Brian Anderson called it “a bucket list thing” to serve as Turner’s lead host for the PGA Championship, so it is a good thing he is getting the chance to check it off this week. That is because it will be his only chance.
Turner has been carrying the event since 1991, but this marks the end of its contract. In 2020, ESPN will become the event’s cable partner alongside CBS on the broadcast side.
Anderson, an increasingly prominent face at Turner Sports, was involved with TNT’s PGA coverage for the past three years, but this will be his first time in the lead position.
That is because with the move of the tournament from August to May, Ernie Johnson is out of the PGA mix. He is busy with the NBA Eastern Conference final between the Bucks and Raptors.
Turner carries the first and second rounds and offers early coverage on the weekend before CBS signs on.
“I really wanted to do it,” Anderson said on Wednesday. “Having done the Golf Channel for four years and never getting to do a major, then getting to do a major the last three years in the role I was in, this was an opportunity, knowing it’s our last year as a network.
“I was just really thrilled to be able to do it, and that they trusted me with it.”
Anderson said he had not yet worked out when, how or if he will address on the air the fact it is Turner’s final turn, but he assumes the milestone will be acknowledged.
“Certainly at some point we’ll say an official goodbye from the Turner perspective,” he said. “It’s been a great run. And it started in ’91 with John Daly [winning]. And here’s John Daly again, still playing and still in the news.”
Anderson said the end of the road is “sad for our network,” but especially for those who have been at it a long time, including Johnson, who first hosted Turner’s coverage in 1995.
“It was much more difficult on Ernie last year, knowing that was it and knowing he would be doing the NBA playoffs [this year],” Anderson said. “He’s been a staple as far as this coverage.”
On Wednesday night, Anderson planned to watch Johnson and the rest of the TNT NBA crew, not only because he is a colleague but because he is the Brewers’ longtime TV announcer, lives in Wisconsin and has gotten caught up in the Bucks’ season.
“I’m a definite supporter of all things Milwaukee,” he said. “I can’t wait to watch the game and just be able to see Milwaukee in the spotlight.”
Anderson has known Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer since Anderson was a cameraman in college in Texas and Budenholzer was the Spurs’ video coordinator in the 1990s.
“I love where Milwaukee is in the sports world,” Anderson said, recalling that the Brewers were a victory away from the World Series last fall before losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS, among other recent local success stories. “It’s kind of a golden era right now.”