2015 PGA Championship: Golf Channel up to the major challenge

PGA Championship Ryan Berenz

PGA Championship

Golf fans have long relied on Golf Channel to cover the game from all angles, especially when it comes to the four major tournaments. With the year’s final major, the PGA Championship, taking place Aug. 13-16 at Whistling Straits on the shore of Lake Michigan in Kohler, Wis., I got a behind-the-scenes look at how Golf Channel’s production crew and talent keep viewers informed on everything surrounding tournament week.

ALSO SEE: 2015 PGA Championship TV schedule on TNT and CBS

Early Friday morning, Golf Channel’s LIVE From the PGA Championship was getting viewers up to speed as the first groups of the day teed off for the Second Round. With the Golf Channel set perched between the practice green and the practice range, cameras caught players warming up on-course reporter Steve Sands provided updates and interviews from the practice areas. Golf Channel’s FlyCam, a mobile camera suspended on a cable that spanned the entire practice area, provided great overhead shots that a stationary tower or crane camera simply can’t.

Golf Channel FlyCam

The intense sun, and sweltering temperatures and humidity made things uncomfortable on the set LIVE From‘s Kelly Tilghman, Arron Oberholser and Notah Begay III. Temperatures approached 90 degrees, the sun heated up their desk (there was an air conditioning vent underneath it) and glare made computer screens and video monitors difficult to read. Hairspray and makeup were regularly applied during breaks, and the set’s lighting was adjusted with the changing angle of the sunlight.

As the morning progressed, the leaderboard was constantly in flux, with players making surges upward and a few double-bogeying themselves down the list. LIVE From hosts and analysts are fed a constant stream of scores and updates from the course, as well as stats and nuggets of info on players from a researcher on the set. In Friday’s round, history was made when Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata shot a major tournament record-tying 63, which set the researcher into motion gathering up as much information as he could on the little-known (in the U.S., anyway) player. And when there was a roar of applause from somewhere on the course, the researcher tried to track down what just happened.

The PGA Championship’s TV broadcast center is a massive array of trailers containing production equipment, office space, and satellite antennas. In Golf Channel’s production truck (below), feeds from the cameras on the set, in the media center, and at other locations on the course are monitored. FlyCam is also controlled from the truck. Onscreen graphics are generated at Golf Channel’s Orlando, Fla., facility.

In the late afternoon, a thunderstorm suspended Second Round play and the course was evacuated. High winds and heavy rains wreaked havoc on many of the temporary structures set up throughout the tournament village. Golf Channel’s set, where I had spent much of the day, suffered heavy wind damage to its roof and walls. The evening edition of LIVE From was shot inside the interview room in the media center. With TNT airing the remainder of the Second Round early Saturday, LIVE From didn’t air a morning edition. The Golf Channel crew worked well into the night and got back to work early in the morning to get the set in working order for the Saturday evening LIVE From.

3 Comments

  1. Yesterday and today has been a disaster re- coverage. As one announcer said, this will be coverage primarily today of Tiger. We cut it off. There are multiple other good sportsmen that we like to watch and they deserve equal coverage. Today, Saturday, we channel hop and there is nothing but Tiger as if it is a one-man show. Shame, shame on you for neglecting the other good guys who deserve to be on TV; they have played all year, but Tiger jumps in at last minute and wants to be and you let him be “mr. hot shot”. He is just an over-aged spoiled kid. Be fair to all your players. Thanks

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About Ryan Berenz 2091 Articles
Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife