“This is the top of the top.” – NBC Sports’ Johnny Miller
“It is singularly the most important golf course in America.” – NBC Sports’ Roger Maltbie on Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach, Calif. – June 16, 2010 – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, defending champion Lucas Glover and the best players in the world will compete for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship from Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California this Thursday-Sunday on NBC.
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 tournament with network coverage of first- and second-round play. The third and fourth rounds will be broadcast in primetime. On Saturday, NBC Sports’ third-round coverage will air from 4:30-11 p.m. ET, while final-round coverage will air on Father’s Day Sunday from 3-9 p.m. ET.
Thursday, June 17 3-5 p.m. ET
Friday, June 18 3-5 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 19 4:30-11 p.m. ET
Sunday, June 20 3-9 p.m. ET
Bob Costas will serve as event host for the third and final rounds. Host Dan Hicks and analyst Johnny Miller, together for their 11th season, anchor coverage from the 18th-hole tower. Hicks and Miller are joined by tower reporters Gary Koch, Brad Faxon, and Peter Jacobsen; on-course reporters Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper; interviewer/essayist Jimmy Roberts and Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte.
“CUE BALL” CAMERAS: Similar to the ‘periscope’ cameras used at THE PLAYERS Championship, NBC Sports will employ two ‘cue ball’ cameras at Pebble Beach at the seventh and 18th holes. The 18th hole camera will provide a unique view of the players approaching the green from the ocean side and will have a point-blank view of a ball that lands in the bunker. In addition, there will be a new crane camera on the 18th hole (see Tommy Roy’s comments below).
NBC SPORTS BY THE NUMBERS:
10 Production Trucks
274 On-site staff
2,430,000 Feet of fiber cable
“IT’S NOT A FAIR FIGHT”: Roger Maltbie recounts Tiger Woods’ famous shot at the Par 5 sixth hole during the 2000 U.S. Open Championship from Pebble Beach:
“Tiger drove the ball in the right rough. I was on the Tower at 18. My thought was that most of the guys in the field would have to hack a wedge out underneath a gigantic hillside cliff. It was a very elevated, blind shot up over this hill. He put himself in a really horrible position. The next thing you know, he pulls out what I think was a seven iron and he hacks this ball up and over the cliff, and runs it onto the front of the green. All kind of grass flew everywhere.
“I was so flabbergasted that the only thought that came to my mind was ‘It’s just not a fair fight.’ No one else can do this. Sometimes the fun and the marvel of watching Tiger play is that he’ll hit shots that very few people in the world can even contemplate hitting. And when he does it, you’re just floored.”
CONFERENCE CALL: Hicks, Miller, Maltbie and NBC Sports’ golf producer Tommy Roy all took part in a conference call today to preview NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2010 U.S. Open from Pebble Beach. A replay can be found at 719-457-0820; passcode: 8729415. Following are highlights.
HICKS ON US OPEN: “It’s the greatest championship we do. When you combine that at Pebble Beach, it makes it incredibly special.”
MILLER ON A US OPEN AT PEBBLE BEACH: “This is the top of the top for me. It goes back to when I was eight years old, coming to Pebble Beach and watching the Bing Crosby…For me, it’s just the best. The Tiger Woods performance in 2000, I thought, was the best I had ever seen. It was the best in history.”
MALTBIE ON PEBBLE BEACH: “It is singularly the most important golf course in America. If you ask an international person what golf course they recognize in America, their first words will be Pebble Beach. It is a grand golf course and a huge part of the story…It is brilliant in how its laid out. It has the smallest greens in all of championship golf, and most of these players have only seen this golf course in the throws of winter when its soft and entirely different. This is a different animal this week. I’ve never seen the golf course better…Play lines from the tee have been shifted to bring the coast more into play. Of course, that’s the golf course’s singular most important feature.”
ROY: “It’s the world’s greatest golfers playing on America’s best venue. There’s no need for gimmicks or television gadgetry here. It’s all about the pictures and the storytelling… I’ve been looking forward to tomorrow, the opening round, since we went off the air from here 10 years ago. Away we go.”
HICKS ON 2000 US OPEN: “It’s hard to believe that it’s been all these years since I did my first US Open with Johnny in 2000, and we all know what happened there. Little did I know that as we reflect back some 10 years ago that we would be where we are with Tiger right now, but at the time it was the greatest performance we’ve ever seen. I think, taking with Johnny and others about it through the years and even at the time, I didn’t think we’d see anything that would come close. Honestly, in my lifetime, I don’t know if we’ll every see anything like what we saw that week at Pebble Beach.”
MILLER ON TIGER’S SWING COMPARED TO 2000: “His middle and short iron swing has been pretty good. He has nice tempo. He pauses at the top like in 2000…His driver swing is like another person swinging. It doesn’t really resemble the iron swing.”
HICKS ON STORYLINES: “The storylines coming in here on this incredible golf course — a golf course that I think is going to be different than any other Pebble Beach championship of tournament that’s been staged here. With everything that’s been done with the golf course, it’s going to be absolutely off the charts and in incredible shape. It’s a beautiful day here today. The weather’s going to dictate a lot of things…The fact that we go into primetime on Saturday and Sunday…If we get the kind of story lines that we think we can get, it will be a tremendous success not only for NBC Sports but for everybody watching at home. To have this incredible golf course on display in that time frame is special.”
MILLER ON STORYLINES: “A lot of guys just cannot handle the US Open pressure. Everything plays out after the first round. I’m excited to see what does happen, to see if Tiger woods can actually come out of the box and put all his stuff behind him and actually turn back the clock to 2000 and do his thing, and whether Ernie Ells can get back on track, and Phil, the birthday boy today. There are a million stories.”
MALTBIE ON THE WEATHER: “You never know about the fog here on the coast. It will be the players’ friend, if we do get that. If we have sunny conditions with a bit of breeze, this golf course will provide a great championship. I’d be very surprised if any body broke par. I would be very shocked at that.”
MILLER ON HIS FAMILIARITY WITH THE COURSE: I could be in Italy right now and cover the US Open and you wouldn’t know it. I know every blade of grass out here. I know every break on the green. I’ve gone out and seen every pin placement, hole location. For me it’s like going home.”
MALTBIE ON THE WEATHER II: “You want it to be foggy. Fog is your friend. There is a little moisture in the grass. It slows the course just ever so slightly and usually the wind doesn’t blow when it’s foggy. If that fog goes away, it’s because the wind pushed it away…The wind will suck whatever moisture remaining in these greens out and they become extremely hard at that point in time…It changes it’s complexion completely.”
MILLER ON PRESSURE: “The pressure at the Open and the British Open and the Masters is just amazing. It’s such a great feeling when you really look at it…All Nicklaus wanted to do is give himself a chance on the back nine…Not everyone can handle it — the pressure of winning an Open…Usually you still have to hit some pressure shots and usually have to go through the gauntlet like no other. The US Open is the heaviest pressure in the world. To win the trophy that says ‘United States Open.’ I don’t think we as Americans quite appreciate what the rest of the world feels when they hold up that trophy…It’s just huge. A European hasn’t won since 1970. I think it’s just the pressure of the US Open, not so much the courses or the set up. We’re an amazing country and everyone would like to have their name on that trophy.”
MILLER ON TOM WATSON: “He’ll just play it with a lot of wisdom and cunning, and also past knowledge…Forget the age. You think, ‘well, he’s not a favorite’ but he could contend. I don’t know if he can do it for four rounds, but he’s a great part of the story if he can have a good first round.”
ROY ON 18th HOLE CRANE CAMERA: “The camera is actually on a big crane parked in a family’s backyard here. They were kind enough to let us park the crane in their backyard. They actually tore out their shrubbery in the back so we could get it in there. The tee shots at 18 will be struck right at this camera, and then the second shots will be what we call a “speed shot.” So the ball will actually come flying by our camera and then land in the vicinity of the green. It’s an angle that no one’s ever seen before here at Pebble. No one’s ever been able to put a camera in a position like that. I can tell you, it’s going to be a dramatic shot. Should be fun.”