Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NBC Sports Group to Celebrate Arnold Palmer with Special Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational

Nearly 20 Live Tournament Hours on Golf Channel & NBC as Day, McIlroy, Stenson, Fowler Lead Field
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – NBC Sports Group this week will celebrate Arnold Palmer’s legacy through a series of dedicated tributes and remembrances surrounding its coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard from Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla. With nearly 50 live hours of on-site news and live tournament coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the field includes four of the top-5 players in the world in Jason Day (No. 2), Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 4) and Henrik Stenson (No. 5), along with Rickie Fowler (No. 9).

The LPGA returns to the United States with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona, featuring a strong field led by World Nos. 1 & 2, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn.

The PGA TOUR Champions also are in Arizona this week, with Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples leading the field at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, along with Steve Stricker and Bob Estes, who are both set to make their PGA TOUR Champions debut.

Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Dates: March 16-19
Venue: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 2-6 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 2-6 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Saturday 2:30-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 2:30-6 p.m. (Live)

Golf Central Pre and Post Round Coverage on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 9-9:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live) / 9-9:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 9-10 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 9-10 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Golf Channel to feature 11 consecutive live hours from Bay Hill on Thursday: Golf Channel on Thursday – in honor of The King – will feature 11 consecutive hours of live coverage on-site from Bay Hill. Beginning with Morning Drive (7-10 a.m. ET), a special four-hour Golf Central Pre Game (10 a.m.-2 p.m. ET) will lead directly into live first round (2-6 p.m. ET) tournament coverage.

Opening ceremony to air live on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET: Golf Channel will be live from Bay Hill at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday 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.

Mike Tirico to serve as tournament host on Golf Channel, NBC: NBC Sports personality Mike Tirico will host live tournament coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Golf Channel and NBC, marking the first time Tirico will cover the event on-air after initially joining NBC Sports Group last summer ahead of The Open.

“Arnold Palmer’s Life & Legacy” to air Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC: Leading into live third round coverage of the tournament, a special 30-minute tribute show titled, Arnold Palmer’s Life & Legacy will air at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, hosted by Tirico. The show will include a feature story from 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 designated co-hosts of the event: Peter Jacobsen, Graeme McDowell, Tom Ridge, Annika Sorenstam and Curtis Strange.

Morning Drive, Golf Central originating from Bay Hill throughout the week: Morning Drive and Golf Central will both originate live from on-site at Bay Hill throughout the week. Tilghman will host Golf Central coverage, 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 Mark Rolfing, Notah Begay and Tripp Isenhour offering analysis. Gary Williams, Cara Robinson, Damon Hack, Lauren Thompson and Matt Ginella will host Morning Drive, and be joined by analysts Leonard, Trevor Immelman, Chris DiMarco and Robert Damron.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am Airing Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET: Golf Channel will televise the Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, showcasing players in the field making final preparations ahead of Thursday’s opening round.

Day defends: Jason Day finished one stroke ahead of Kevin Chappell to earn his eighth PGA TOUR win.

Headlining the field: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Hadwin.
NBC Sports Broadcast Team:
- Host: Mike Tirico
- Play by Play: Rich Lerner (Golf Channel) / Dan Hicks (NBC)
- Analyst: Frank Nobilo (Golf Channel) / Johnny Miller (NBC)
- Tower: Gary Koch / Peter Jacobsen / David Feherty / Steve Sands / Jimmy Roberts
- On-Course: Roger Maltbie (Weekend only) / Mark Rolfing / Notah Begay
- Interviews: Steve Sands / Todd Lewis (Golf Channel, Saturday-Sunday)
- Essays: Jimmy Roberts (Weekend only)      

Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Dates: March 16-19
Venue: Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 6-9 p.m. (Live)
Friday 6-9 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 7-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 7-9 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Kerr to join Thursday’s first round coverage: Cristie Kerr will visit the broadcast booth during Golf Channel’s opening round coverage on Thursday as a special guest during part of the telecast.

Joh to make 2017 debut: Tiffany Joh is set to make her 2017 LPGA debut following a melanoma scare on her scalp that was removed in February. During Thursday’s first  round telecast, Golf Channel will visit with Joh to discuss her return to the Tour.

Kristinsdottir to be profiled in “Rookie Spotlight” during Friday’s second round coverage: LPGA Tour rookie Olafia Kristinsdottir will be showcased during Friday’s second round coverage as part of Golf Channel’s “Rookie Spotlight” feature.

Kim defends: Sei Young Kim finished five shots ahead of the field to claim her fourth LPGA victory.
Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Ha Na Jang, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson and Brittany Lincicome.
Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Terry Gannon
- Analyst: Judy Rankin / Paige Mackenzie (Thursday-Friday)
- Tower: Tom Abbott
- On-Course: Jerry Foltz / Kay Cockerill

Tucson Conquistadores Classic
Dates: March 17-19
Venue: Omni Tucson National Resort (Catalina Course), Tucson, Ariz.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday 9:30-11:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6-8 p.m. (Live Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday 4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 4:30-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Stricker, Estes making PGA TOUR Champions debut: Steve Stricker and Bob Estes are both making their PGA TOUR Champions debut this week.

Hall of Famer Hale Irwin to serve as guest analyst during Friday first round coverage: World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin is scheduled to contribute as a guest analyst during Golf Channel’s coverage of the Tucson Conquistadores Classic opening round on Friday.

Austin defends: Woody Austin finished one shot ahead of Jim Carter to earn his first PGA TOUR Champions victory.                    

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Steve Stricker, Bob Estes, Jerry Kelly, Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman, David Toms, Paul McGinley, Woody Austin and Lee Janzen.
Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
- Play by Play: Bob Papa
- Analyst: Lanny Wadkins
- Tower: John Mahaffey / Dave Marr
- On-Course: Billy Ray Brown

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