What to watch this weekend? The USGA has added hours of championship coverage to its video-on-demand streaming app
The waiting game continues for fans longing to watch live golf, the PGA Tour still almost two months away (if everything breaks right) from restarting its 2020 season. If you’re a true golf junkie, you joined us earlier this month in watching the final rounds of 23 straight Masters tournaments, thus exhausting Augusta National’s YouTube channel as a viable alternative. But fear not. There remains a treasure trove of vintage golf content ready for binge watching whenever you are.
Last May, the USGA launched an over-the-top digital streaming app that could be accessed on Apple TV and Roku, and provided any number of old broadcasts, films and highlights from USGA events. The video-on-demand service includes more than 100 hours of historic final rounds of the U.S. Open and more than 50 hours from the U.S. Women’s Open. Additionally, the service offers several original films, including “U.S. Open Epic: Tiger and Rocco,” “1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major” and “Michelle Wie: Breakthrough at Pinehurst” complemented by documentaries chronicling legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Se Ri Pak, Tiger Woods and Payne Stewart.
Since March, when the coronavirus forced golf fans to seek substitute golf events for their viewing pleasure, the USGA has added more than 40 hours of new footage and expanded to offer its app on Amazon Fire TV. Among the new content is the final round from 1974 U.S. Open at Winged Foot (Hale Irwin wins the “massacre” with a seven-over total) and the final round and playoff from Winged Foot in 1984, Fuzzy Zoeller taking down Greg Norman.
“We know golf fans are hungry for content and we want to serve them,” said Navin Singh, chief commercial officer of the USGA.
In addition to the professional events, there are a handful of old amateur offerings available. Tiger fans can watch him win his three U.S. Amateur titles from 1994-’96 among the more than 25 hours of U.S. Am content. And there’s a very cool original newsreel recapping Arnold Palmer’s 1954 U.S. Amateur win.
But the true hidden gems on the USGA app come from the other amateur competition that is showcased: the Walker Cup. The telecasts from the last four times the U.S. hosted the event are all there, showcasing some of today’s top PGA Tour pros before they had hit it big.
2005 at Chicago Golf Club: Matt Every, J.B. Holmes and Brian Harman
2009 at Merion: Rickie Fowler, Bud Cauley, Morgan Hoffmann and Peter Uihlein
2013 at National Golf Links: Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Patrick Rodgers and Michael Kim
2017 at Los Angeles Country Club: Collin Morikawa, Cameron Champ, Maverick McNealy, Scottie Scheffler, Doug Ghim and Doc Redman
There are a couple familiar faces from the Great Britain & Ireland teams as well, most notably Matt Fitzpatrick (2013) and Tommy Fleetwood (2009),
Sadly, the most entertaining Walker Cup in recent years—2007 at Royal County Down—no longer is among the offerings on the app. (Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story it was mention that the 2007 edition was on the app, but it actually has been taken down; because the Walker Cup was played overseas that year, the USGA does not own the rights to show the footage.) That year’s match has developed mythical status among the amateur golf cognoscenti, given the big name players who were competing for the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland in the event and the way the final day played out. Wearing red, white and blue were several future PGA Tour pros: Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel, Kyle Stanley, Chris Kirk, Jaime Lovemark and Colt Knost. Playing for the GB&I was Danny Willett and a moppy-haired 18-year-old making his amateur swansong in his native Northern Ireland.
Wonder whatever happened to this guy?
But if you’re looking for a cult hero to follow, check out the coverage from 2005 at Chicago Golf Club, where playing for Team USA was at 20-year-old from Southern California by way of the University of Oklahoma. Anthony Kim went 2-1-1, but his fiery presence help motivate the American side, which had lost three successive Walker Cups heading into the matches. You could see the cockiness already brewing in AK, the swagger he would take with him on to the PGA Tour and brandish for the U.S. team at the 2008 Ryder Cup, where he helped the Americans end a similar three-match losing streak to Europe.