WOODS & MICKELSON LEAD FIELD AS NBC SPORTS BROADCASTS LIVE COVERAGE OF U.S. OPEN
“It almost reminds of the year 2000.” NBC’s Miller on Tiger
“Nowhere else have I ever been where I have seen such a sense of ownership and affection than displayed by the golf fans of this area for Bethpage Black.” – NBC’s Maltbie on NY fans
Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge Sunday at Noon Features Timberlake, Jordan, Roethlisberger
NEW YORK – June 17, 2009 – Defending champion Tiger Woods, looking for his fourth U.S. Open title and second victory at Bethpage, and Phil Mickelson, runner-up at Bethpage in 2002, headline the field as NBC Sports present live high definition coverage of the 2009 U.S. Open Championship, Thursday and Friday, 3-5 p.m. ET, Saturday 2-8 p.m. ET and Sunday 1:30-7:30 p.m. ET from the public links at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. This is NBC’s 15th consecutive year broadcasting the Open. NBC Sports’ Father’s Day Sunday coverage is preceded by the second annual Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge from Noon-1:30 p.m. ET, in which Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Ben Roethlisberger and contest-winner Larry Giegelhausen competed at Bethpage under U.S. Open conditions in a quest to break 100.
16 HOURS OF LIVE COVERAGE: NBC Sports will provide more than 16 hours of high definition U.S. Open coverage – the most extensive coverage provided for any golf event and the only one with network coverage of first- and second-round play:
- Thursday 3-5 p.m. ET
- Friday 3-5 p.m. ET
- Saturday 2-8 p.m. ET
- Sunday 1:30-7:30 p.m. ET
NBC SPORTS GOLF TEAM: Host Dan Hicks and analyst Johnny Miller, in their 10th season together as NBC Sports’ lead golf commentators, anchor NBC’s Emmy Award-winning coverage from the 18th-hole tower. Hicks and Miller are joined by tower reporters Gary Koch, Peter Jacobsen and Bob Murphy; on-course reporters Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper; interviewer/essayist Jimmy Roberts; with reports from Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte. NBC Sports’ Bob Costas will contribute opening commentary and interview segments, in addition to periodically resetting the scene from Bethpage. NBC’s coverage is produced by Tommy Roy, one of the most nominated persons in the history of the Sports Emmys.
U.S. OPEN ROADBLOCK: A total of 13 NBC Universal platforms, 12 networks (NBC, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Oxygen, The Weather Channel, SciFi, Sleuth, Chiller, Mun2 and Universal HD) as well as NBCSports.com and USOpen.com will join the “TODAY” show in progress on Thursday and simulcast the 2009 U.S. Open opening round tee shot for the traditional “champions pairing,” which this year consists of Tiger Woods (2008 U.S. Open champion), Padraig Harrington (2008 British Open champion) and Angel Cabrera (2009 Masters champion). Live coverage of the “NBC U.S. Open Roadblock presented by Lexus” begins at 8 a.m. ET (8 a.m. CT/MT/PT for TODAY) and will be hosted by TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira with on site coverage from NBC golf host Dan Hicks and lead analyst Johnny Miller from Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. A feature on Tiger Woods will precede the tee shots.
NBC Sports today conducted a conference call with Miller, Hicks, Maltbie, Koch and Roy.
HICKS ON THE STORYLINES: “I can’t remember going into an Open where we had the top two players, in popularity at least in Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, having great storylines around them. Everyone knows what Tiger did a couple of weeks ago at Memorial, kind of giving everybody a glimpse of him being ‘Tiger’ again, playing incredible. The fact that what he did last year at Torrey Pines and the fact that he is defending here at Bethpage Black sets up a great storyline for him and then everybody knows what is surrounding Phil Mickelson. I just anticipate really one of the most special days in golf.”
MILLER ON IMPORTANCE OF GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START: “Sunday is probably the most interesting day but Thursday is definitely the second most interesting day. Thursday is probably the most nervous round. You really study what happens in the first round and it’s one of the key rounds. Guys just don’t shoot 74 or higher and win. Who can handle the U.S. Open jitters Thursday, which are amazing, is who can get off to a good start.”
MILLER ON MICKELSON: “If he can get off to a good start tomorrow, that’s got to be the key round, once he gets in contention I think he will stay in contention.”
MILLER ON TIGER: “It almost reminds me of the year 2000. I’ve just got a feeling that all the work that he’s done, all of a sudden to go from where he was at The Players to hitting all fourteen fairways the last round of Memorial. I think he’s in that nice little spot; you’ve got to watch out. I think he’s in that good spot in his life, he’s got a good marriage, good kids.”
MILLER ON BETHPAGE: “This course is set up where the best player is going to win like last time the three best players in the world were right at the end: Mickelson, Tiger, and Sergio. It’s not tricked out. You are finding a setup that rewards the best players and not blowing them out of the championship because they’re are not having a hot week off the tee.”
MALTBIE ON BETHPAGE: “This is a big ballpark.”
ROY ON CHALLENGES OF BETHPAGE: “The one unique challenge logistically as Roger was talking about is how big a ballpark this is. From where our trucks are parked, which are to the right of the tenth fairway to get up to the clubhouse and all the way to the other side it’s at least a couple of miles. So we have 175,000 feet of cable out there. If you add up all the strands of fiber-optic cable that we have it equates to 397 miles of cable”
MALTBIE ON THE NEW YORK FANS: “Nowhere else have I ever been where I have seen such a sense of ownership and affection than displayed by the golf fans of this area for Bethpage Black. It is remarkable. I get questioned all the time on the golf course. What is he going to shoot on our course? You get the sense nobody wants them too shoot good. They want to see them take it on the chin a little bit. They certainly revere this golf course.”
KOCH ON THE CROWDS: “I think certainly along with who’s going to win the championship, probably the thing I look forward to the most is how the crowds are going to react to these players. I remember so vividly back in 2002, these New York fans don’t know the definition of a polite golf clap. If they get behind a player they can provide some monumental momentum and energy and if a player happens to get on the wrong side of a crowd, as Sergio Garcia certainly experienced in 2002, they can be a potential detriment. It’s been interesting listening to players early in the week talk about the importance embracing the crowd and getting them behind them. In fact, I’ve witnessed Sergio this week with a very, very different outlook than he had in 2002. He’s signing autographs, he’s smiling, he’s posing for pictures. I think he learned a valuable lesson: the importance of getting the crowd behind you.”
MILLER ON THE RAIN AFFECTING PLAY: “I do think it will change the storyline- guys have to deal with the weather. I know that when Tiger Woods was going to school in Stanford, he used to on purpose, go out and practice in the rain because he knew if he was going to be a champion, he’d have to play in situations like what we are about to experience tomorrow. So that’s one thing to keep in mind.
“I think people like to see pros struggle, I hate to say it. They want them to do real well and they want them to struggle. They don’t like the boring pars.”
HICKS ON THE POTENTIAL FOR RAIN: “I think it adds to the intrigue. People will want to see how the pros do in the bad weather, kind of like an NFL game when it’s snowing.”
MILLER ON THIS YEAR’S ROCCO MEDIATE: “Jeev Milkha Singh. Nick Watney might be a good pick. I don’t know, I don’t need reasons, you guys make reasons. I just pick them.”
MALTBIE ON A DARK HORSE: “I don’t know if he is so much of a dark horse but a guy that has been down on his luck a little while here, I think this is a really good golf course for a Retief Goosen. I just have a feeling that this could be a good week for him.”
KOCH ON A DARK HORSE: “I like Luke Donald to come through. You know it was last year at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines where he was playing reasonably well and he was forced to withdraw with the wrist injury which later led to surgery. He has come back this year and performed quite nicely. Luke hits the ball very straight and he has had some decent finishes in U.S. Opens before.”
HICKS ON THIS YEAR’S ROCCO MEDIATE: “I’m going with Matt Kuchar.”
KOCH ON THE WEATHER CONDITIONS: “From a players standpoint one of the things that you have to keep in mind that could make the golf course more difficult is if the fairways do become even softer and you start picking up mud on the ball, adhering to the ball after a tee shot, it will make some of these approach shots into these uphill greens even more difficult. Certainly a situation I don’t think any of the players are looking forward to if they do get the bad weather. But these guys are the best and they’ll deal with it.”
HICKS ON THE U.S. OPEN CHALLENGE AT BETHPAGE: “I think it is more entertaining and the golf is certainly a lot better than it was a year ago at Torrey Pines. Ben Roethlisberger was pretty incredible — he birdied two of the hardest holes on the course. It’s got a lot of people talking about how Bethpage Black might be vulnerable. It remains to be seen, what the best players in the world are going to turn in, but it certainly got some people thinking, is the Black really as tough as we all think it is? I think it is, and I cannot wait to get it going for the real thing on Thursday.”
NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will simulcast NBC Sports’ Thursday and Friday broadcasts (3-5 p.m. ET), live stream on the weekend the 17th hole and offer live post-game coverage all four days, the U.S. Open Wrap-up Show presented by Lexus, hosted by Bill Patrick, Brian Crowell and Jennifer Mills. The site also will offer highlights, interviews and analysis, as well as live blogging.
NBC SPORTS MOBILE: Fans can get U.S. Open news and scores wherever they are with NBC Sports Mobile. The NBC Sports Mobile site will offer the latest news from NBCSports.com, along with complete leaderboards throughout the weekend by visiting http://m.nbcsports.com on their mobile device. Users on the go can also get news and scoring alerts sent right to their phone. To sign up for alerts, users can text “GOLF” to 51515.
iPhone: NBC Sports, in conjunction with the USGA, is offering live weekend coverage on the official U.S. Open iPhone application. Fans can watch live streaming video of the Par-3 17th Hole on both Saturday and Sunday.
MOBILE TV: NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the U.S. Open will be available on both NBC 2Go and NBC Sports Mobile.
CNBC REPORTS LIVE FROM THE U.S. OPEN: CNBC will broadcast a special edition of its show “CNBC Reports,” live from Bethpage on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. The show, hosted by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, will feature interviews with power brokers in the business of golf, including PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and Tiger Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg.