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Open golf on the red button

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Matt Millington | 17:21 UK time, Wednesday, 18 July 2007

From the searing heat of Hoylake last year to a sodden Carnoustie (and we are talking proper rain here), we gear up for our seventh year of interactive TV streaming from The Open. On a personal note, I'm thrilled to be at Carnoustie as it's the only Open venue I had not visited. The course looks spectacular, even with some ominous puddles forming.

My colleague Paul Davies has already written about our complete Open coverage, but I’m just going to go into a little more detail about the services which will be available via the red button. We will be returning to our roots somewhat and offering exclusive live coverage from holes 16, 17 and 18 - a service we initially offered back in 2001 and 2002 - rather than offering the player group option of more recent years.

On top of this, interactive viewers can access a continuously-updated highlights loop, a text news service and a full live leaderboard - which we believe is the fastest available via any medium. Satellite and cable viewers will also be able to use the Multiscreen to dip into our interactive cricket service from the First Test between England and India at Lord's.

The decision to revert back to coverage of the final holes from Carnoustie - the infamous “sting in the tail” - means that we can show shots from every player as they approach the most crucial part of their round. This is a luxury that the BBC ONE / TWO coverage could never be able to stretch to.

Tiger Woods practices in the rain at Carnoustie

I should stress, however, that unfortunately we have to end transmission at around 1930 BST on Thursday and Friday, so we will miss the final groups on these days (although Thursday's late starters will of course be shown on Friday, and vice versa). We hope that viewers will make use of our leaderboard to track where there favourite players are, then use the holes 16,17, 18 stream to watch our commentated finish to their rounds.

I appreciate that this decision will disappoint those viewers who enjoyed our player group coverage but our big problem with this service was that it became devalued over the Saturday and Sunday.

It was clear we had to offer the top groups at this stage of the championship, yet a big proportion of the shots from these groups were already being offered on BBC ONE / TWO. For such a resource-heavy project, we came to the conclusion that we simply weren't getting the value from this aspect of the service that we had anticipated.

Finally, we will be offering a highlights service under the red button for those of you who missed the day's action. This will be available from around 2000 BST until action starts the following day. Anyway, I'd be delighted if you could join us and let me know your thoughts on our output.

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