The Open: how 5 live covers the event
The Open Golf Championship presents more challenges than any of the other sporting events we cover on an annual basis.
Firstly, it's technically very tricky to cover a piece of land as big as a golf course. Secondly, the weather plays such a big role in proceedings. Then there's simply the number of hours we're on air, and finally, there's the challenge of making sure everyone listening doesn't miss a single crucial moment as the action unfolds.
Our technical team have been in place since Saturday: building our studios, laying
all the cables around the course and testing all the radio microphones the
commentators will use on Thursday morning. This is no easy job! Last year we thought we had interference on our equipment from a nearby military base, while at a Ryder Cup
a few years ago, a local TV transmitter was found to be causing mayhem with our,
and everyone else's, commentary.
Last year the weather played a key role in both our big golf events, The Open and
the Ryder Cup. You may remember the wind delay on the second afternoon at St
Andrews that lead to play finishing at 10pm at night.
And then of course there was the Ryder Cup, where rain nearly washed out the whole of the first day. It's not just soaking wet commentators that are a problem at that point. Electrical equipment does not appreciate getting wet. And as for wind, if it gets too strong our mobile transmitters have to come down from their lofty positions, meaning we can cover far less of the course. That's why I'm hoping for four days of sunny, warm
weather this week. I don't think we're going to get it.
I know I shouldn't worry about the ability of our award-winning commentary team to
keep people entertained over the course of 40 hours of live coverage. After all, they
talk for a living! As ever, John Inverdale leads the team, alongside Nicky Campbell
who's presenting Breakfast live from the course. They'll be joined by our commentators,
who include our golf correspondent Iain Carter, John Murray and Clare Balding, as well as Mark Roe, Bernard Gallacher and Jay Townsend.
The final problem is my problem. Making sure you get to hear all the crucial drives
and putts, as well as all the stories from the 156 players in the field and giving
you a feel for the atmosphere at one of the great sporting events.
And then imagine eight people talking to you all day, simultaneously, and having to follow
and understand all those conversations and then decide who to put on air as a result.
That's what happens every hour of every day of the Championship. My head starts to
hurt at the thought of it. But it's great fun too.
So that's a bit of what goes on behind the scenes at the Open. I hope you enjoy
listening over the next few days.
Graham McMillan is 5 live's golf producer. You can hear extensive coverage of the event from Thursday till Sunday's climax, here on 5 live and 5 live sports extra.