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Reminder: Blue Monster Finishers Get Golf Channel Spotlight

As I noted in this week's Golf World Preview, Doral's 18th was essentially the hardest hole on the PGA Tour last year (the 6th a Olympic edged it but is that really a tour stop?).

NBC is giving it the spotlight treatment this weekend along with holes 15 and 16.

Traditional Coverage on NBC and ‘Spotlight’ Coverage on Golf Channel Both Begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday

Spotlight Coverage to Highlight TPC Blue Monster’s Top Finishing Holes – 15, 16 and 18

NBC Sports Group Airing 26 Hours of Live Coverage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship

ORLANDO, Fla., (March 7, 2013) – NBC Sports Group’s tournament coverage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami this weekend will feature the debut of Golf Channel’s Spotlight Coverage at one of the most anticipated events on the golf calendar. Spotlight coverage at TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral will feature live action of players navigating the three finishing holes, including the toughest finishing hole on the PGA TOUR – the famous par-4 18th hole – complementing traditional coverage that also will air live on NBC.

While NBC is on the air live this weekend with traditional coverage, Golf Channel also will be on the air live, but focusing only the challenging holes that include 15, 16 and 18 at TPC Blue Monster. In 2012, the par-4, 467-yard 18th at TPC Blue Monster ranked as the toughest finishing hole on the PGA TOUR and the second toughest overall, with a scoring average of more than 4.5 strokes. At the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship, the field of 74 players combined for 55-over par on Thursday’s opening round, alone.

Golf Channel’s Spotlight coverage will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, when viewers will be directed to the final hour of NBC’s third- and final-round coverage.

The Spotlight coverage on-air team includes play-by-play host Whit Watson, Curt Byrum as lead analyst, Phil Parkin as tower analyst and Steve Flesch and Scott McCarron reporting from the course. Todd Lewis will conduct post-round interviews.

NBC’s production, which will be overseen by Emmy Award-winning producer Tommy Roy, will operate side-by-side with Golf Channel’s Spotlight production unit led by producer Keith Hirshland.

Thursday 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live traditional coverage)
Friday 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live traditional coverage)
Saturday Noon-2 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live lead-in coverage)
Saturday 2-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live Spotlight Coverage)
Saturday 2-6 p.m. ET (NBC live traditional coverage)
Sunday 1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live lead-in coverage)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel live Spotlight Coverage)
Sunday 3-7 p.m. ET (NBC live traditional coverage)

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Reader Comments (19)

Great leaderboard, Tiger looking masterful through two rounds and great play/shots throughout the first two days. Looking forward to the weekend!
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephenP
Like the Golf Channel, DORAL is way over rated. It was a great course “back in the day”, but the tin-head drivers and hot golf ball have made it just another golf course the bash and slash players can dominate. There is nothing special about DORAL anymore. I was there recently for a 3-night stay and discovered the service and infrastructure need a huge over-haul. And, the place is located inn one of the worse parts of Miami. I had a hard time feeling safe there. RE: the golf course, you have a bunch of prima donnas playing and out-dated golf course and it makes them look better than they really are. They can only talk about one hole, the many-times lengthen 18th hole. That’s it. No other hole is even special. DORAL has been screwed since Ray Floyd announced he was a golf course architect and butchered it. Hanse will hopefully bring it back to respectability.
Leaderboard is exciting, and hopefully will set up a great finish on Sunday. As far as the coverage is concerned, I've always disliked Notah's reporting. However, on Friday, I actually thought he did a good job of adding detail and not over-talking.
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGoose
@ pro from Dover......'makes them look better than they really are'. I must disagree with you on this. Even taking into account the tremendous equipment and hot balls and even long putters, the talent level of the modern day PGA Tour player is off the charts. They hit shots that the average golfers mind cannot even comprehend, and they do it routinely. I am most certainly not a fan of bomb and gouge, but I would never denigrate the sheer talent these guys have to play the game.
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBuck
The NBC events are really taking a big step forward due to the synergies with GC. The seamless coverage (last week the NBC announcers came on GC at 3:00 due to a hockey delay on NBC), and the simultaneous "spotlight" coverage once NBC comes on the air are really nice, expecially compared to CBS and their deadly 1/2 or more "gap", between coverages. Generally I like the on air folks from both networks, but I agree with @Goose, Notah is not good, but yesterday he was ok. Alot of that had to do with him covering Tiger I guess. But when you have Rolfing with one group, and Notah with another, the comparison does not work out very well for Notah. Missing Dottie Pepper.
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
If you are playing from the 150 marker, you still have to get it in the hole. Go play the reds and see how well you do- I'm willing to bet you don't top your ''normal '' score by very much.

I don't mind seeing these guys go low--all these resort type courses have relatively easy greens ( think of the Hope), so I don't expect Hanse to ''jack'' the greens up too much, but the lowest score is going to win. The talk is also about how easy Doral is when the wind isn't blowing- that the wind is the key defense here -DUH- this can be said about literally hundreds of tracks, from St Andrews to -- Doral.

Also visually this is still a very pleasant course, at least on TV.

When I hear the talk of ''the area''(around Doral), I think of AAC and ANGC, and quite a few others for that matter, and I discount any comments on ''the area''.

As to the story- NBC is really doing a great job, and they are to be commended. Congratulations.
The NBC group sounded pretty sharp yesterday--even such dullards as Maltbie, Koch, Jake had some nice observations and Noah did OK with Tiger despite the obvious bias. NBC is better on these regular tour events than it is at the USOpen where its commentary will forever pale next to what ABC in its heyday used to provide (Marr, Alliss, Rosburg et all).

