A long day of otherwise quality coverage of the U.S. Open on Saturday ended on an unpopular note for Fox, when at 8 p.m. (EDT) it unavoidably switched its coverage of the third round over to its all-sports cable channel FS1.
This characterized a lot of the anger expressed on Twitter:
Fox, contractually obligated to Major League Baseball, made the switch to FS1 to accommodate its coverage of the Chicago Cubs-Pittsburgh Pirates game on Fox. Here is the network’s statement:
“Our initial Saturday telecast of the U.S. Open was scheduled for 11 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET on FOX. Due to the weather delays at Oakmont on Thursday, we expanded our Saturday coverage with an additional hour on FOX [in addition to 3.5 extra hours this morning on FS1]. Due to a contractual obligation with Major League Baseball, we were required to start MLB on FOX at 8 p.m., which led to us moving U.S. Open coverage back to FS1 for the final hour [8-9 p.m. ET].”
Third-round play at Oakmont was suspended for darkness at 8:49 p.m. and will resume at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, followed by the final round. Irishman Shane Lowry leads Andrew Landry by two strokes and Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood by three.
Fox is in the second year of a 12-year agreement to televise USGA events, most notably the U.S. Open.