Ryder Cup, PGA Championship Digital Moves From Turner To NBC Sports

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 10.20.42 PM.png

Turner Sports really mailed in the final PGA Championship this year apparently with no plans to renew their deal handling the May majors’ website and after losing the first rounds on TNT to ESPN.

NBC Sports will now handle both Ryder Cup sites (let’s hope we end the silly separate sites) and the PGA Championship’s digital “activations”.

Coverage of the PGA Championship moves to ESPN and remains on CBS starting next year, while the Ryder Cup is on NBC and Golf Channel for the foreseeable future.

For Immediate Release:

PGA OF AMERICA & EUROPEAN TOUR JOIN FORCES WITH NBC SPORTS FOR GLOBAL RYDER CUP DIGITAL PLATFORMS

PGA of America and NBC Sports Partnership Also Includes Marquee PGA Championship Events

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 8, 2019) – A new, global Ryder Cup digital-media relationship has been formed by the PGA of America, European Tour and NBC Sports Group. NBC Sports will develop a multi-platform Ryder Cup presence, including a comprehensive website that serves fans of both the U.S. and European teams and a new app that will enhance both the onsite and overall viewing experience. The long-term relationship begins in advance of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin (Sept 25-27, 2020). The announcement was made today by Jeff Price, Chief Commercial Officer, PGA of America; Rufus Hack, Chief Content Officer, European Tour; and Will McIntosh, Executive Vice President, Digital & Sports Consumer Businesses, NBC Sports Group.

The PGA of America and the European Tour will lead the sales process through their Global Partner Program, and NBC Sports will develop and execute customized digital activations for partners. Digital content for these Ryder Cup platforms will be provided by all three organizations, as well as NBC Sports’ colleagues at Sky Sports, which is owned by Comcast.

“This is an important next step in expanding the global reach of the Ryder Cup,” said Price. “This relationship will allow us to deliver the best possible digital, social and emerging technology experiences to fans around the globe. It will also add significant value for global brands that want to participate in this iconic sporting event as part of their marketing mix.”

“The 2018 Ryder Cup in France saw more than 22 billion social media impressions across the week – the highest in the event’s history – and this exciting partnership with two of our key partners will allow us to expand the reach of our award-winning social and digital content to even greater numbers,” said Hack. “It is fantastic news for fans who follow the contest avidly and also for the many global brands who are associated with one of the world’s greatest sporting occasions.”

“As one of the biggest events on the global stage, the Ryder Cup inspires great pride and is a highlight every two years of NBC Sports’ golf calendar,” said McIntosh. “Building upon our comprehensive news and event coverage, NBC Sports Digital now will super-serve fans with engaging content and interactivity across multiple digital platforms, tapping into the passion NBC Sports and Sky Sports have for this unique event.” 

The Europeans were victorious in 2018 outside Paris with a decisive victory against the United States, extending their dominance on European soil for nearly three decades. The U.S. team, which has won two of the past three Ryder Cups hosted on U.S. soil, will be led in 2020 by Wisconsin native Steve Stricker as U.S. Captain, while Ireland’s Padraig Harrington will captain Europe. Next year’s Ryder Cup will be held at Whistling Straits (Straits Course) in Kohler, Wisconsin from September 25-27, 2020. Upcoming host sites include Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy in 2022 and Bethpage Black, Farmingdale, New York in 2024. 

PGA OF AMERICA CHAMPIONSHIPS’ DIGITAL PLATFORMS:

Starting in 2020, NBC Sports Digital also will develop, power and operate the back-end service to three of the PGA of America’s championship branded websites, including for the PGA Championship, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and the PGA Professional Championship. Future PGA branded sites and their related products include:

  • 102nd PGA Championship, TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, May 10-17, 2020

  • KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor, Mich., May 18-24, 2020

  • 53rd PGA Professional Championship, Barton Creek Golf Resort, Austin, April 26-29, 2020

Captain Harrington Improves The Chances Of Not Having To Make Sergio Garcia A Captain's Pick

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 8.21.16 PM.png

Oh, I know they’re best buddies now having bonded over 2018’s win and it’s silly to suggest the former rivals can’t stand each other.

Either way, you have to love Padraig Harrington’s vote of confidence in the best possible Ryder Cup players making the team on points for his 2020 turn.

Brian Keogh reports on Harrington’s wish list getting the green light from the European Tour committee. Now nine will make it on points and three will get a Captain’s nod.

“Having said that, I am pleased that the Tournament Committee agreed to the change of Wild Card numbers. I have spoken to a number of people regarding the ninth player automatically qualifying for the team and in my experience, a player is more comfortable when he has qualified, hence my reasoning behind this change.”

And since Sergio seems unlikely to make it on points and everyone will demand he be on the team, this just chips away at the chances I’ll have to make that dreaded call welcoming him to my team.

