Golf Channel releases statement over backlash to U.S. Women's Open coverage
NBC Sports and the Golf Channel released a statement Saturday in response to mounting criticism regarding the network’s U.S. Women’s Open coverage.
Fans have been outspoken on social media regarding the presentation of the biggest event in women's golf. While some of the complaints focused on the choice to show the U.S. Women's Open on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock (and users’ inability to find the service), and GolfChannel.com, most of the anger resides with perceived favoritism to Greg Norman’s QBE Shootout, a non-official team competition. The Shootout has a number of NBC Sports’ higher-profile members of its broadcast team, and received, in the opinion of some, a better time slot on Golf Channel.
The television coverage schedule for the Women's Open on Saturday looked like this: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (ET) on Golf Channel; 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. on Peacock; and 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC. The QBE Shootout was set to be shown live for four hours on Golf Channel from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
It's not just fans critizing the coverage.
“With tee times moved up today due to weather couldn’t the [QBE Shootout’s] 4 hours of live coverage gone tape delayed and the last major of the year be televised live?” wondered Hall of Famer Karie Webb. Perhaps the most vocal has been LPGA star Marina Alex, who remarked “How do we grow the game when we can’t be seen?”
“Thoroughly disappointed with coverage slots provided by [the} usga [and] nbcsports for the BIGGEST major of the year,” Alex wrote on Twitter. “All we discuss is ‘elevating’ the game. Is that just rhetoric or are we actually going to be valued with solid TV coverage.”
When a fan asked if the coverage has anything to do with the perception of a lack of United States stars, Alex responded, “That’s a very tired argument ... are there enough Americans in the top 10 right now? I count 7 ... and regardless of country of origin this is the biggest tournament of the year. It deserves the absolute best.”
Further complicating scheduling for the USGA and networks is the bad weather forecast for Sunday. The USGA announced Saturdaythat the final round is being moved up to start at 6:45 a.m. (ET). The updated broadcast schedule has the Golf Channel with coverage from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (ET), with NBC following from 3 p.m.-6 p.m.