This week is the 2013 Open Championship (watch out for Jason Day), and here are ESPN’s coverage plans and announcers:
ESPN at The Open Championship
ESPN will air live, four-round television coverage of the 142nd renewal of golf’s oldest major, The Open Championship, July 18-21 as it is played for the 16th time at Scotland’s Muirfield Golf Links. In addition to more than 65 total hours on television, which includes live play and encore presentations, ESPN also will have live radio broadcasts and extensive digital offerings on computers, tablets and mobile devices.
ESPN and WatchESPN will have 11 scheduled hours of live play from each of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday, July 18-19, from 4 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. The third round on Saturday, July 20, will air live from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. with the final round on Sunday, July 21, airing live from 6 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
MuirfieldThe Best of The Open Championship, an edited encore presentation, will air in prime time Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7-10 p.m. on ESPN and Sunday night from 9 p.m. – midnight on ESPN2 for golf fans unable to watch the live play earlier in the day. 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 site of the championship with a one-hour special SportsCenter at The Open Championship program on Wednesday, July 17, at 2 p.m. as well as with extensive reports throughout each day beginning Monday, July 15.
ESPN’s expert analysts and reporters for the event represent nine major golf championships and include Andy North and World Golf Hall of Famer Curtis Strange, both two-time U.S. Open champions; 1993 PGA Championship winner Paul Azinger, World Golf Hall of Famer Judy Rankin, two-time women’s major champion Dottie Pepper, 1973 Open Championship winner Tom Weiskopf and 2001 Open Championship winner David Duval.
Mike Tirico will host ESPN’s live telecasts from The Open Championship for the 17th consecutive year, with Scott Van Pelt also in the host role during the four days of the event. The BBC’s legendary golf announcer Peter Alliss will join ESPN for several afternoon hours on both Thursday and Friday.
In addition to his host role, Van Pelt will work as a hole announcer as will Strange, Pepper and Sean McDonough. Azinger, Duval and Alliss will join the hosts for analysis at various times. On-course reporters will be North, Rankin, Pepper and Bill Kratzert while Tom Rinaldi will conduct player interviews.
ESPN will continue the use of “Virtual Aerial,” a technical feature that debuted in coverage of last year’s Open Championship. With wind being such a factor in links golf, Virtual Aerial demonstrates for viewers the different conditions for golfers around the course with a live aerial view of wind direction in one part of the course as opposed to another.
ESPN also will use Flight Tracker on six holes. The real-time feature tracks drives from behind and in front of the shot with a virtual line on the screen, allowing viewers to see the flight path of the ball from the time it leaves the tee.
MuirfieldGolden Globe winning actor Ian McShane, one of the stars of the current movie Jack the Giant Slayer, again lends his voice to ESPN’s Open Championship scene-setting interstitial videos penned by ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine senior writer Wright Thompson.
SportsCenter at The Open Championship
A special one-hour SportsCenter at The Open Championship will have an extensive preview of the event on Wednesday, July 17, at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. The program will originate from Muirfield Golf Links. Scott Van Pelt will host with analyst Andy North and reporter Tom Rinaldi. ESPN.com national columnist Gene Wojciechowski also will contribute to the special.
Regular editions of SportsCenter will have reports from The Open Championship beginning Monday of tournament week. Mike Tirico will share the host role with Van Pelt on the reports with analysis by North, Paul Azinger, Tom Weiskopf and David Duval. Rinaldi will conduct interviews and with reports and reactions from Wojciechowski.
ESPN Radio’s Four-Round Open Championship Coverage
ESPN Radio’s coverage of The Open Championship tees off Thursday, July 18, with a six-hour live broadcast at 7 a.m. ET from Muirfield Golf Links in Scotland. Daily coverage will continue Friday (7 a.m. – 1 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Sunday (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.). The broadcasts also will be available on ESPNRadio.com and TheOpen.com.
Commentators contributing to ESPN Radio’s live coverage will include Doug Bell, Dennis Paulson, Bill Rosinski, and Bob Wischusen.
The Open Championship on ESPN Digital Platforms
All Open Championship programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Apple TV via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliate provider including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter Communications and AT&T U-verse.
News, reactions and columns from senior golf writer Bob Harig, senior golf analyst Michael Collins, ESPN.com columnists Gene Wojciechowski and Rick Reilly and ESPNNewYork.com writer Ian O’Connor.
“Digital Drive,” an exclusive ESPN.com program, will be produced each night Wednesday-Sunday of Open week, hosted by Scott Van Pelt and Andy North.
“Quiet Please,” the exclusive weekly ESPN.com video show, on Tuesday from Muirfield
Live chat, featuring “Scribble Live” application, moderated by senior golf analyst Michael Collins
Collins will hand out nightly grades for the top 5 players in the world plus other notable names.
“Championship Central” on the ESPN.com/Golf index page focusing on the majors and the Presidents Cup.
ESPN GolfCast with an easy to use interface with scoring, video and social media elements.
Written features include a look at Muirfield, one of the finest links courses in the world and, along with St. Andrews, one of the best in the Open rotation.
For fans who have never been to an Open Championship, what they will need to do if they ever get the chance.