Patrick Reed Assures Captain Stricker He Has His (Gulp) Back

Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 8.53.03 PM.png

Rex Hoggard reports that new U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker has spoken to Patrick Reed and all has been handled with regards to the Masters champion.

“As far as he's concerned, and I am, too, it's been handled,” Stricker said. “He's apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He's like, ‘You know what, I've got your guys' back. I'm there for the team.’”

Yes he does! Wielding a large knife from behind if 2018 is any indication.

Stricker Named 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, Gets Choked Up Naming Jim Furyk An Assistant Captain

Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 8.35.24 PM.png

Holy cow does this man get emotional! Ben Crenshaw is going to look like Patton after this captaincy.

Steve DiMeglio at Golfweek.com on player reaction to Stricker’s naming…emotional was the key word at his press conference and in Mexico City where players reacted to the “news”:

“I’m an emotional guy. I’m truly humbled,” Stricker said. “I’m very passionate about this competition. We want to win this more than ever.”

We noticed. First time Furyk’s name evoked such throat lumps when Stricker named him the first of 14 vice captains!

The biggest news out of Stricker’s first day?

All four captain’s picks will now happen at once, a change from the policy changed from the previous policy. Ryan Lavner reports for GolfChannel.com.

You can watch the full news conference here and see PGA president Suzy Whaley shut out of the questioning, mercifully continuing the trend of PGA presidents trying to get a share of the limelight only to be ignored by media.

Steve Stricker "Still Waiting On" 2020 Ryder Cup Decision

Steve Stricker’s still the overwhelming favorite to lead America in 2020 at Whistling Straits, but given that Jim Furyk was announced on January 11th, 2017 and Europe has already made Padraig Harrington their captain, could the PGA of America be considering another option? Did the task force reconvene to rethink the master plan? Or is there simply a better announcement date in mind?

Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge with Stricker’s comments and outlook for 2019, including this:

“I would love to be a part of it,” Stricker said Tuesday ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “It’d be a huge honor and being right there in my home state would be super cool. To try to bring the cup back right there would be a great opportunity if they give it to me, and that’s the part I’m still waiting on. It’s not up to me and hopefully I get the opportunity. It’d be fun.”

Euro: “We base our decisions on what the players who will be playing want, not on a circle of friendship"

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 9.46.04 PM.png

Juicy quote from a former European Ryder Cupper to Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch about team USA’s Task Force buddy pod system for captain selection.

The occasion? The inevitable naming of Steve Stricker as the 2020 USA captain in the coming months. Not that the Captain’s hit shots, but Stricker’s loyalty to the TF versus what’s best for the team will make his job tough.

The captain doesn’t hit a shot, but he decides who does and who gets on the plane. Furyk reserved a seat to Paris for Mickelson, his task force buddy who was out of form and played poorly. Like his two immediate predecessors, Stricker will be crowdsourced into the captaincy from a select group of pals and invariably will face the same questions about whether his decisions are based on merit or loyalty, on sense or sentiment.

Padraig Harrington's Ryder Cup Captaincy Begins Tuesday

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 9.58.12 PM.png

Press conferences will be most insightful and never dull the next two years!

The fun begins with an 8 am ET rollout from European Tour headquarters. Golf Channel will have live coverage.

Over/under on the number of times during his Captaincy that Padraig is asked if 2020 Ryder Cup venue Whistling Straits reminds him of Irish links?

450…ish?

Lee Westwood Not Ready For Full-Time Buggy Driving Duties Just Yet

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 8.26.23 PM.png

As the Europeans haven’t enough reason to be smug, it appears the normal captaincy cat fight is not in the cards.

That’s because Lee Westwood has taken his name out of the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy running, paving the way for Padraig Harrington to glide into a job he’ll be sensational at, assuming the Irishman does not tire of questions asking if 2020 host venue Whistling Straits reminds him of Ireland.

Ali Stafford reports for Sky Sports.

Lee Westwood Officially Pinpoints 2020 For Ryder Cup Captaincy

I'm not sure if this should make me feel old, but when World No. 66 Lee Westwood is throwing his PING cap into the ring for the 2020 Ryder Cup post, something feels slightly surreal. Or maybe it's that the Euros feel the need to start staking claims to their cashing out opportunity so far out? Either way, we have our speed in the race, who's going to try to catch Westwood from far back? Padraig?

Ewan Murray of The Guardian talks to Westwood about taking a big break heading into a busy stretch, with sights set on trying to navigate Whistling Straits in a buggy

Westwood can do little about that. Now 42 and based back in the United Kingdom – linked to the break-up of his marriage – he can map out a positive future. “I would like to go on a little bit longer,” Westwood says. “Two or three years, then think about the Ryder Cup captaincy. If I put my name in for the captaincy in four years’ time then I can think about the seniors after that.”