PS Do yo think the Donald will make an appearance in NBC booth this weekend and tout the Apprentice show?

What kind of ratings for "Spotlight'' coverage I wonder; I only check/flip during commercials. Whatever happened to Ted Robinson?
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeida maven
This is one of those tournaments that *counts*......right?
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Is anyone else annoyed that this World Championship only shows FX rankings against players' names on the website leaderboard? Where are the the OWGR, not perfect, but better than FX? 25% of the field don't play the PGATour so have no ranking and the FX rankings in March are pretty meaningless anyway- Luke D 91, Louis O 132, Rory 140.
Is it arrogance, insularism or incompetence?
Was worried about Notah with Tiger, thought he did a good job. One thing that I particularly liked is that he didn't run away from his bias or try to pretend it didn't exist, but instead acknowledged it and used it in his favor.
03.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Colin, FX is a sponsor of the PGAT, and so they are going to play that when they can. No big deal.
Did you know that Thompson won last week?

I was going to start a drinking game. Every time they showed Thompson it was "Thompson that won last week".

He had a number of great shots shown, but the announcers almost seemed to be apologizing/justifying for showing him.
03.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
@ Digger Dave While the golf course may be as you say," visually this is still a very pleasant course, at least on TV", it is a rather boring golf course, flat and dull by today’s standards. Back in the day, and I played there when the DORAL OPEN was a big time event, the course was special. Today, it is just another flat, boring piece of tundra that they call the Blue Monster because it has one really tough hole - #18. When we were playing wooden clubs w/ carbon steel shafts and rubber-wound golf balls that didn't take off like a spaceship, DORAL was a tough track. Hole #3, and #10 were really good holes - #4 and #13 were fairway woods for many tour players – I have seen guys hit drivers! Most of the par 4's were driver & mid-irons. Today, they are not much of a challenge for the new-age tour player. That is not a bad thing, but don't try and say it is the same. There is not one really good golf hole left (other than 18), when compared to playing with today's equipment. A lot of mid-irons were played to holes that today offer little more than a short-iron, PW, approach. Yes the guys hit it a lot further, a lot further; and yes they are bigger and stronger -- but the equipment is highly improved as well. The golf balls are perfect to today and are like rockets. We were lucky to get 2 or 3 "good" balls out of a dozen and they went out of round after a couple of holes. You “saved” the “good balls” for Sunday. Just to let you know, the course they are playing today has very little resemblance to the DORAL back in even the mid to late 70's, mid to late 80's and early 90's. from a playability stand point. The Game is different, golf course is different, and the equipment is certainly different. And, BTW, I will take your bet that I can’t "top" my normal score considerably from the 150 makers. Let me place my “tee shot” at the 150 in the fairway and you and I can make a small wager. And I don't have to go to the Reds either - just let this old pro play from around 6,400 and you got a bet. Have clubs, will travel.
@ Buck I am not being disprespectful to today's Tour players, and yes they have talent. But there were a lot of players in prior decades that could "really play", not just bomb and gouge. Today's tour player is bigger, longer, and stronger, no question. Not sure they have more talent at ball-striking or shot making than the tour playrs of yesterday, or yester-year. Game is changed and hard to compare eras. But don't think there was no great ball strikers or golfers Pre TW. There is no question that today's equipment makes players "look better than they are". That doesn't take away from the game - it is just a fact. The equipment is better and the athlete is stronger. And don't forget how much better conditions today's courses are in when compadring course conditions to just 20 years ago. Go back into the late 70's and fairways were fluffier and softer than today's hard-pan fairways that allow un-godly amounts of roll. Putting greens are perfect today. Did you know the green speed at ANGC was 8.5 when JN won his 6th jacket back in '86? *8.5! And they thought they were perfect then! And now DORAL is an outdated, worn-out (otherwise Trump wouldn't be spending tens of millions of dollars to rehab it), boring golf course that is putting up little defense against these guys. Someone mentioned wind, yeah, some wind would help the course's defense. But don't think I was just taking a shot at today's players. The equipment makes some of them better than they really are. And don't think that the tour players of the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's didn't hit shots that todays average club player couldn't fathom. It has been like that for scores. Been there, saw it, done it.
In 1999 Tiger won Doral at -6. In 2002 Tiger won Doral at -25. In 2003 Tiger won Doral at -6.

Whadya bet wind was the difference?

In the 1970's the winning score at Doral was double-digits under par 8 of 10 years including -18 by Hubert Green in 1976 and -16 by Weiskopf in 1978,

As far as I can tell not much has changed.
03.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@ DTF You don't think much has changed? First, you need to get your facts straight. Steve Elkington won at Doral in 1999 - Not TW - wrong tournament my frirend. And Scott Hock won at Doral in 2003 not TW. TW did win there back-to-back in '05 & '06 at -24 & -20 respectively. Prior to 2006 when it was the Doral Open the average winnng score was -13.8. Since 1991 - sort of the beginning of the hot-ball and tin-head era, the average winning score has been -16.7. Since 1991 a score of -20 or better has been shot 4 times; -19 @ 2 times; -18 @once; and -17 @ 4 times. Prior to 1991, only Greene was able to get it to -18. The golf course is over 600 yards longer today than originally played and today's players are hitting much less club into the green than yester-year. I would say a lot has changed.
03.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheProfromDover
This tournament was held at Valderrama in 1999 when Tiger won at -6.
03.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD.
And TW won at the Capital City Club in Atlanta in '03 when the WGC event was hosted there, just for the record.
03.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheProfromDover
Obviously I did transpose some numbers there, not sure what I was looking at -- my bad. But the info on the 70's was accurate.
03.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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