The Open venues are quite accessible, writes Harig, who offers a tour during his own golfing adventure across these classic sites.
Interactive elements including Best Ball Challenge and Open Championship conversation pages.
“Red Light/Green Light” each tournament day, examining pin placements on selected holes.
Video clips from ESPN golf analysts Andy North, Curtis Strange and Paul Azinger.
ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network – available to more than 85 million households nationwide via WatchESPN to fans who receive their Internet or video subscription from an affiliated provider – will offer golf fans five options for a second-screen experience during The Open Championship.
One ESPN3 Open Championship feed will feature live play on the 1st & 18th Holes, plus player interviews from the practice range, highlights and features. Trey Wingo and Jim Kelly will share the host role, with 1973 Open Championship winner Tom Weiskopf in the analyst chair. Former LPGA player Jane Crafter also will serve as an analyst with Kim Thomas interviewing players on the practice range and Mark Donaldson reporting from the course.
ESPN3’s Open Championship options also will include a Spanish-language feed with ESPN Deportes golf announcers Francisco Aleman and former LPGA pro Silvia Bertolaccini; the International View from the BBC/World coverage; and alternating views of holes 7, 8 and 9. The programming for the four feeds begins at 4 a.m. ET on the first two days of the event, 7 a.m. on Saturday and 6 a.m. on Sunday.
The fifth feed will be @TheOpen Live, an “outside the ropes” presentation covering the general atmosphere of the event that also includes fan interviews and news conferences. @TheOpen Live begins Wednesday, July 17, at 5 a.m. and then at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, 4 a.m. on Saturday and 5 a.m. on Sunday.
News, highlights and an Open Championship leaderboard will appear on the ESPN mobile Web and ScoreCenter app. There will also be Open Championship Insider content, news and columns and scoring alerts for top players.
MuirfieldAdditional coverage of The Open Championship on ESPN platforms:
Coverage of The Open Championship on ESPN platforms will reach 53 countries and more than 42 million international households, with coverage in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Latin America territories will offer HD coverage and digital streaming via ESPN Play and WatchESPN (Brazil), while also providing exclusive feeds. Additionally, ESPN Extra in Latin America will offer The Open Championship Mix interactive TV experience for all four rounds available on DirecTV.
SportsCenter on ESPNEWS will offer all the latest Open Championship news beginning Monday, July 15, with interviews, pre- and post-round news conferences and analysis.
ESPN Classic will feature a tribute to The Open Championship in the days leading up to ESPN’s live coverage of the event with 55 hours of special programming. The tribute begins Monday, July 15, at 11 a.m. ET with an airing of highlights of the 1978 Open Championship won by Jack Nicklaus and will run straight through until 4 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, when ESPN’s live coverage begins.
ESPN The Magazine
The “Body Issue” of ESPN the Magazine, on newsstands July 12, contains a preview of The Open Championship. Muirfield has produced the greatest collection of champions in modern history—champions with, since 1953, more average majors throughout their career than any other major venue. ESPN The Magazine got Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Nick Faldo, three of those champions, to describe how to play the final three holes at Muirfield. The 77-year-old Player, who won The Open Championship in three different decades during his illustrious career and whose fitness routine is legendary, also is one of the featured athletes in the Body Issue.
ESPN on Demand
Available to more than 43 million television households, ESPN On Demand will offer exclusive Open Championship content, including official films from the 2002 event at Muirfield (won by Ernie Els), St Andrews in 2000 and Royal Liverpool in 2006 (Tiger Woods) and a look at how Phil Mickelson came so close to winning in 2011. Viewers will also be able to watch a 2012 Open Championship highlight film and a classic Dick Schaap interview with Tom Watson.
The four-screen Open Championship Experience will air on DirecTV (channels 701-705) for all four days of the championship. One of the channels will have live coverage of the 1st & 18th Holes, plus player interviews from the practice range, highlights and features. Trey Wingo and Jim Kelly will share the host role, with analysts Tom Weiskopf and Jane Crafter, interviewer Kim Thomas and reporter Mark Donaldson. The other three channels will carry the live ESPN television coverage, the International View with the BBC/World coverage and alternating coverage of holes 8, 9 and 10.
The Open Championship – Muirfield Golf Links, Gullane, Scotland
(all times U.S. Eastern)
Day/Date Program Start Network
Wed., July 17 SportsCenter at The Open Championship 2 p.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 First Round 4 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 First Round 7 a.m. ESPN Radio
Thu., July 18 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Thu., July 18 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Second Round 4 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Second Round 7 a.m. ESPN Radio
Fri., July 19 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Fri., July 19 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., July 20 Third Round 7 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., July 20 Third Round 9 a.m. ESPN Radio
Sat., July 20 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ABC
Sat., July 20 Best of The Open Championship 7 p.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., July 21 Final Round 6 a.m. ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., July 21 Final Round 8 a.m. ESPN Radio
Sun., July 21 The Open Championship Today 3 p.m. ABC
Sun., July 21 Best of The Open Championship 9 p.m. ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., July 22 Best of The Open Championship Noon ESPN2, WatchESPN