Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So long ABC

With ABC Sports bowing out of PGA Tour coverage starting next year, this week's British Open is the network's swan song. Expect the farewell to be sentimenal and sad.

For a good idea of what's going on behind the scenes, check out this story in Golf World by Dave Shedloski.

By Dave Shedloski
Golf World July 14, 2006

More than 100 of them assembled for dinner at the Marriott Rancho Las Palmas Hotel in Palm Springs on a crisp Saturday night in January, their appetites diminished as they tried to talk around the tumult injected into their cloistered realm. Overshadowing the occasion for which the ABC golf team gathered that evening--to celebrate the beginning of another season of PGA Tour telecasts--was the week-old, other-shoe-dropping news that 2006 would be their last for the foreseeable future.

"It was the weirdest feeling," Brandt Packer, then-associate producer of the network's golf broadcasts, said of a banquet where humble pie was the main course. "There was a wedding going on in the ballroom next to ours. Our room was like a wake."

Sensing the maudlin atmosphere during early-round cable telecasts of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, producer Mark Loomis hoped to rally the troops. In a halting voice he quoted from author Muriel Strode: "I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path and leave a trail." Then he had the lights turned down and presented a video montage of ABC's golf highlights from the previous year.
How we got to this point I don't know, but it's the end of a wonderful journey. "
-- Peter Alliss
"Mark was trying to show us all the good work we had done and what we had to look forward to," said Andy North, on-course reporter and two-time U.S. Open champion. "It was a great way to lead us into the year. But to watch the video also reminded us that we weren't going to have a chance to do any of those things again."

For the rest of Shed's story, click here.

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