Special Live From the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Pre-Game Show to Introduce Viewers to Field of Finalists Beginning at 8 A.M. ET
Golf Channel to Dedicate Five Hours of Coverage Displaying Skills of Regional Representatives from Across U.S. and Canada, Including a Series of Dedicated Features on Several Competitors in the Field
ORLANDO, Fla (March 14, 2016) – Golf Channel announced its production plans for exclusive, live coverage of the 2016 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, airing on Sunday, April 3, beginning at 8 a.m. ET, when 80 junior golfers from across the U.S. and Canada will gather at Augusta National Golf Club to officially kick off Masters week. The 40 boys and 40 girls set to compete emerged from more than 250 local qualifying events, followed by 50 subregional and 10 regional qualifiers.
“One of the proudest moments all year for us as a network occurs each April when we have the privilege of showcasing these talented and charismatic competitors fulfilling their dreams in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on the grounds of Augusta National,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer, Golf Channel. “In partnership with the Masters Tournament, the USGA and the PGA of America, the event serves as a wonderful platform to promote the game in a fun and compelling way to young golfers on golf’s most storied stage.”
Live From the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Pre-Game at 8 a.m. ET
Golf Channel – in its third year of televising live coverage of the National Finals – will highlight the skills and personalities of the competitors in the field, beginning with a special Live From the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals pre-game show from 8-9 a.m. ET, originating from the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters set on the grounds of Augusta National. The pre-game show will introduce viewers to the stories behind each of the 80 national finalists, which will be supplemented with a series of dedicated features offering a closer look at several competitors across the eight respective age groups (Boys/Girls 7-9; 10-11; 12-13 and 14-15). Guests scheduled to join the pre-game telecast include industry leaders Billy Payne (chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament); Diana Murphy (president, United States Golf Association); and Derek Sprague (president, PGA of America). Steve Sands will host, while Charlie Rymer and Kay Cockerill will help set the stage for the premier youth golf event.
Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals Coverage, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ET
Beginning at 9 a.m. ET, coverage will shift to join the competition in progress with the individual Drive, Chip and Putt skills challenges across each age group. The Drive skill will be contested on Augusta National’s Tournament Practice Area, with each player hitting two drives, and the longer of the two (provided it is in bounds) will be counted for score. The Chip, (also conducted on the Tournament Practice Area) will include two chips and be calculated based on cumulative proximity to the hole. And the Putt skill, which will be staged on Augusta National’s 18th green, will be measured based on finalists’ cumulative proximity to the hole from two different putting distances. As competitors complete all three challenges, champions for each of the eight age groups will be awarded for each of the skill categories, along with the recognition of the overall champions from each age group.
Rich Lerner will handle play by play duties, with Peter Jacobsen joining him in the booth as lead analyst. Reporting from the Tournament Practice Area and alongside the 18th green will be Rymer, Cockerill and Michael Breed. Sands also will conduct interviews. Past Masters champions and Tournament Invitees are expected to arrive at Augusta National during the telecast, interacting with finalists and conducting interviews to discuss the value of the youth initiative in helping to grow the game. In addition to its on-air telecast, Golf Channel also will dedicate pre- and post-event coverage on its daily news shows, Golf Central and Morning Drive, and on GolfChannel.com.
The Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals will kick off Golf Channel’s weeklong coverage of the Masters, which will feature nearly 60 live hours of the network’s Golf Central Live From the Masters news coverage, focusing on emerging storylines, analysis, features and guest interviews, beginning Monday, April 4.
For more information, visit DriveChipandPutt.com.
-NBC Sports Group-