Golf on ESPN
|Golf on ESPN|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||N/A|
|Running time||180 minutes or until tournament ends|
ESPN on ABC
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original release||1979 – present|
Golf coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 has been a regular feature of the cable sports channels' programming since soon after ESPN's launch in the United States 1979. Although ESPN no longer owns any share of the rights to the week-to-week events on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, or Champions Tour, it continues to televise the first and second rounds of The Masters. Outside the United States, the ESPN International network family has broadcast golf events in several countries, including the men's, women's and senior majors, World Golf Championships, The Players Championship, PGA Tour FedEx Cup and OneAsia Tour.
Beginning in 2016, ESPN no longer produces any live coverage of any PGA Tour events, after having aired at least one of the tour's events or majors in every season since 1979 (with corporate sibling ABC having done at least one event dating to 1966).
Coverage history since 2010
Continued from PGA Tour on ABC
Prior to 2007, ESPN and ABC shared some announcers, but the main ABC coverage team did not generally work on ESPN except for events that ABC had weekend rights to, in which case the full ABC team would work on ESPN's weekday telecasts. After losing PGA Tour rights following the 2006 season, what remained of ESPN and ABC's coverage team's merged, as did the production, with all ABC broadcasts being branded as ESPN broadcasts as part of ESPN on ABC. History of the ESPN golf team during the period when some telecasts were still shown on ABC (2007-2009) can be found at the PGA Tour on ABC article.
In 2010, all coverage was moved to ESPN, with highlight presentations being shown on ABC during the afternoons on Open Championship weekend. This meant that in 2010, for regular men's golf, ESPN showed The Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the Ryder Cup.
ESPN revamped its graphics and its coverage team in 2010 as well. Mike Tirico and Paul Azinger remained the lead booth announcers. Curtis Strange returned as a hole announcer, while Scott Van Pelt moved from the studio host position to become a hole announcer as well. Sean McDonough joined the coverage team as another hole announcer. Andy North, Judy Rankin and Bill Kratzert all returned as on-course reporters. Terry Gannon moved from a hole announcer role to the role of studio host during live coverage, for highlight updates. Tom Weiskopf, who had been a hole announcer, became an analyst for holes Van Pelt was assigned to, and was joined by Peter Alliss in this role for one hour per day at the Open Championship. At the Ryder Cup, Alliss took Van Pelt's place as a hole announcer, while Van Pelt and Weiskopf worked on the studio set. Tom Rinaldi remained the lead interviewer and essayist.
In 2011, Olin Browne joined as an additional on-course reporter. Alliss began to only appear as a guest at the Open Championship, still for one hour per day, and still working as Van Pelt's analyst. In 2012, Gannon's role was eliminated and he joined NBC Sports and the Golf Channel.
2012 would also be ESPN's final Ryder Cup. The network traded its Friday rights to the 2014 event back to NBC for additional Barclays Premier League highlights. NBC then signed a rights deal covering the 2016–2030 editions of the event, ending ESPN's chances of a comeback.
Several changes occurred in 2013. Dottie Pepper replaced Browne as an on-course reporter. Weiskopf was moved to a position in which he would appear once during the telecast to discuss the architecture of the course and how it would affect play, as he is a noted course designer. Alliss also had his guest role cut to only Thursday and Friday coverage of the Open Championship. However, his role as an analyst for holes Van Pelt is assigned to is unchanged for those days.
In 2015, Weiskopf left to be a studio analyst for Fox Sports' new golf coverage.
From 2008–2014, guest analysts were used during the Open Championship, in various roles, usually for a few hours each day scheduled around their own play in the event. Tom Watson fulfilled this role from 2008 to 2010 and David Duval performed this duty from 2011 through 2014.
The 2015 Open Championship was the final event covered by the full ESPN/ABC team, nine years after first losing rights to the PGA Tour. Several members of the team did cover one more event, the LPGA's CME Group Tour Championship in December 2015.
Early round coverage of The Masters continues to be aired by ESPN, however coverage is produced by CBS and uses CBS announcers and graphics.
- Latin America Amateur Championship, all four rounds (2015–present)
- The Open Championship, all four rounds (2010–2015)
- Women's British Open, all four rounds (2010–2015)
- Senior British Open, all four rounds (2010–2015)
- PGA Tour (1982-2006)
- LPGA Tour (1979-2009)
- Champions Tour (1982-2000)
- U.S. Open, first two rounds (1982–2014)
- U.S. Senior Open, first two rounds (1986–2014)
- U.S. Women's Open, first two rounds (1982–2014)
- PGA Championship (1982-1990)
- The Ryder Cup, Day 1 matches (2008–2012)
- Kraft Nabisco Championship, first two rounds (1983-2005), first three rounds (2006-2010)
- "History of the Masters golf tournament on TV (1956-present)". Classic Sports TV and Media. April 9, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "History of British Open on US TV (1962-present)". Classic Sports TV and Media. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "History of US Open golf TV coverage (1954-present)". Classic Sports TV and Media. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "History of PGA Championship TV coverage (1958-present)". Classic Sports TV and Media. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Chronology of Ryder Cup coverage on American television". Classic Sports TV and Media. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2012.