US Open in Prime Time: It's Fantastic!
With the recent release of the US Open television schedule by the United States Golf Association, a completely asinine yet exciting idea popped in my golf-loving head: let's keep America's Major in Prime Time!
The 2010 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links will be
broadcast in prime time on NBC and ESPN to the Eastern and Central time zones as
part of more than 30 hours of live television coverage between June 17-20.
ESPN will begin coverage on the first two days of championship play
(June 17-18) with air times of 1-3 p.m. EDT each day. NBC Sports’ coverage of
the first two rounds will air from 3-5 p.m. EDT, followed by coverage from 5-10
p.m. EDT on ESPN. NBC Sports will broadcast the third round (June 19) from
4:30-11 p.m. EDT and the fourth round (June 20) from 3-9 p.m. EDT.
Ok, now before you jump down my throat for stating my opinion, just hear me out.
Remember when Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate went head-to-head (at least in terms of scoreboard position) on a Sunday evening at Torrey Pines, ultimately leading to one of the greatest clutch putts ever? Of course you do. Any self-respecting golf fan does. In fact, I can remember exactly where I was and who I was with when it happened. And, as a result, I can safely say that it was one of my favorite sport memories up this point in my life.
Could this event have happened at 3pm in the afternoon and still had the same effect? Of course. Would it have been seen by nearly as many people? Probably not.
The point is this: how big of a deal would it be if the USGA kept the US Open on the West Coast?
Yes, I get it; the US Open is meant to be played all over America. Whether it be at a public course or country club, golf fans want the chance to see the world's best golfers (and best amateurs) compete in their back yard. I completely understand that, and frankly I cannot wait for the Open to return to Illinois.
But what about the Masters? Obviously, this is one of the biggest tournaments in the world on an annual basis and it remains at Augusta National each and every season. No complaints from me; Augusta National is as historic as the tournament itself. However, what is keeping us from doing the same for the US Open?
If the USGA and PGA want to keep television viewers at a constant high rating for every US Open, keeping the tournament in prime time will almost guarentee more ratings in comparison to morning/afternoon telecasts.