FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 1st, 2016
GOLF CHANNEL’S SLATE OF OLYMPIC-THEMED FEATURES OFFER COMPELLING STORYLINES TO FOLLOW IN RIO
Live Coverage of Men’s (Aug. 11-14) & Women’s (Aug. 17-20) Olympic Golf Contribute to 300 Total Hours of Competition and Wrap-Around News Coverage
Golf Channel Digital Features Frank Nobilo’s Tee-to-Green Segments Featuring Hole-by-Hole Overview of the Course; Exclusive Tour of Olympic Course Venue Front & Back Nines with Architect Gil Hanse
Special Episode of Feherty with Olympic Athlete, Basketball Coach Doug Collins to Premiere Tonight at 9 p.m. ET
ORLANDO, Fla. (August 1, 2016) – With the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics just days away (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC), 60 men and 60 women are set to represent their nations in golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in more than 100 years. The men’s competition is scheduled to take place August 11-14 (Thursday-Sunday), while the women’s competition will be staged August 17-20 (Wednesday-Saturday). Golf Channel in total will dedicate more than 300 total hours of competition and wraparound news coverage to the Rio Games, which will be highlighted by several features on the Olympians striving to earn a place on the medal stand.
Golf Central Live From the Olympics Scheduled Features (previews available upon request):
The Olympics are Truly a Family Affair for South Korea’s Byeong-Hun An
South Korea’s Byeong-Hun An will be competing in Rio as an Olympian just as his parents did before him at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, (Mother, Jiao Zhimin – China; Father, Ahn Jae-Hyung – South Korea) both in table tennis. The two initially met at the 1984 Pan-Asian Games in Pakistan, where the language barrier was a challenge, but the bigger obstacle was of a political nature. In the 1980’s China was allies with North Korea, which meant the two were forced to keep their relationship hidden and they were only able to correspond via letters sent through friends. By the time the 1988 Games came around, their relationship had become publicized on an international level, forcing them to dodge reporters and sneak out of the Olympic village to meet up with one another. Each would medal, with An’s mother earning a silver and bronze, and his father winning a bronze. Three years to the day of the Opening Ceremony of the 1988 Games, Byeong-Hun An was born, and in Rio he’ll be looking to earn a medal to add to the family collection.
The Evolution of South Korean Dominance in Women’s Professional Golf
In recent years, women’s professional golf has been largely dominated by a growing number of South Korean players. Five of the top-10 and 11 of the top-25 players in the current Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings compete under the South Korean flag. It is a stark contrast to a sport that for years was dominated by American players, and the obvious question to ponder is why? Se Ri Pak’s victory at the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open certainly stands out as a moment in which the current group of South Korean stars point to as the spark that inspired them to achieve similar greatness. The feature examines the cultural and societal influences of a nation that in women’s golf has emphatically separated itself as the model for success.
How Lydia Ko’s Early Years Positioned Her for Sustained Prominence
Overwhelming success at such a young age is what the golf world has become accustomed to with Lydia Ko. For someone with a world of talent and mental strength on the golf course, it begs the question of where that recipe for success originated from. First introduced to golf at age 4 while visiting her aunt in Australia, Ko and her family moved to New Zealand a year later. The progression of her game was swift and easily discernable, as demonstrated through exclusive footage of Ko as a young junior golfer, which is being showcased publicly for the first time within the feature. Around the time that Ko turned 7, she joined New Zealand golf professionals Bob MacDonald and John Lister for their regular Sunday game at Golf Harbor Golf Club in Auckland. MacDonald and Lister, along with Guy Wilson – Ko’s longtime instructor until 2012 – offer their first-hand recollections of watching Ko blossom from a talented young golfer barely larger than the clubs in which she used, to eventual World No. 1. From her days attending the Pinehurst Preparatory School and competing in New Zealand’s biggest amateur tournaments, her pronounced success on the golf course led to a constant need to create new goals in which to strive for.
Mario Gonzalez – Brazil’s Golf Pioneer
In a country not possessed with a deep and storied history when it comes to golf, Mario Gonzalez unequivocally became the face of the sport for Brazil. An amateur golfer his entire career, Gonzalez twice won the Argentine Open, and won the Brazilian Open on eight different occasions. Gonzalez earned the opportunity to represent Brazil at the Masters and U.S. Open (each twice), and was the low-amateur at The 1948 Open at Muirfield. Perhaps most notably, he defeated reigning U.S. Open champion Billy Casper in 1961, in a match held at Gavea Golf & Country Club outside of Rio (where Gonzalez was the head professional) as part of “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.”
