39° Good Afternoon
39° Good Afternoon

CBS Sports, golf benefit by PGA Championship and British Open being close together

Phil Mickelson plays toward the 18th green during his first

Phil Mickelson plays toward the 18th green during his first round 63 on the opening day of the 2016 British Open Golf Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland on July 14, 2016. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / ANDY BUCHANAN

It is the golf equivalent of a blue moon – two major championships held in one calendar month.

The PGA Championship, customarily staged in August, will be contested next Thursday through Sunday at Baltusrol in Springfield, New Jersey, back in the New York area for the first time since 2005 and third time since 1939.

Yes, that is a mere 10 days after the conclusion of the British Open, where Henrik Stenson won a memorable duel against Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon.

The strange situation is the result of golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, with a Zika-depleted field set to tee it up in Rio next month.

One might argue this sort of proximity will be bad for TV ratings and general buzz, what with many casual golf fans unaware of the scheduling quirk.

Or one might argue the opposite, particularly if one were a member of CBS Sports’ team on a conference call with reporters Thursday to promote the event.

“I don’t think it will affect us at all negatively,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said, calling the schedule “a one-year aberration.”

“If anything being this close to the incredible excitement we saw at the British Open I think is probably an advantage this year . . . I think the change will probably have zero effect on the interest or the ratings.”

Said host Jim Nantz, “One hundred percent agree. Let the momentum carry over as soon as possible . . We’re not going to lose anything because it’s happening a little earlier on the schedule.

“Competitively I think that if you were in peak form like Stenson, like Phil, I think they relish this chance to get back out there and have a major coming back on the schedule so soon.”

Dottie Pepper, in her first year as a CBS golf reporter, added that Mickelson should benefit from putting behind him his maddening loss at Troon as quickly as possible – both in golf and media terms.

“He gets a chance to get back on the golf course and doesn’t have to answer these questions about what happened in Troon for any longer than these two weeks,” she said. “I think it works to great advantage for him.”

Mickelson won the event the last time it visited Baltusrol, 11 years ago.

TNT will carry the first two days of the tournament from 1 to 7 p.m., then will show early third- and fourth-round action from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ernie Johnson and Brian Anderson will host.

CBS, in its 26th consecutive year of PGA coverage, will be on from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Nantz will be joined by lead analyst Nick Faldo at the 18th hole. Ian Baker-Finch will work the 17th hole, Gary McCord the 16th, Frank Nobilo the 15th, Verne Lundquist the 14th and Bill Macatee the 13th.

McManus praised NBC for its first British Open coverage and reiterated his confidence that it set the stage for his network’s second-biggest golf show after the Masters.

“I think it’s actually this year an advantage being closer to the last major championship,” he said.

Another final-round duel with Mickelson involved would help.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports