Actioncam Makes U.S. Open Debut Providing Unique Views of 18th & 10th Holes
Weekday Coverage to be Simulcast Live and in HD on NBCSports.com
“Patriotism right now is running pretty high in this country and I think it’s really exciting to have the national championship back in the nation’s capital.” – Dan Hicks
“It’s just the hardest championship to win.” – Johnny Miller
NEW YORK – June 15, 2011 – The NBC Sports Group will present unprecedented national, regional and digital coverage this week of the 2011 U.S. Open Championship from Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
“Golf Channel on NBC” will present 16 hours of live coverage this Thursday-Sunday, making the U.S. Open the only tournament with weekday network-television coverage. Golf Channel will provide nearly 50 hours of news coverage on site from Congressional throughout the week and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will be at the course providing robust coverage to its local viewers. NBCSports.com and GolfChannel.com are teaming up to provide the most comprehensive digital coverage of the championship in their respective histories, including a simulcast of NBC’s weekday coverage.
Bob Costas will serve as event host for all four rounds of NBC’s coverage the 2011 U.S. Open Championship. Host Dan Hicks and analyst Johnny Miller, together for their 12th season, anchor coverage from the 18th-hole tower. Hicks and Miller are joined by tower reporters Gary Koch and Peter Jacobsen; on-course reporters Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper; interviewer/essayist Jimmy Roberts and Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte.
Following is “Golf Channel on NBC” live coverage this week (all times ET):
Thursday: 3-5 p.m.
Friday: 3-5 p.m.
Saturday: 2-8 p.m.
Sunday: 1:30-7:30 p.m.
ACTIONCAM: For the first time in its history, NBC will utilize Actioncam, an overhead cable-suspended aerial camera system, to cover the U.S. Open. It will ‘fly’ over the small lake that separates the 18th and 10th holes, providing unique, first-of-its-kind images.
For the U.S. Open, Actioncam will be setup as a wireless two-point system. Actioncam has developed advanced software and hardware that allows it to fly up to 50 miles per hour while remaining agile and stable. It typically takes two days to set up the system.
Actioncam is one of 55 cameras being used by NBC Sports to produce the Open. Following are some additional production elements by the numbers:
1,080,000 Feet of Fiber Optic Cable
Golf Channel is primed to deliver nearly 50 hours of comprehensive news coverage of this week’s U.S. Open featuring live news reports, inside analysis, player interviews, special guest appearances and compelling features of the men’s second major championship of 2011.
Live From the U.S. Open will deliver wrap-around news coverage before and after tournament play. Morning Drive, the network’s live, weekday morning show, will air bonus shows and expand to seven days this week, featuring daily special guests from Congressional. The Grey Goose 19th Hole will broadcast live from Congressional, Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET, featuring PGA TOUR Professional Steve Flesch as a guest panelist.
David Feherty will join Golf Channel’s Live From coverage as a contributing analyst throughout the week on-site at Congressional. Joining Feherty on the broadcast team will include Kelly Tilghman, Rich Lerner, Kraig Kann, Steve Sands, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Charlie Rymer, Mark Lye, Mark Rolfing, John Feinstein, Alex Miceli, Todd Lewis, Ken Schofield, Tim Rosaforte, Jason Sobel, Rex Hoggard, Jay Coffin, Randall Mell and John Hawkins. Golf Channel on NBC analysts Dottie Pepper, Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch also will join Live From throughout the week, and Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller will join for weekend news coverage.
On Wednesday from 8-9 p.m. ET within Live From the U.S. Open, Golf Channel will air Golf Talk Live, where Golf Channel and “Golf Channel on NBC” on-air personalities will discuss the hot topics in golf. Moderated by Rich Lerner, the show will feature panelists David Feherty, Brandel Chamblee and Mark Rolfing.
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic
‘SportsNet Central’ will serve the viewers in the Washington/Baltimore region throughout the week-long tournament with expanded editions, special guest analysts and on-site news, analysis and opinion from Congressional. The daily news program – which airs live at 6 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. – will be presented in a special one-hour format from 6-7 p.m. each day of the tournament (June 13-19), as well as at 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 19. The program’s multiple other daily airings will also feature complete coverage of the U.S. Open throughout the week.
Brent Harris will lead ‘SportsNet Central’ coverage of the U.S. Open from Congressional, with Kelli Johnson and Russ Thaler reporting. Special guest analyst Gary Williams, the former head coach of Maryland’s men’s basketball team, will be on location with Comcast SportsNet from Friday, June 17, to Sunday, June 19. Julie Donaldson and Chris Miller will anchor the 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. editions of ‘SportsNet Central’ each day from the studio – with the exception of Monday – and will be joined by Golf Channel’s Mike Ritz, who will serve as in-studio analyst. Michael Jenkins will host the 1 a.m. ‘SportsNet Central.’
In addition to its regular live airings at 5 p.m. each weekday, ‘Washington Post Live with Ivan Carter’ will also be presented live at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, and Friday, June 17. The daily half-hour talk show will feature a host of golf-related guests – including Ritz and John Feinstein – throughout the week to deliver news, analysis and opinion surrounding the event.
NBCSports.com and GolfChannel.com will fully integrate their sites to produce one U.S. Open digital platform for golf fans that will share popular on-air commentators and digital writers. The highlights of this new combined effort include:
Live HD simulcast of “Golf Channel on NBC” coverage Thursday and Friday (3-5 pm ET), including the ability to pause, rewind and slow-mo any part of the coverage.
Live HD coverage of Congressional’s “Featured Holes” (Nos. 10 & 18) on Saturday (2-8 p.m. ET) and Sunday (1:30-7:30 p.m. ET).
Live U.S. Open Wrapup Shows, presented by Lexus, after the conclusion of all four rounds of play. The talent will be from Golf Channel for the first time.
Live mobile simulcast of all four rounds of “Golf Channel on NBC” coverage on VCAST and MobiTV.
A live Twitter feed of some of the top personalities and analysts in golf available as a companion to all the live-streaming video.
Full highlights and interviews from on-site all four days of play.
ProGolfTalk will provide live updates and interviews from on-site at Congressional all four days and can be accessed from the Sports Talk apps as well (on iPad, iPhone and Android devices).
GolfChannel.com writer Jason Sobel will blog each day of the competition to keep fans up to date as the action unfolds.
Golf Channel personalities Kelly Tilghman and Steve Sands will host live chats Saturday and Sunday. Golf Channel contributor John Hawkins also will host live chats Thursday and Friday.
World-renowned swing coach Hank Haney’s twitter updates during play on Thursday and Friday will be fed directly to GolfChannel.com.
Jason Sobel, Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell, Jay Coffin and Ryan Ballengee will contribute to the newly formed GolfTalkCentral blog, along with daily columns, news articles, features and breaking news on GolfChannel.com.
Morning and evening updates from Golf Channel’s Live From the U.S. Open team will be available each day.
“Tee to Green” features with Frank Nobilo as seen on Live From will be available online.
In addition, CSNwashington.com will provide extensive written content and exclusive video surrounding the U.S. Open throughout the week-long tournament. A team of experienced reporters, including longtime golf writer Len Shapiro, John Eisenberg, Ryan O’Halloran and Rich Tandler, will lead the site’s in-depth coverage.
NBC Sports Group golf commentators Miller, Hicks, Koch, Chamblee and Nobilo, and golf producer Tommy Roy all took part in a conference call today to preview NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2011 U.S. Open from Congressional. A replay can be found at 719-457-0820; passcode: 3515053. Following are highlights.
HICKS ON VIEWERSHIP: “Never underestimate dad on Father’s Day in control of the remote.”
ROY ON ACTIONCAM AND PRODUCTION: “With our mantra of giving the viewers the best seat in the house, it’s caused us to add quite a bit of equipment to deal with the different holes that have been set up here. We’ll have 55 cameras this week. One of them is similar to a sky cam that’s called “Actioncam.” It goes on a wire that goes between the 10th and 18th holes. We have our “go-cams” which are little mini point-of-view cameras in a couple places where we think there is going to be huge crowd reactions. With water in play on 6, 10 and 18, we’ve added three of our cue-ball cameras, which are down in the water to capture balls that go in the water. And we’ll have Protracer and Pinpoint animation as well.”
HICKS ON U.S. OPEN: “This is a huge event for us. The U.S. Open is always a special time and what makes it even more special is that we’re back in the U.S. Capital…Patriotism right now is running pretty high in this country and I think it’s really exciting to have the national championship back in the nation’s capital…We’ll be coming on the air Saturday with kind of a theme of, what is a true American? I think it really captures where we’re at, what this championship means to the people who have won it. So I look forward to carrying on that theme throughout the weekend being back here in the DC area.
And, of course, you can’t overlook the fact that Father’s Day is Sunday. If Phil Mickelson had a chance to win on Father’s Day, that could be an incredible story. I just look forward to getting on the air with our entire crew and Sundays are always special on Father’s Day working with Johnny Miller. He gets genuinely emotional about it and the fact that he won this Open makes it even more of a special day.”
KOCH ON CONGRESSIONAL: “One of the interesting things we have to look forward to this week is the setup of the golf course. Some have indicated that the USGA feels they may be a little behind on the setup in that the rough is not as long or dense as they actually would like it to be. There has been a lack of rain in the Washington, DC area for the last month or so. They have been trying to water the rough, but it hasn’t grown as rapidly as they would like. The greens have been stressed a little bit. They’ve had some extremely high heat here in the last couple weeks and a number of the players that I talked to earlier in the week were surprised at the speed of the green and that they weren’t a little bit faster. I’ve heard a number of the players calling the setup very fair and that’s usually something you don’t hear when they get to the U.S. Open.”
NOBILO ON WHY THIS US OPEN IS EXTRA SPECIAL: “I took up my citizenship just within the last couple months so I got to go to Washington and visit the Lincoln Memorial and actually do the capital city in a different look. To me it makes this U.S. Open that much more special. I played here in ’97. There is something different about an Open when it’s close to its capital and I think everyone feels that.”