Frank Nobilo’s Tee-to-Greens Prepare Viewers for New Venue
Golf Channel analyst Frank Nobilo spent time in Rio filming his signature Tee-to-Greens features on the Olympic Golf Course. Nobilo details which holes will likely prove pivotal as players compete for their chance to win an Olympic medal. Golf Channel Digital highlights Nobilo’s Tee-to-Greens segments:
VIDEO: Tee-to-Greens with Frank Nobilo
Hanse Offers Exclusive Tour of the Olympic Golf Course for Golf Channel Digital
Following the completion of the golf course design process, Gil Hanse welcomed Golf Channel cameras for an exclusive tour of the golf course. Hanse shares insight on the course’s front and back nines, and explains what went into constructing an ideal venue fit for a global Olympic test for both the men’s and women’s competitions. Golf Channel Digital features the respective front and back nine tours:
VIDEO: Front Nine Tour with Hanse
VIDEO: Back Nine Tour with Hanse
Olympic Athlete, Basketball Coach Doug Collins Joins Feherty for a Special Episode Premiering Tonight at 9 p.m. ET
Tonight, former Olympic athlete (1972 Munich Summer Games) and basketball coach Doug Collins will join David Feherty at 9 p.m. ET on the latest episode of Feherty. Among other topics, Collins recounts having been on the losing end of the controversial 1972 gold medal game between the United States and the Soviet Union, and what it was like to have coached Michael Jordan.
VIDEO: Collins Shares His Best Michael Jordan Story
VIDEO: Collins Talks Spieth, Young Crop of Stars on PGA TOUR
NBC SPORTS’ GOLF OLYMPIC PROGRAMMING PLANS
Men’s Olympic Golf Broadcast Team (August 11-14)
Johnny Miller, World Golf Hall-of-Famer and NBC analyst of more than 25 years will lead the network’s live tournament coverage of the men’s competition, rotating lead analyst roles with six-time major champion and Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. David Feherty, Emmy-nominated sports personality and longtime golf broadcaster, will split time as a tower analyst and on-course reporter, and Peter Jacobsen will serve as a second tower analyst. Roger Maltbie and Curt Byrum will offer insight from inside the ropes as on-course reporters along with Feherty. Veteran NBC Olympic personalities Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will join Miller and Faldo in the broadcast booth, rotating play-by-play duties. Todd Lewis will serve as a reporter and conduct player interviews.
Women’s Olympics Golf Broadcast Team (August 17-20)
Gannon and Sands also will handle play-by-play during the women’s competition, where they’ll be joined by two additional Hall-of-Fame personalities in 10-time major champion and winner of 72 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam, who will rotate lead analyst duties with Karen Stupples. Byrum also will join the 18th tower as an analyst, while Tom Abbott will be positioned as a tower analyst, and Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill will work as on-course reporters on the grounds. Lewis will conduct player interviews.
Live From the Olympics News Coverage Team
Golf Channel will provide wraparound news coverage immediately prior to and following live coverage of the competition via its Golf Central Live From the Olympics programming. Rich Lerner will host coverage from Rio’s Olympic golf course and will be joined by Faldo (men’s competition) and Stupples (women’s competition), as well as Golf Channel’s roster of analysts taking part in the network’s live coverage of the Olympics. Golf Channel insider Rex Hoggard and Lewis also will provide daily reports and offer interviews with players on-site.
Golf Makes Historic Return to the Olympics
Golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years represents a modern-day first as Golf Channel joins NBC Sports’ unmatched Olympic heritage to become the first single-sport cable network to provide live coverage of its sport’s Olympic competition. Golf Channel will feature more than 130 live hours of Olympics programming, and nearly 300 hours in total. Similar to NBC Sports’ all-encompassing coverage of marquee events like the Ryder Cup, NBC Olympics’ live coverage of the men’s and women’s competitions in Rio will begin with the opening tee shot and continue until the medals are awarded.
The International Olympic Committee in 2009 voted to bring golf back to the Olympics for the 2016 and 2020 games, after the sport had been absent in the Olympic program since the men’s competition in 1904 and women’s in 1900. Athletes will compete on the newly constructed Olympic Golf Course, which was designed by Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott in Reserva Marapendi, located in Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca. Additionally, Olympic gold medalists will receive exemptions into all of their respective major championships, including: The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2017 for the men, and the Evian Championship (in 2016) and ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, and Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 for the women.
NBC will feature live look-ins, highlights and updates on the golf competition throughout the Games. All Olympic competition, including golf, will be live streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, (Powered by Playmaker Media), both of which require authentication.
The Olympic golf competition will consist of 60 players on both the men’s and women’s side, competing in a 72-hole stroke play competition based on world golf rankings. The top-15 players in the official world golf rankings are eligible, with a maximum of four players allowed from a given nation. Outside of the top-15, each nation is allowed a maximum of two players (based on world ranking). If a country has already qualified two or more players within the top-15, additional athletes are not eligible.
ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. The 2012 London Olympics were watched by 217 million Americans across the networks of NBCUniversal, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open Championship, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Golf Channel’s digital platforms, headed by GolfChannel.com, deliver unmatched coverage of the world of golf. Fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra and select programming is simulcast via SiriusXM’s PGA TOUR Radio. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour.