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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2003

British Open a TV must-watch

There are a few sporting events I look forward to watching on TV every year.

The Super Bowl. The NCAA Final Four. The NBA Finals.

Then there's the British Open.

The third leg of the four major PGA championships is the one golf tournament that keeps my attention over four straight days of TV coverage.

The lure of the British Open is that it's everything that the U.S. Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship are not.

The British Open, taking place this year at Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England, is not the pristine beauty that is associated with playing at Augusta National or Oak Hill.

The beauty of the other Open is watching golfers struggling to navigate around links courses that routinely play havoc on a golfer's mind and spirit.

The British Open is not the well-manicured greens and golfer-friendly roughs and fairways PGA players are accustomed to playing on in the United States.

Competing in the British Open requires the world's best golfers to not only show up with their A games, it often calls for many to have experience using irons almost like a weed-wacker to hit out of knee-high roughs that surround tight fairways and slick greens.

What makes the British Open one of the year's best sporting events to watch on TV is its overall genuineness. Even after only a few minutes of viewing a round of the Open you realize there's nothing fake or artificial about the courses. The courses always seem beaten and worn.

The fairways and greens are often partially burned and dried out. Count on regular heavy wind gusts to be as much a factor in the play as the hay-like two-foot high roughs.

The British Open seems like it's never held on golf courses that are regularly watered and chemically treated to look as perfect as possible.

I've walked on many municipal golf courses in my day that appeared in better shape than the links at the Royal St. George's Golf Club.

Watching the British Open draws my attention unlike any other golf tournament because it is the one major that seems to make all the golfers play in a way not to lose, instead of playing to win. Low scores are typically hard to come by.

The elements surrounding the British Open call for most to take a conservative game plan. The golfers that attempt and succeed at taking risks over the course of the four days of play usually end up near the top of the pack.

Those are the ones I'll be looking for over the next two days of the Open, which will be shown on Turner Network Television (TNT) and ABC affiliate, WTVG-TV, Channel 13.

Ernie Johnson, the cable network's longtime NBA host, is working with a couple of golf pros and longtime TNT colleague Jim Huber on the British Open broadcasts. TNT's two-hour coverage of the third round begins today at 7 and the two-hour coverage of the fourth round starts tomorrow at 6.

Channel 13 will actually handle most of the coverage today (9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and tomorrow (8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). An hour-long re-cap show will be held today and tomorrow on Channel 13 starting at 5.

Ready for the NFL?

The NFL Quarterback Challenge airs today (4 p.m.) and tomorrow (5 p.m.) on local CBS affiliate, WTOL-TV, Channel 11.

Tampa Bay's Brad Johnson, New England's Tom Brady and San Francisco's Jeff Garcia are among the group of NFL quarterbacks competing in the annual event. This year's competition, which actually took place April 26 in Santa Monica, Cal., will also involve NFL wide receivers participating in the competition.

Channel changing:

  • Professional athletes and actors put their golf games on display during the American Century Championship airing today (4) and tomorrow (3) on local NBC affiliate, WNWO-TV, Channel 24. Jason Kidd, John Elway, Michael Jordan and Mario Lemieux are among the professional athletes playing in the annual tournament held in Lake Tahoe.

  • The latest edition of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel airs Tuesday night at 10. A lawsuit against Beverly Hills High School and a sports fan known for streaking at major sporting events are among the featured topics.

  • Buckeye fans still interested in adding the 2003 Fiesta Bowl to their videotape library will have an opportunity tomorrow when the game is scheduled for replay on ESPN Classic at 4.



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