Azinger will captain the American team, while Faldo will head up the defending champion Europeans.
“I’m going to try to avoid it, but I’m sure Faldo, riding in on the high horse, will try to pummel me a little bit,” Azinger said on a conference call. “That’ll be all right.”
Faldo has been part of ABC’s British Open coverage the past two seasons. Even after replacing Lanny Wadkins as CBS’ top golf analyst, he’ll still cover the British Open because of a clause he negotiated in his CBS contract.
“Obviosuly, we had a very good run with Nick with his two years at ABC and we told him we’d love to have him back for the Open,” said Bob Toms, ESPN vice president.
This will be ABC’s 46th year of covering the tournament. They have come a long way since their first broadcast, highlight segments on “Wide World of Sports,” to this year, 18-hole coverage of the final two rounds from Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland. Coverage will air 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday. A one-hour highlight show also will air at 4 p.m. Sunday. Coverage also will air on TNT 6 a.m.-6 p.m. today, 6-8 a.m. Saturday and 5-7 a.m. Sunday.
Mike Tirico will host the broadcast. Terry Gannon and Peter Alliss will serve as hole announcers with on-course reporters Andy North, Judy Rankin and Bill Kratzert. Tom Rinaldi will provide interviews and essays. Among Rinaldi’s essays will be a look at Jean Van de Velde’s 72nd-hole collapse in the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. The Frenchman made a triple bogey to fall into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard. and eventual champion Paul Lawrie of Scotland.
North said the changing weather conditions and the unique links courses make it difficult for
U.S. golfers, although Tiger Woods will be seeking his third consecutive British Open title.
“You can literally see all four seasons in a four- or five-hour round of golf over there,” he said. “It’s a totally different golf than that is played in America.”
ABC plans to use several technological innovations, including:
– Golf Trak providing 3D real-time virtual animation of every hole.
– Trackman Technology tracking ball speed, distance and trajectory of the ball within Golf Trak’s 3D modules for tee shots at the par-four No. 6 par-three No. 16.
– “X Mo,” ESPN’s high-speed, super-slow-motion camera.