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USGA Upstages PGA Championship with Move to Fox

by Jeff Skinner

The United States Golf Association and Fox Sports have announced that the USGA will be leaving NBC and ESPN and has signed a twelve year deal to air the U.S. Open and other USGA events.

After nineteen years with NBC the USGA has jumped ship to the Fox Networks in a move that has shocked the industry.

Fox has grown into a big player in televised sports but to date has never televised tournament golf.  But the USGA decided it had enough of Johnny Miller and crew and starting in 2015 miller hicksall the USGA events will be on Fox and Fox Sports 1, which hasn’t even started broadcasting yet.

In my opinion the previous coverage on television and online have been extraordinary, with a few exceptions.  And the only way they can improve on the U.S. Open broadcast is to show fewer commercials.  And I don’t think that’s in the plan.

It’s a surprising move but what is even more surprising is the timing of the announcement.

This is PGA Week and all the focus should be on the PGA Championship.  Prior to this attention grabbing move, the powers that be would never have stolen another’s thunder.  Now the USGA, which has always prided itself as being a dignified and classy organization pulls this “Look at Me” move.  Maybe from the Kardashians…but the United States Golf Association?   Really?

I understand that all this is big business.  Who knows how many millions the USGA will pocket from this deal but this couldn’t wait until Monday…or Tuesday?  It had to be on the eve of the PGA Championship?

Bad timing, poor judgment…classless move, there’s no other way to describe this.

Glen Nager and Mike Davis have done an excellent of transforming the USGA into a forward thinking, proactive organization and they haven’t made many mistakes in their reign.  But this is so out of character I can’t help but think there is something else behind the timing of the announcement.

The USGA has every right to sign contracts with whoever they want to broadcast their tournaments (money talks after all) but the timing of the announcement is a massive misstep.

PGA of America President, Ted Bishop can’t be happy with the USGA and with good reason.  Hopefully it will be a great PGA and that will take some of the sting out of this cheap shot by the USGA.

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