Rory McIlroy plays his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2019 Players Championship.
By Alex Myers
The Players Championship remains golf’s unofficial fifth major, but it will be the site of a major breakthrough in golf coverage beginning next year. Get ready to watch every shot hit by every player in the field during every round at TPC Sawgrass. Sounds pretty good, right?
The PGA Tour announced this media milestone on Monday ahead of the 2020 Players, which is set for March 12-15. For the first time ever, every (again, we can’t stress every enough) shot struck in a golf tournament will be seen live. That is, if you subscribe to PGA Tour Live, the tour’s digital streaming product, on either NBC Sports Gold or Amazon Prime.
Viewers will be able to select which players they want to watch during the tournament’s four days. The tour hopes this is the next step in bringing this type of coverage to all of its events.
“The PGA Tour is the most content-rich sport on the planet and we have been focused on expanding the amount of content we bring to our fans from our competitions,” Rick Anderson, Chief Media Officer for the PGA Tour, said in a statement. “Our vision is to bring every shot in every PGA Tour golf tournament live and on-demand to our fans, and this is the first step to making that happen.”
According to the announcement, PGA Tour Entertainment and NBC Sports will show more than 32,000 shots over four days at TPC Sawgrass thanks to 120 cameras positioned around Pete Dye’s Stadium Course.
“Every shot of the Players on PGA Tour Live is a natural next step in the innovative partnership between NBC Sports and the PGA Tour that spans nearly 60 years,” said Mike McCarley, president, GOLF, NBC Sports Group. “Super-serving golf fans with more comprehensive coverage of the Players is emblematic of our commitment to elevating this championship and builds upon our success in adding enhancements to PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold.”
But wait, there’s more. The tour also announced the launch of its revamped TourCast product, which will allow people to follow the action with shot trails of every ball hit. Fans will also have access to video highlights on demand and all the tour’s ShotLink Data via the PGA Tour’s mobile apps and website.
This year’s Masters, which is not run by the PGA Tour, was the first tournament to allow fans to see every shot from a golf tournament. Those shots were not live-streamed through the Masters site, although the delay in seeing them (less than a few minutes) was pretty minimal.
In any event, this is great news for golf fans watching next year’s Players—especially those looking for a break from coverage of No. 17. And going forward, if this becomes the norm at every tournament, even better.