Golf Channel Tees Up Sport's Historic Return to Olympics
NBC Olympics has announced Golf Channel programming plans, delivering more than 130 live hours. Live coverage of men’s and women’s Olympic competitions to span from opening tee shot to final putt and medal ceremony. (Photo: AP Images)
Golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years represents a modern-day first as Golf Channel joins NBC Sports’ unmatched Olympic heritage to become the first single-sport cable network to provide live coverage of its sport’s Olympic competition. And as today marks 100 days until golf officially makes its return to the Olympic Games, NBC Olympics has announced its on-air programming plans for golf coverage during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Golf Channel will feature more than 130 live hours of Olympics programming in total, surrounded by in-depth analysis previewing and recapping the competition and highlighted by live coverage of the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Golf competition (Men’s: Thursday, Aug. 11 – Sunday, Aug. 14; Women’s: Wednesday, Aug. 17 – Saturday, Aug. 20). In total, Golf Channel will provide nearly 300 hours dedicated to Olympics programming in August.
Similar to NBC Sports’ all-encompassing coverage of marquee events like the Ryder Cup, NBC Olympics’ live coverage of the men’s and women’s competitions in Rio will begin with the opening tee shot and continue until the medals are awarded. Golf Central’s Live From the Olympics also will provide wraparound news coverage immediately prior to and following live coverage of the competition. Additionally, NBC will feature live look-ins, highlights and updates on the golf competition throughout the Games. All Olympic competition, including golf, will be live streamed on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, both of which require authentication.
"After more than a century, it’s wonderful to welcome the game of golf back to the Olympics and we can’t wait to bring NBC Olympics’ passion for storytelling and level of production to the stunning new Reserva Marapendi golf course in Rio," said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics. "And as it turns out, we’ve got an entire NBC Sports division serving the sport’s loyal fans with dedicated coverage that will showcase the athletes taking advantage of what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent their country and golf on this global stage."
"Golf’s return to the Olympics is an opportunity to help spark global interest and growth for the game," said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports Group. "The tremendous support of the Olympics by the golf industry is evidenced by all men’s and women’s major championships providing exemptions for the Olympic gold medalists."
Golf Makes Historic Return to the Olympics
The International Olympic Committee in 2009 voted to bring golf back to the Olympics for the 2016 and 2020 games, after the sport had been absent in the Olympic program since the men’s competition in 1904 and women’s in 1900. Athletes will compete on the newly constructed Olympic Golf Course, which was designed by Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott in Reserva Marapendi, located in Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca. Additionally, Olympic gold medalists will receive exemptions into all of their respective major championships, including: The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2017 for the men, and the Evian Championship (in 2016) and ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, and Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2017 for the women.
The Olympic golf competition will consist of 60 players on both the men’s (Aug. 11-14) and women’s (Aug. 17-20) side, competing in a 72-hole stroke play competition based on world golf rankings. The top 15 players in the official world golf rankings are eligible, with a maximum of four players allowed from a given nation. Outside of the top 15, each nation is allowed a maximum of two players (based on world ranking). If a country has already qualified two or more players within the top 15, additional athletes are not eligible. Qualification will close on Monday, July 11.