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Media

NBC surprises by naming Kevin Kisner an analyst for two early PGA Tour events in 2024

December 17, 2023
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Michael Reaves

Sarcasm is Kevin Kisner second language, the PGA Tour veteran from Aiken, S.C., armed with a dry wit that lets him hold court among his fellow players when they’re gabbing on the driving range. It translates into the media center, too, where the 39-year-old four-time winner is considered a reliable person to go to for solid insight and a good quote.

Now, Kisner is about to take his gift of gab and turn it into a possible second career. On Sunday, NBC Sports announced that Kisner will join its broadcast team as an analyst for its coverage from two early PGA Tour events in 2024: The Sentry in January and the WM Phoenix Open in February.

According to an NBC spokesperson, Kisner will be filling the role previously held by Paul Azinger, whose contract expired at the end of 2023 and was not renewed. It’s unclear if Kisner and Dan Hicks, NBC’s play-by-play voice, will be joined in the booth by any other commentators. During NBC’s coverage of the Hero World Challenge two weeks ago, the first broadcast without Azinger, Hicks was joined by both Paul McGinley and Curt Byrum.

Hicks revealed the new hire during Sunday’s broadcast of the PNC Championship, noting Kisner's humor and candor. Said Hicks: “The one and only Kevin Kisner will be offering his unique insights in the coming year, although we may have to get Kis a quick primer on what he can and can’t say on network television outside a podcast or a poor shot. But maybe we’ll just let him go. Who knows.”

“I’m excited to have this opportunity with NBC Sports to watch the game of golf from the other side and comment on what I’m seeing on the course,” Kisner said in a press release. 

An All-American college golfer at Georgia and part of the Bulldogs' 2005 NCAA championship team, Kisner has played 12 seasons on the PGA Tour since 2011 and earned more than $29.1 million. His four victories include the WGC-Dell Match Play in 2019, which secured him his PGA Tour card through the 2023-24 season. His most recent win came at the 2021 Wyndham Championship. He has also played on two victorious U.S. Presidents Cup teams (2017 at Liberty National and 2022 at Quail Hollow Club). But Kisner struggled with his game in 2023, playing in 18 events and making just eight cuts while finishing 208th in the FedEx Cup points list. He hasn’t qualified for the Tour Championship since 2020, and he's not currently eligible to play in any of the tour's signature events in 2024.

The question then is whether the TV booth becomes appealing enough to consider a shift off the course, or whether he is looking to try to turn things around on the course. Similarly, NBC will have the two tour events to see if Kisner, who has no prior TV experience, can adequately fill the analyst post. Recent reports pointed to Geoff Ogilvy as a potential full-time replacement for Azinger. McGinley and Brandel Chamblee are considered other options.

“I have always found Kevin to be very forthright, honest and fearless when sharing his thoughts and opinions about the game, whether it’s in a conversation on the driving range or during his pre- and post-round press conferences,” said Tommy Roy, lead producer for NBC Sports’ golf coverage, in a press release. “We think his style will translate well to the viewers at home, and we’re excited to have him join the NBC Sports broadcast team at The Sentry and the WM Phoenix Open.”

NBC says the broadcast team for The Sentry will include Hicks, Kisner, Byrum, Mark Rolfing, John Wood, Smylie Kaufman and Todd Lewis.