NBC Will Begin Open Championship Coverage a Year Early in 2016; ESPN Done Covering Event

By Michael Shamburger

NBC was all set to take over coverage of The Open Championship from ESPN in 2017 after reaching an agreement with the R&A, but that has changed. Amid cuts at ESPN, the company has cancelled its Open Championship coverage for 2016, which includes the Senior Open and Women’s British Open. NBC, along with the Golf Channel is taking over coverage starting in 2016.

"“First and foremost, we want to congratulate ESPN for their company’s successful stewardship of The Open for the last several decades, and we thank them for allowing us to start our partnership with The R&A one year early,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Sports Group. “2016 promises to be exciting for all of golf, as The Open kicks off a historic stretch, including the Rio Olympics, the PGA TOUR FedExCup Playoffs and Ryder Cup on Golf Channel and NBC.”"

It’s a bit of a loss for ESPN, whose Open coverage has always been very enjoyable, but is great for NBC who lost the rights to the U.S. Open to FOX. ESPN is now left with Thursday and Friday of the Masters as its only major tournament coverage.

NBC’s golf coverage next year will be lead by The Open and will also feature golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio.

The Open (July 14-17)
The Senior Open (July 21-24)
RICOH Women’s British Open (July 28-31)
Rio Olympic Games
Men’s Olympic Golf (Aug. 11-14)
Women’s Olympic Golf (Aug. 18-21)
PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs
The Barclays (Aug. 25-28, Golf Channel)
Deutsche Bank Championship (Sept. 2-5)
BMW Championship (Sept. 8-11)
The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (Sept. 22-25)
Ryder Cup (Sept. 30-Oct 2)

[Golf Channel]