ESPN is your home for all four rounds of the 2011 Open Championship. Here’s their coverage plans including their announcers for the week, led by Mike Tirico:
All Rounds of The Open Championship Live on ESPN Platforms
ESPN will present complete live four-round coverage from golf’s oldest major tournament, The Open Championship, at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England, with 37 hours of live television on July 14-17. ESPN’s all-star lineup of analysts and commentators, who hold a combined 14 major golf championships, will anchor 68 total hours of TV and extensive multiplatform coverage.
Serving sports fans with live programming despite the time zone differences, ESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV will have 11 scheduled hours of live coverage of each of the first two rounds of the 151st anniversary tournament on Thursday and Friday, July 14-15, from 4 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. Saturday’s third round will have live coverage from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Sunday’s final round will air live from 6 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Golf fans unable to watch the live coverage will be able to see The Best of The Open Championship, an edited encore presentation, on ESPN in prime time each night from 7-10 p.m. (on ESPN2 on Sunday). Highlights of each day’s play also will air in The Open Championship Today from 3-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday on ESPN and Saturday and Sunday on ABC. The Open Championship has appeared on ABC every year since 1966.
ESPN’s flagship news and information program, SportsCenter, will originate from the tournament site with a one-hour special SportsCenter at The Open Championship program on Wednesday, July 13, at 2 p.m. as well as extensive reports throughout each day.
For the 15th consecutive year, Mike Tirico will host ESPN’s live telecasts from The Open Championship. ESPN’s team will include five-time Open Championship winner Tom Watson (eight major titles), two-time U.S. Open champions Curtis Strange and Andy North, 1993 PGA champion Paul Azinger and 1973 Open Champion Tom Weiskopf. The BBC’s legendary golf announcer Peter Alliss also will contribute to ESPN’s coverage.
Scott Van Pelt and Terry Gannon also will serve as hosts, with Van Pelt, Strange and Sean McDonough working as hole announcers. On-course reporters will be North, Bill Kratzert and Olin Browne, while reporter Tom Rinaldi will conduct interviews and ESPN The Magazine’s Rick Reilly will present essays.
ESPN’s technology for The Open Championship will include “Perfect Path,” which tracks drives on five holes from behind and in front of the drive, and “Putt Zone,” which shows the path the player needs to hole a putt. Putt Zone will be used on the 4th, 9th and 13th holes. ESPN will have 42 dedicated cameras to complement the world feed and will utilize announcer touch screens for scoring information, course maps, and weather as well as ORAD, an enhanced telestrator for analysis.
Actor Ian McShane, one of the stars of the forthcoming Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, again lends his voice to ESPN’s opening teases.
Among features that will be presented during ESPN’s coverage of The Open Championship is an ESPN Sport Science piece on playing golf in the wind, a factor that all competitors in the event have to deal with. Other features will focus on U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy as well as the engraver of the Open Championship’s famous Claret Jug trophy. In addition, ESPN will air a tribute to three-time champion Seve Ballesteros, who died earlier this year.
The Open Championship on ESPN Online
In addition to television coverage, there will be extensive Open Championship offerings for fans online and via mobile platforms across ESPN.com, ESPN3.com, espnW.com and ESPNnetworks.com.
Columns/articles by national columnist Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig and ESPN The Magazine’s Rick Reilly.
In-depth feature by Wojciechowski on U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, written after spending time with McIlroy in London and with family/friends in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland.
Harig feature on Ben Curtis, the unlikely winner of the last Open Championship held at Royal St George’s
“Digital Drive,” an exclusive ESPN.com program hosted by Rick Reilly, produced each day Tuesday-Sunday of the tournament.
Extensive video content, including highlights, analysis, clips from SportsCenter and press conferences each day during tournament week.
ESPN.com GolfCast application featuring live scoring, social media integration and CoverItLive analysis daily with ESPN’s golf team.
