PGA Tour to offer morning rounds on the weekdays
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The PGA Tour has created a new service that will allow viewers to watch great rounds that are not on TV.
Commissioner Tim Finchem on Tuesday announced “PGA Tour Live,” a subscription service that will provide live coverage Thursday and Friday morning from more than 30 tour events each season. The new program will start this summer and offer coverage of two featured groups that lead up to Golf Channel’s weekday coverage.
It will be the first time that live coverage of morning groups has been made available.
The PGA Tour and MLB Advanced Media have a multiyear partnership to develop, produce and distribute the Other-The-Top service in North America and other key markets.
What would fans get from morning coverage?
A week after winning the Masters, and on the verge of missing the cut at Hilton Head, Jordan Spieth shot a 62 at the RBC Heritage.
“We thought this was the right time for us to enter this space,” Finchem said.
He said it would be available on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Still to be determined is the price.
“They’ll make the decision in the end, but our feeling is lower is better,” said Bob Bowman, president of business and media for MLB. “I think it will be single digits. We haven’t landed on a price. We want to make sure that price is not a barrier, but great content is not free.”
STENSON’S SCOUTING TRIP: Henrik Stenson made a detour on his way to the Match Play Championship to scout Chambers Bay, site of the U.S. Open this summer.
He didn’t play the course. He just walked it.
“I just felt like coming off six hours flying in the morning, to go straight out there and start playing when you don’t know where you’re going wasn’t the best thing,” Stenson said. “A lot of times, I feel you can get more out of walking. I’ll have plenty of time to try it out in June.”
Until he actually plays Chambers Bay, the Swede is reserving judgment.
“It was interesting,” he said. “There is quite the elevation drops on a few of the holes. It looks like links with quite severe green areas and some big drop-offs. It could be fairly low scoring if the weather is good, and it could be brutal if the wind blows. It will be more easy to give a final say once I’ve played it.”
His best scouting trip for a U.S. Open was at Torrey Pines in December 2007 on his way to play the Target World Challenge.
Stenson booked a tee time online. He at least was recognized in the golf shop and given a resident’s rate, but Stenson and his friend were paired with a couple from Orange County that had no idea they were playing with one of the world’s best players. Stenson said the woman’s name was Pamela Anderson. No, it wasn’t the actress.
BACK TO KIAWAH: The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, reported Tuesday that Kiawah Island will host the 2021 PGA Championship.
The newspaper said the official announcement would be Friday.
Rory McIlroy won by eight shots when the PGA Championship was played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in 2012.
The golf course opened in 1991 and hosted the Ryder Cup matches.
STILL A ROOKIE: Brooks Koepka won the Phoenix Open and is going all the right places — Doral for a World Golf Championship, Bay Hill, the Masters, the Match Play Championship and other elite events.
But a look at his schedule is a reminder that he’s still a rookie.
Koepka still has played only two PGA Tour events in which he had already seen the golf course — Las Vegas and the Honda Classic, which is in his hometown. He played the Frys.com Open for the second time this year, but it moved from CordeValle to Silverado.
Koepka will be at The Players Championship for the first time next week. And then he will play the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, which will be the third time he goes to an event where he has already played. He missed the cut last year.
FURYK’S TORMENT: Jim Furyk went more than four years without a victory until his playoff win over Kevin Kisner at Hilton Head. Some of the tournaments were his to win, such as the U.S. Open at Olympic Club and the Bridgestone Invitational, both in 2012. Some of them he just got beat, such as the Barclays and Canadian Open last year.
Whatever the case, it was gnawing at him.
“What bothered me the most? Probably walking off the 72nd hole nine times where I had the lead, and I walked off the green with that feeling of, ‘Here we go again,’” he said. “That first five minutes, where it’s just a blank stare and you’re trying to gather your thoughts and figure out what happened, and now you’ve got to face a camera and try to make it sound somewhat intelligent. It’s just not easy.”
RETURN TO HARDING: Only 12 out of the 64 players at the Match Play Championship have played Harding Park before.
Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Adam Scott were in the Presidents Cup in 2009. Sergio Garcia, Thongchai Jaidee, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood were in the American Express Championship in 2005 (as were Johnson, Furyk and Scott).
One particularly memory from 2005 was Ricci Roberts, the longtime caddie for Ernie Els. He wasn’t working that week for the Big Easy. Instead, he was helping out a young South African that not many knew — Schwartzel.
Schwartzel tied for 18th that week. Six years later, he was a Masters champion.
DIVOTS: Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has Jordan Spieth as the top favorite at Match Play. He is listed at 8-1, followed by Rory McIlroy (10-1), Jason Day (12-1) and Henrik Stenson (15-1). ... There were 64 bogey-free rounds at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, the most at a PGA Tour event since there were 81 bogey-free rounds at the Bob Hope Classic in 2010. ... Justin Rose became the first player this year to win a PGA Tour event without making a putt longer than 15 feet. The longest putt he holed was from 14 feet. The last player to do that was Sang-moon Bae at the Frys.com Open last October. ... The average seed of the 16 winners at the Match Play Championship is 19.6, which bodes well for either Brooks Koepka (19) or Kevin Na (20).
STAT OF THE WEEK: Rory McIlroy (No. 1) and Jordan Spieth (No. 2) mark the first time the top two seeds at the Match Play Championship have been 25 or younger. McIlroy turns 26 on Monday.
FINAL WORD: “Someone who is gutsy, hard, stubborn, ruthless. That’s most of the players in this field.” — Ian Poulter when asked what makes someone good in match play.