Golf on Fox
Created byFox Sports
StarringJoe Buck
Paul Azinger
Opening theme"USGA" by Brian Tyler
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes3
Production
Running time6 hours or until tournament ends
Production companyFox Sports
Release
Original networkFox
Fox Sports 1
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release2011, 2014 –
2019 (2019)
External links
Website

Golf coverage on Fox Sports properties have occurred occasionally since 1999. From 1999 through 2001, its regional sports network group Fox Sports Networks (FSN) sub-licensed early-round coverage of PGA Tour events from Golf Channel (a network in which Fox was an early investor).

From 2015 to June 2020, Fox served as the broadcaster of the national open tournaments and amateur championships of the United States Golf Association (USGA), including the U.S. Open — one of the four Men's major golf championships, under a 12-year deal. Coverage aired on the Fox broadcast network, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, and Fox Deportes. In late-June 2020, however, Fox announced that it would opt out of the contract, and sell the remainder to former USGA broadcast television rightsholder NBC Sports.

Background

Early Fox Sports golf involvement

Fox Sports partnered with Greg Norman in the early 1990s to create the World Golf Tour, which would have consisted of six events televised on Fox. However, the proposed events were met with legal issues (including a threat by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to suspend any golfer who participates).[1]

Fox Sports bid for a portion of the PGA Tour's television rights starting in 1999. Although it did not gain the broadcast package (which was divided among the Big Three networks), Fox's regional sports networks group Fox Sports Networks reached an agreement with cable rightsholder Golf Channel to simulcast its early-round coverage, as the network was not widely carried at the time. These simulcasts ended after 2001 under a deal which split the PGA Tour's cable rights between ESPN and USA Network.[2][3][4]

In 2011, Fox Sports gained the rights to the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, which is an unofficial money event on the PGA Tour, and had been previously televised by Golf Channel. The coverage aired on Fox Sports Net, with Kraig Kann hosting. Fox did not renew its rights for 2012.

USGA coverage

On August 6, 2013, Fox Sports announced a 12-year, $1.1 billion deal to broadcast the open tournaments and amateur championships of the USGA, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, and U.S. Women's Open, beginning in 2015. Fox would replace NBC and ESPN as the rightsholders of the events..[5][6] NBC's lead analyst Johnny Miller expressed disappointment at the loss, saying that he "had a feeling" NBC would not retain rights, and that Fox would not be able to "fall out of a tree and do the U.S. Open."[7]

As a prelude to the new package, Fox televised the 2014 Franklin Templeton Shootout, debuting its lead commentary team of Joe Buck and Greg Norman.[8] Fox's first U.S. Open had a total of 38.5 hours of coverage,[9][10][11] with 22 on Thursday and Friday, and 16.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday;[12] the Fox Sports 1 cable network had a total of 16 hours of coverage on Thursday and Friday. The Fox broadcast network had a total of 22.5 hours of coverage Thursday through Sunday, with six hours Thursday and Friday, and 16.5 hours Saturday and Sunday. Fox utilized a number of new technologies[13] during its production, including drone flyovers, a camera-equipped RC car for ground perspectives, and new graphics—including a live shot tracer, an augmented reality display of green contours, and a persistent top-5 leaderboard displayed in the bottom-right of the screen.[14][15]

Fox's coverage received mixed reviews by critics and viewers, noting technical issues with on-air graphics during early coverage of the first round, on-air personnel (including the chemistry between Buck and Norman, and use of NFL reporters such as Curt Menefee), and missed shots due to poor camera angles or other on-air segments, although Buck did receive positive reviews by some, as well as Fox's technical innovations.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

In the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. Open, Norman was dismissed by Fox,[22] and replaced by Paul Azinger.[23]

End of coverage

On June 29, 2020, it was announced that Fox Sports had opted out of the remaining seven years of its contract to cover USGA events, and had sold the remainder of the contract to NBC Sports. The re-scheduling of the 2020 U.S. Open to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic had caused conflicts with Fox's football coverage, and the USGA ruled out moving the tournament exclusively to cable instead. While the network discussed the possibility of partnering with NBC on the 2020 tournament, this eventually "led to a broader conversation and eventual agreement for NBCUniversal to take over the USGA media rights".[24][25]

Theme music

Fox did not carry over "In Celebration of Man", the Yanni-composed music that had been used by NBC for its U.S. Open coverage, choosing to commission film composer Brian Tyler to compose new music (after acquiring rights to The Open Championship beginning in 2016, NBC instated an updated version of "In Celebration of Man" as its theme music for the tournament).[26][27] Tyler explained that his composition was intended to "capture the epic struggle, the challenge, the history, the heartbreak, and the elation of competitive golf," and acknowledged that "Sports and music have always had an important connection for me. I love the way iconic sports themes evoke the spirit of sporting events and can provide dramatic impact and nostalgic memory."[28]

Commentators

See also: List of sports announcers § Golf, and List of U.S. Open (golf) broadcasters

On April 23, 2014, Fox Sports announced that Greg Norman would join Joe Buck[29][30] as its lead golf commentary team.[31] Buck and Norman worked together for the first time at the 2014 U.S. Open, where Fox produced studio programming that aired against ESPN and NBC's studio shows.

