By John Strege
The notion that Fox Sports might be entering uncharted territory with its foray into broadcasting golf beginning in 2015 will be put to rest if a report holds that the network has hired Mark Loomis to oversee its golf telecasts.
Loomis, who has been producing MLB Tonight for the MLB Network, would bring extensive golf experience to Fox, which recently reached an agreement with the United States Golf Association to televise its championships, including the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open and the U.S. Amateur, for 12 years, beginning in 2015.
Jason McIntyre of USA Today's sports blog, the Big Lead, wrote on Twitter that "Fox Sports has stolen Mark Loomis from MLB Network," and that he is going there to "lead their US Open (golf) coverage." Loomis declined to comment.
Prior to joining MLB Network, Loomis was the coordinating producer of golf for ABC and ESPN. ABC received an Emmy for its coverage of the 2005 British Open.
"Mark Loomis was my associate producer for many years," former ABC producer and director of golf Terry Jastrow said. "When he was with ABC, we had three of the four majors, everything but the Masters. He was very much in the trenches for a number of years for those majors and he ascended quickly. First of all, he's really smart, he knows the game and he's a terrific player."
Loomis is a member at Winged Foot Golf Club and the Country Club of New Canaan and has a handicap index of 2.2, up from 0.4 earlier in the year.
"He's the best player of anybody who's ever produced golf," Jastrow, who himself played golf at the University of Houston, said. "It's one thing about knowing the game and another about knowing the game at the highest level. And he's a terrific guy, a gentleman, and people will follow him into the fire.
"I know David Hill [head of Fox Sports] well. I've not talked to him about Mark, but they'd be smart to get him. I feel good about the U.S. Open if it was under his stewardship."