Bye bye BBC: The world reacts to the BBC dropping The Open a year early

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What we’ll miss about the Open on the BBC… and what we won’t

 

With the news that the BBC will not host another Open, it brings to a close one of the longest relationships in sport. The Beeb has been responsible for broadcasting golf’s oldest major for 60 years, but from 2016 it’s moving to Sky Sports, completing its grand slam of the four majors and the Ryder Cup.

BBC Sport director Barbara Slater said in a statement: “In light of financial developments, the choice to amend the current contract from next year was a pragmatic one.

“We know that many fans are unhappy with the loss of rights and in an ideal world the BBC would still be the home of live coverage of The Open.”

 

Three things we’ll miss

Peter Alliss

Love him or loathe him, Alliss is the voice of golf to millions. We do love his rambling monologues, he’s ‘hellos’ to Captain Peregrine Smyth on shooting his age around some private Surrey club, and his great one-liners. Who can forget these…

Peter Alliss: “What do you think of the climax of this tournament?”

Peter Thompson: “I am speechless.”

Peter Alliss: “That says it all.”

“It’s like turning up to hear Pavarotti sing and finding out he has laryngitis.” (on witnessing Tiger Woods shoot 81 at the 2002 Open)

 “Wentworth Golf Course is in remarkable condition after the wettest drought in history.”

 

Ken on the course

Like Alliss, Ken Brown is an institution. We’ll miss his gangly gate as he strides down the fairway, his pocketful of balls he uses to illustrate green slopes and that rubber duck he used this year to illustrate where the Swilken Burn went… Brilliant!

 

Ad-free coverage

There’s no getting away from it, there will be ads on Sky. The Masters has got it right, limiting the amount and time advertising can be shown during its broadcast. Whether that will be the case for the Open remains to be seen.

 

 

And three things we won’t miss…

Lack of modern graphics

Who can forget this year’s Open, when Ken Brown displayed the day’s pin positions not on some high-tech graphic on a ‘Skycart’, but by holding a piece of crumpled A4 paper up to the camera. Times have moved on, and Sky will uses its extensive resources to produce top quality interactive graphics of the holes, stats and shots. Sky has pioneered golf innovations to continually develop the coverage and to bring fans closer to the sport, including showing all three days in full of The Ryder Cup, HD, 3D, interactive and multi-platform coverage, and more in-depth analysis through the Shot Centre and Sky Cart.

 

Squeezed coverage

The BBC came in for some rightly harsh criticism this year, when it didn’t start its Monday coverage of the event until 1.45 on BBC One. Play began at St Andrew’s at 7.45 on Monday morning, meaning the vast majority of the final round did not appearing on TV.

Instead, BBC One stuck with its regular schedule, which included Homes Under the Hammer, Bargain Hunt and Close Calls: On Camera. That just wouldn’t happen on Sky, which will also compile evening highlights programmes (not on the BBC), an Open breakfast show (not on the BBC) and on-demand options.

 

Wayne Grady and Mark James

We could never quite understand how Grady got the BBC gig in the first place. Sky will throw all its weight behind a top notch commentary team at Troon, which is likely to include the usual suspects of Ewen Murray, Bruce Critchley, Butch Harmon, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke. Colin Montgomerie is a Marmite character, but you can’t argue he’ll be able to offer some fascinating insight into the course he grew up playing.

 

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