A golf-themed fantasy game – the third installment of the ESPN Best Ball Challenge
In addition to the simulcast of ESPN’s live coverage of all four rounds of The Open Championship, ESPN3.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, will offer several unique views for golf fans. Viewers can watch action on the 1st and 18th holes at Royal St George’s Golf Club on ESPN3.com as well as action on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. ESPN3.com also will offer a Spanish-language telecast and an international view of the championship via BBC telecast.
ESPN’s first dedicated content and digital business designed to serve, inform and inspire female athletes and fans, espnW.com will preview The Open Championship with writings by golf contributors Lewine Mair and Mick Elliott. In addition to daily reports, planned items include:
A signature of espnW – the Top 5 storylines to watch at The Open Championship
Players to watch, and who could surprise
A comparison of fans at the Open Championship with galleries in America
The extreme weather possibilities and how conditions have affected the Open through the years.
All Open Championship programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com will also be available on computers, smartphones and tablets through ESPNnetworks.com and the free WatchESPN app, which are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
Additional coverage of The Open Championship on ESPN platforms:
Coverage of The Open Championship on ESPN platforms will reach some 70 countries and more than 112 million international households, with coverage in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin and Cantonese. Latin America will also offer HD coverage and streaming via ESPN Play (broadband) simulcasting live TV and ESPN3.com exclusive feeds and ESPN Extra will offer The Open Championship Mix interactive TV experience for all four rounds available on DirecTV. ESPN in the UK will air four 1-hour highlight programs Thursday-Sunday in HD.
ESPNEWS will offer all the latest Open Championship news beginning Wednesday, July 13, with interviews, pre- and post-round news conferences and analysis.
ESPN Classic will feature 35 consecutive hours of classic Open Championship golf films leading into live coverage of the first round of the event on ESPN. The Open Championship Golf Marathon begins Tuesday, July 12, at 4 p.m. and runs through Thursday, July 14, at 4 a.m. Included will be a three-hour tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros, three-time champion, starting at 9 p.m. on July 12.
ESPN on Demand
Available to approximately 38 million television households, and on approximately 10 million mobile handsets, ESPN On Demand will offer exclusive Open Championship content, including official films from past Championships at St Andrews in 2005 (Tiger Woods), 2000 (Woods) and 1995 (John Daly). Also available will be official film of Woods’ victory in 2006 at Royal Liverpool. Viewers will also be able to watch a 2011 Open Championship highlight film beginning July 19.
ESPN Mobile TV
ESPN Mobile TV will offer live simulcasts of ESPN’s live telecasts and encore presentations along with news and highlights on the ESPN mobile website with a leaderboard, Open Championship Insider content, news, and columns.
The four-screen Open Championship Experience will air on DirecTV (channels 701-705) for all four days of the championship. One channel will carry the live ESPN television coverage, while another will offer a different view with the BBC/World coverage. The other two channels will offer alternating coverage from the opening and closing holes and alternating coverage of holes 14, 15 and 16.
The Open Championship – Royal St George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, England
Day/Date Program Start End Network
Wed., July 13 SportsCenter at The Open Championship 2 p.m. 3 p.m. ESPN2
Thu., July 14 First Round 4 a.m. 3 p.m. ESPN. ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Thu., July 14 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. 6 p.m. ESPN
Thu., July 14 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. 10 p.m. ESPN
Fri., July 15 Second Round 4 a.m. 3 p.m. ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Fri., July 15 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. 6 p.m. ESPN
Fri., July 15 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. 10 p.m. ESPN
Sat., July 16 Best of The Open Championship 4 a.m. 7 a.m. ESPN2
Sat., July 16 Third Round 7 a.m. 2:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Sat., July 16 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. 6 p.m. ABC
Sat., July 16 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. 10 p.m. ESPN
Sun., July 17 Final Round 6 a.m. 1:30 p.m. ESPN, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV
Sun., July 17 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. 6 p.m. ABC
Sun., July 17 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. 10 p.m. ESPN2
Mon., July 18 Best of The Open Championship 1 p.m. 4 p.m. ESPN2