MILLER ON U.S. OPEN: “It’s always nice to come to my favorite tournament, the U.S. Open. The one factor you always have to talk about at the Open is how well guys can handle pressure. A lot of things you see at the Open in the winners are a good first round. Thursday, tomorrow, is going to really tell a lot of the tale. There are not too many comebacks at the US Open.”
ROY ON THE CHALLENGES OF PRODUCING THE U.S. OPEN: “There is one sporting event harder than golf and that’s the Olympics, but golf is clearly the second-most difficult thing to produce.
For us in golf, where you have up to 70 balls in play at any one time as opposed to football, baseball and basketball, that creates situations where we have to make decisions what we think the stories are and, obviously, that’s the leaders. But there’s a lot of guys that have made it into the Open via qualifying…So there are those stories that we deal with. The biggest thing is how we react to that.
For example, if you’re going to do an Indianapolis Colts game, when they’re playing again, you know that Peyton Manning is going to be your story. When we come into the U.S. Open, we think there’s going to be a number of guys that are the story, like Graeme McDowell or Phil Mickelson, but you just don’t know.
So it’s more reacting to what the storyline is and paying attention to this entire golf course and dealing with all of that. In particular for Congressional, in past U.S. Opens, often times it was a series of really difficult holes that were followed by putting to save par, putting to save par, but here it’s not going to be that and it hasn’t been since Mike Davis took over. Guys have a chance to make birdies or eagles and there’s a lot of movement up and down the leader board because of that.”
ROY ON THE BLIMP: “The blimp has been given permission to fly. Under normal circumstances they’re not. It needs to stay overhead. It can’t get over towards the White House and Capitol Building.”
MILLER ON THE 18TH HOLE: “It’s such a pivotal hole at 523 yards…It still is very, very difficult and it’s a great finishing hole. It’s probably the hardest finishing hole on record…I can’t wait to watch that hole. I don’t know how you can get a much tougher hole than that one to finish a U.S. Open, so it should be fun.”
CHAMBLEE ON STARTING ON 10: “I don’t know how you can get a much tougher shot to start the U.S. Open. Johnny Miller called the opening round the second-most important round in a golf tournament and I agree with that. I can’t imagine any more daunting task than to have to stand up at the 10th hole and hit this wide, but very narrow green. Frank and I watched a couple of groups come through there the other night and about two out of every three shots were ending up in the water. It’s not so bad that you have to start on 10, but then you follow it up with 11, which is probably going to play as the hardest hole on the golf course. There’s potential for some embarrassing moments if you begin this golf tournament on 10.”
MILLER ON PREDICTING THE LEADER BOARD: “It’s just the hardest championship to win. The Open is a strange one to predict. Anybody who thinks they can predict golf is an idiot. I can tell you somebody in the field is going to win. How about that?”
CHAMBLEE ON PHIL MICKELSON: “There’s Phil Mickelson and then there’s everybody else right now because Phil Mickelson can do things that the rest of the players in the world really can’t do.
ROY ON THE ABSENCE OF TIGER: “It doesn’t change (our coverage) that much. We still cover the stories and the leaders. On the first day, there are all kinds of stories in play here, but as you get to Sunday, those stories narrow down to the guys that actually have a chance to win the event. That’s always been our philosophy whether Tiger’s in the field or not. Often times, when Tiger was in his heyday, even if he was three-to-five shots back, he still had so much fire power that we had to pay attention to him. But if he remained five shots back or got worse, we stopped showing it. So that won’t change things.”
NOBILO ON THE STATE ON AMERICAN GOLF: “I just think a lot of the U.S. domination has been Woods first and Mickelson second and consequently a lot of the youth haven’t developed. Meanwhile Europe had got beaten up and won Ryder Cups, but really have been out dominated in the world rankings by the superiority of the Americans. They get to start with a fresh canvas and develop their confidence.”
MILLER ON THE ABSENCE OF TIGER’S AFFECT ON GOLF: “I think U.S. golf fans, unfortunately, are starting to get used to not having Tiger around. Obviously we’d love to have him here and it was heartbreaking to him and us that he isn’t. But golf is bigger than Tiger. Golf always ends up being the big boy. It’s a great game and everybody wants to see who can handle the pressure and play well and be the hero or make mistakes the last day and there’s nothing like it. There are more train wrecks and car wrecks at the U.S. Open than any other championship.”
CHAMBLEE ON U.S. OPEN WITHOUT TIGER: “There are so many things that conspire to make this tournament captivating. The fact that Tiger Woods is nowhere in sight in the landscape of golf makes it interesting in a different way. Nobody really knows where to look. Nobody knows who the favorite is.”
NOBILO ON MICKELSON AND THE NEW TOP EUROPEAN PLAYERS: “Mickelson is older. He’s basically played second to Tiger Woods his whole career and I think that’s why you have to look across the Atlantic where some of those European players developed outside the suffocating aura of Tiger Woods. That’s why we’ve seen the development and why so many No. 1s come from outside America because they haven’t had to literally jump into somebody else’s shoes.”
–NBC Sports Group–