Mike Tirico to Host Live Tournament Coverage from Bay Hill, and “Arnold Palmer’s Life & Legacy” Special on NBC Preceding Third Round Coverage
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – Golf Channel – the network Arnold Palmer co-founded in January 1995 – and NBC Sports Group will celebrate the lasting impact of the sport’s most iconic figure through a series of dedicated tributes and remembrances surrounding its weeklong coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Monday-Sunday, March 13-19, from Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
Nearly 50 live hours of tournament and news coverage across Golf Channel and NBC will originate from Bay Hill, with both Morning Drive and Golf Central on-site beginning Monday, March 13, after news coverage kicks off Saturday, March 11 with Palmer’s statue being unveiled. Coverage throughout the week will feature several guests in conjunction with the event, and incorporate a number of planned tributes and gestures being organized by representatives of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, including:
· Arnold Palmer Statue Unveiling – More than 1,500 Arnold Palmer Invitational volunteers will gather near the 1st hole tee box on Saturday, March 11 for the unveiling of a new statue depicting The King. The statue will be familiar to many golf fans, as it is modeled after the same statue of Palmer that is positioned outside the clubhouse of Wake Forest University’s golf course. The ceremony will be featured within Golf Central later that evening, along with Morning Drive the following day.
· Player Registration Process to Incorporate Palmer’s Office – A typically nondescript obligation early in the week at PGA TOUR events, competitors in the Arnold Palmer Invitational field – as part of the tournament registration process – will have an opportunity to visit Palmer’s office inside Bay Hill’s clubhouse. Virtually untouched since his passing last September, in the spirit of Palmer’s dedication to his endearing fans, players will write letters and sign pin flags in his honor.
· Opening Ceremony (Live) –Wednesday, March 15 at 11 a.m. ET – Golf Channel will be live from Bay Hill at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 15 to bring viewers inside the ropes for an official opening ceremony of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. PGA TOUR player and Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, will take the first ceremonial tee shot on the driving range, which will be followed by a procession of tee shots from other players in the field in tribute to The King. Golf Channel hosts Rich Lerner and Kelly Tilghman will offer on-site perspective and reaction throughout the ceremony.
· Palmer’s Signature Golf Cart to be Positioned in Familiar Spot – Once the opening round of the tournament begins on Thursday, March 16, Palmer’s signature golf cart will make its way to a familiar spot behind the tee box of the par-5 16th hole. The location is one where Palmer frequently would position himself to watch player groups during the course of their round.
“Arnold Palmer’s Life & Legacy” to Air March 18 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC
A 30-minute special tribute titled Arnold Palmer’s Life & Legacy will air prior to live third round coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Saturday, March 18 on NBC. Hosted by Tirico, the show will include a feature story from Rich Lerner on families sharing their gratitude by naming their children after Palmer due to his influence on hospital care in the Orlando community, and a special “Theory of Fehertivity” essay from NBC Sports host and analyst David Feherty. The show also will include players offering their respect and memories of Palmer, along with perspective and reflection from each of the five recently named co-hosts of the event: Peter Jacobsen, Graeme McDowell, Tom Ridge, Annika Sorenstam and Curtis Strange.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Live Tournament Broadcast Team
NBC Sports’ live tournament coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational will be hosted by Tirico, with Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller anchoring coverage from the 18th tower. Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo will be in the booth for early round coverage Thursday-Friday on Golf Channel, and lead-in coverage on the weekend. The remainder of the broadcast team will include Gary Koch and Peter Jacobsen as tower analysts, Roger Maltbie, David Feherty, Mark Rolfing and Notah Begay inside the ropes as on-course reporters, and Steve Sands providing reports and conducting interviews with players.
Golf Central, Morning Drive Broadcast Teams
Kelly Tilghman will host Golf Central coverage from Bay Hill, and be joined by analysts Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Justin Leonard and Billy Kratzert. Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte also will provide reports throughout the tournament. Early-week coverage will be hosted by Ryan Burr and Lisa Cornwell, with Rolfing, Begay and Tripp Isenhour offering analysis.
Gary Williams, Cara Robinson, Damon Hack, Lauren Thompson and Matt Ginella will host Morning Drive from Bay Hill, and be joined by analysts Justin Leonard, Trevor Immelman, Chris DiMarco and Robert Damron.
The Golf Fix Originating From Bay Hill Driving Range, March 13 at 7 p.m. ET
Hosted by 2012 PGA Professional Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, The Golf Fix will air at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, March 13, and originate from the Bay Hill driving range. The show will demonstrate to viewers how Arnold Palmer was able to use his swing to his advantage, talk about how professional golfers practice with a purpose, and include insight from Phil Mickelson on factors that come into play when he’s contemplating a shot, and how the average golfer can learn from it.
Golf Channel Social Media Presence at Arnold Palmer Invitational
Fans can keep up with the excitement throughout the week via Golf Channel’s on-site social media presence. This weekend prior to the start of tournament week, Golf Channel will cover the statue unveiling on social media, and experiment with an on-course drone, which will be incorporated into Facebook Live elements. Followers also will have an opportunity to engage in unique content throughout tournament week, led by perspective showcasing tributes to The King.
Live Tournament Coverage to Simulcast on 100-Foot Screen Outside NBC Sports Grill & Brew at Universal Orlando CityWalk
Guests visiting Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, March 16-19, will have an opportunity to follow the action from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in a special way. The NBC Sports Grill & Brew restaurant will provide a live simulcast of all four rounds, showcasing the tournament on the 100-foot screen positioned in front of the restaurant.