2015 U.S. Open

[32]

On November 18, 2014, in advance of its coverage of the Franklin Templeton Shootout, Fox announced the full layout of its golf team.[33]

2016 U.S. Open

[34]

In January 2016, Greg Norman was let go by Fox in response to poor reception towards his performance during the U.S. Open, and was replaced by former ESPN analyst Paul Azinger.[35] The network's 2016 U.S. Open team:[36]

2017 U.S. Open

[37]

In 2017, Fox made several changes to the commentator team:

2018 U.S. Open

[38]

For the 2018 U.S. Open, Fox announced that they would be splitting their lead commentary booths into two teams.[39] This was done in an effort to avoid the occasional logjam caused by a three-man booth, which had been Joe Buck with analysts Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon. Therefore, Azinger would now be paired with Buck, and Faxon would be paired alongside Shane Bacon.

References

  1. ^ "Fox Will Keep Eye on Golf Battle : Television: Network won't take part in legal conflicts between PGA Tour and World Tour". Los Angeles Times. 1994-12-01. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  2. ^ "Fox Gets Left Out as PGA Signs Four-Year TV Deal". Los Angeles Times. 1997-05-12. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  3. ^ Ferguson, Doug (2000-08-12). "The Golf Channel becomes Tiger TV". The Register Citizen. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  4. ^ Barron, David (2001-07-16). "PGA Tour signs lucrative TV rights deals". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  5. ^ Baysinger, Tim (August 7, 2013). "Fox Sports Reaches Rights Deal for Golf's U.S. Open". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  6. ^ Lucia, Joe (August 7, 2013). "Fox awarded rights for golf's US Open". Awful Announcing.
  7. ^ "Timing of USGA-Fox announcement rankles many". GolfChannel.com. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Fang, Ken (15 December 2014). "Fox Sports' golf debut was better than expected". Awful Announcing.
  9. ^ Fang, Ken (June 22, 2015). "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Fox's U.S. Open coverage". Awful Announcing.
  10. ^ Levy, Dan (June 22, 2015). "There Are 9 Easy Ways Fox Can Fix U.S. Open Golf Coverage for 2016". Awful Announcing.
  11. ^ Chase, Chris (June 22, 2015). "The 19 worst things about Fox's U.S. Open coverage". For The Win.
  12. ^ Hagger, Jeff (June 22, 1985). "Shot chart from Fox Sunday US Open telecast - 2015". Classic TV Sports.
  13. ^ Fang, Ken (June 6, 2017). "Fox Sports plans to tech out at the U.S. Open". Awful Announcing.
  14. ^ "The ups and huge graphic down to FOX's US Open coverage". New York Post. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  15. ^ "The U.S. Open on television: Ready for drones, rail cams and robotics?". Golf Digest. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Baker, Geoff (June 18, 2015). "Fox Sports' coverage of first golf major draws some criticism". Seattle Times.
  17. ^ Yoder, Matt (June 19, 2015). "First impressions from Fox's US Open golf coverage". Awful Announcing.
  18. ^ Erskine, Chris (June 20, 2015). "U.S. Open coverage on Fox is wild, but not too wild". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ Imbert, Fred (June 19, 2015). "Fox Sports brings edge to US Open, upsetting traditional fans". CNBC.
  20. ^ Chase, Chris (June 19, 2015). "Fox's U.S. Open coverage is completely lost in the weeds". For The Win.
  21. ^ Payne, Marissa (June 18, 2015). "U.S. Open coverage on Fox Sports is not getting rave reviews". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ "Greg Norman on Fox Firing: I Was Prepared; I Did My Homework". Golf. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  23. ^ "Paul Azinger Replaces Greg Norman at Fox Sports". Golf. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  24. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (June 29, 2020). "Fox Sells Rights For United States Golf Association, Including U.S. Open, To NBC Sports". Deadline. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  25. ^ Beall, Joel (June 29, 2020). "USGA announces U.S. Open will move to NBC, ending relationship with FOX". Golf Digest. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  26. ^ "Names In The News". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 29 June 2016.(subscription required)
  27. ^ Fang, Ken (June 14, 2015). "What to expect on Fox's U.S. Open coverage". Awful Announcing.
  28. ^ "Brian Tyler Composes Theme Music for U.S. Open Championship on FOX". Broadway World. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  29. ^ Fang, Ken (June 14, 2017). "Can Fox ever get some love from golf fans?". Awful Announcing.
  30. ^ Bucholtz, Andrew (June 18, 2017). "Joe Buck misidentified Brooks Koepka's girlfriend Jena Sims as his ex, Becky Edwards". Awful Announcing.
  31. ^ Emery, Debbie (April 23, 2014). "Joe Buck, Greg Norman to Co-Anchor Fox Sports 2015 Golf Coverage: 'We're Coming Right Out of the Gate'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  32. ^ http://www.foxsports.com/presspass/latest-news/2015/06/11/fox-sports-tees-up-complete-broadcast-schedule-for-115th-u-s-open
  33. ^ http://www.foxsports.com/presspass/latest-news/2015/04/21/fox-sports-completes-usga-on-air-roster
  34. ^ http://www.foxsports.com/presspass/latest-news/2016/06/08/fox-sports-tees-up-complete-broadcast-schedule-for-116th-u-s-open-championship
  35. ^ "Paul Azinger replaces Greg Norman as lead golf announcer for Fox Sports". Chicago Tribune.
  36. ^ "Veteran Announcers Bolster FOX Sports' 2016 USGA Championship Broadcast Team". foxsports.com. April 25, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  37. ^ "Your 2017 US Open Announcers". Awfulannouncing.com. June 15, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  38. ^ http://www.foxsports.com/presspass/latest-news/2018/06/11/fox-sports-tees-complete-broadcast-schedule-118th-u-s-open-championship
  39. ^ Rigdon, Jay (May 3, 2018). "Fox is moving away from a three-person booth at the U.S. Open". Awful Announcing.
Preceded by
NBC
U.S. Open (golf) network television broadcaster
20152019
Succeeded by
NBC