting to see how she plays this week having struggled with her game since Rosie made her selections.”
“In my mind, the U.S. players to watch will be Wie, Hurst and O’Toole, who have really struggled of late. Wie is still experimenting with grips for the belly putter. Hurst and O’Toole will hopefully rise to the occasion with help from their teammates! They will certainly have pressure on them to try and justify the faith put in them from Captain Jones. They have the tools, length and strength, but pressure can either inspire or handcuff a player.”
“Suzann Pettersen, at World No. 2 and the highest ranked player from both teams, has to take the leading role and win most of her matches. If she doesn’t, the U.S. will have the edge.”
“If the U.S. team loses by a narrow margin, the LPGA may look back to the last year and wish they had approached Lexi Thompson and offered her LPGA membership.”
“An unfamiliar player to most Americans who may surprise a lot of people this year is rookie Caroline Hedwall. She transitioned nicely to professional golf, winning her debut event earlier this year, and has won three times since. I look for her to play most of the matches and end up with a winning record.”
Dates: Sept. 22-25
Venue: Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria
Airtimes (All Times Eastern)
Thursday 9 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Saturday (Friday Night) 12:30-2:30 a.m. (Tape Delay)
Saturday 2-6 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Sunday 1:30-5:30 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Golf Channel Tournament Broadcast Team
Mike Ritz (Studio Host)
Dominik Hoyler (Play-by-Play)
Kim Thomas (Lead Analyst)
Paul Eales (On-Course)
Headlining the Field: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pablo Larrazabal, Alexander Noren, John Daly, Pelle Edberg, Richard Green and Todd Hamilton
Photo: Credit: John Gress/Icon SMI 936/Newscom