The British Open begins Thursday on ESPN, and there has never been more access to the event. The network will offer more hours of coverage, more cameras and more broadcasters than ever before.
For the first time, ESPN will present live, complete-round coverage of The Open Championship from Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland. ESPN's live Open Championship coverage will be televised Thursday and Friday from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
World of Williams» The British Open broadcast team will be led by host Mike Tirico and will include a number of top analysts — Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, Andy North, Paul Azinger, Tom Weiskopf, the BBC’s Peter Alliss, Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie. » Also on the ESPN broadcast team will be Scott Van Pelt, Terry Gannon and Sean McDonough. Bill Kratzert, World Golf Hall of Famer Judy Rankin and Mediate will work as on-course commentators. » ESPN3.com broadband, ESPN Mobile TV and Sirius-XM Radio also will provide coverage.
John Wildhack, executive vice president of programming and acquisitions, told me about some of the big changes made for this Open Championship.
Wildhack on the production » Let's start with the fact that this will be the first ever Open broadcast in high-definition. I really think that is going to make a huge difference in the viewer's ability to see the real challenges posed by St. Andrews.
Wildhack on the new toys being used » We have added 35 cameras to provide as much of our own coverage as we can. Of course, our partner is the BBC, and they have 60-plus cameras, so we can have access to over 95 cameras. There will be an airplane that will do the same kind of work that a blimp would do. We can't use a blimp because of the winds that sometimes reach in excess of 40 miles per hour. The game changer for me will be the new camera on the crane that will give fans a panoramic view of the entire course, something we have never seen from that angle before.
Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!