Could PGA Tour benefit from its own Red Zone Channel?
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Could PGA Tour benefit from its own Red Zone Channel?

With the 2013-14 PGA Tour season set to kick off next Thursday (whew, that was a long break!), the fun will be starting all over again (while the LPGA, European and Champions Tours still are in their current 2013 season).

Meanwhile, on this Sunday, the Presidents Cup is mercifully wrapping up in Dublin, Ohio, at a very soggy Muirfield Village G.C. The biennial U.S. rout of the Internationals is officially on, and, accompanying it, a likely audience exodus from TV coverage on NBC to anywhere the NFL is.

Enter the league's Red Zone Channel. It's eight hours of football coverage each Sunday, with host Scott Hanson jumping from game to game to find scoring situations and plays. Since it's impossible to watch every game on the Sunday docket simultaneously, the NFL has provided a way to watch the best parts of every game on the Sunday docket.

So why doesn't the PGA Tour do the same thing?

The PGA Tour should create its own version of Red Zone. Call it whatever you want -- Birdie Time, Bird Watching are suggestions -- but only show the best shots from any round of PGA Tour golf.

It would be perfect for golf fans that love to see birdies and eagles, bombs from long distance, chip-ins and hole-outs. So many fans are not interested in watching star players -- ahem, Tiger -- exclusively in a coverage window unless they're having a killer round and might go on 59 Watch.

There are also so many players in a tournament field that hit great shots which are never aired in TV coverage because they don't have a fan following. What a great way it would be to showcase all of those nobodies who are, as the Tour's motto suggests, good. It might help to show off their personality at a time when they're the happiest in their rounds. It might help to get people to put a name with a face.

This is precisely what the PGA Tour should be doing with its digital rights package it shares with broadcast partners NBC Sports Group and CBS Sports.

In early-round coverage, Golf Channel should have a complementary broadcast on its Golf Live Extra app with a host, an analyst and an instructor in a studio to show great shots, explain why they were great and demonstrate how you at home might be able to pull off those shots at home.

Then on the weekend, the early-round coverage can go away on Golf Channel, to be replaced by a similar-styled showcase of the best shots in near real time with commentary and analysis from the studio.

Golf fans watch golf because they like to see extraordinary players make the game look easy, hoping to learn a little something that might make their games better. While the PGA Tour guys play a game that's awfully different than the one 99 percent of amateurs play, there's still plenty a fan could glean from pro-golf coverage if it was designed to be as instructive as it is entertaining.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.

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