USGA Goes All Cash-Grabby and Sells Its US Open Rights to Fox Sports, Who Knows Nothing About Golf #NoGlowPuckPlease

We’ve seen it for years by governing bodies of other sports- the big, dark cash grab.  The NCAA and its hilariously silly BCS signed for billions with ESPN just a couple years ago, and now with its new “playoff” format have beefed up the deal for billions more.  Same goes for the NFL, where corrupt commissioner Roger Goodell further lined his pockets by signing a big fat deal with NFL Network to host Thursday games, despite extreme opposition from players who don’t want to ruin their careers with injuries playing on such short rest.  This selfish cash-grabbing is the way the world is going right now, and unfortunately, it is coming to golf.

Starting in 2015, Fox Sports will host the big three USGA events- The U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Senior Open.  While official terms of the deal were not made public (shocker), sources have indicated to Golf World that the deal is in the $1.2 billion range for the 12-year length of the contract.  Current partner NBC/Golf Channel had offered to fork up over double its current $37 million/year deal and also had promised that the three Opens would get more than 140 hours of TV exposure.  Apparently that wasn’t enough, as Fox stepped in and anted up $20 million more than the new NBC/Golf Channel offer without any coverage time guarantees, and effectively squashed the long-lasting peacock network’s relationship with golf’s big dog governing body (oh yeah, and NBC/Golf Channel found out through email!).  Sounds to me like perhaps someone is stockpiling cash for potential litigation for its announced anchored putter ban, hmmmm……..

The first thought that springs to mind for this move beyond the cash grab of course is Mr 63 himself, Johnny Miller.  As we all know, Johnny has been a staple in the booth covering U.S. Opens and telling us about his final round 63 at Oakmont for decades.  Will Miller’s U.S. Open coverage run come to an end?  Or will he sign with Fox to keep the Oakmont story-telling going?

Next, and most importantly, does Fox know anything about golf?  In addition to the on-camera talent, such as you know, announcers who have a clue what they’re talking about, does Fox have the producers, editors, etc… to actually be able to knowledgeably show golf coverage?  Ok yeah, they do of course have nearly two years to get things lined up, but I’m not gonna lie, visions of the glow puck (#disaster) and the Fox football robot swinging the club all mechanically with some horrendous sound effects just dance through my head.

The worst part about all of this is that it affects you and me, the die hard golf fans, as we’ll be getting less coverage of our nation’s championship by a network who knows nothing about golf.  For the good of the game?  Nice selfish move, USGA.

Joel Harrington

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