The Open field
The 138th Open Championship started today. There are plenty of people trying to predict who will be lifting the famous Claret Jug come Sunday. Could Padraig Harrington make history be claiming his third consecutive Championship title? His form hasn't been great of late, but he's shown before that he's a man for the big occasion. To ensure you don't have to miss a moment of the action, we'll be providing our most comprehensive coverage of The Open ever.
Our live coverage starts on BBC Two. Over the course of the four days we will have over 40 hours of coverage on BBC One and BBC Two. BBC Red Button will also broadcast comprehensive coverage on each day of The Open, providing viewers with the choice to select a three-hole option where you can see play exclusively through holes 9, 10 and 11.
For those of you who want to stay up to date with the latest action during the day, while at work, BBC Sport Online will be carrying live streaming of all of the action from the course, along with rolling highlights, live leaderboard, live text commentary, blogs, news and archive footage from previous Opens.
In addition to all of this, John Inverdale will be presenting extensive coverage on Radio 5 live including 45 hours of scheduled coverage bringing all of the build up ahead of the tournament and four days of live action.
Even if you still manage to miss any of the live action, you can log onto BBC iPlayer where you can access all of the coverage from the day's play.
While I'm writing about the Open and what you can expect from the BBC's coverage, it seems right for me to address an issue that has been covered in some of the papers in recent days regarding the size of BBC teams at Outside Broadcasts. I think it's important to provide some context as to why we have the level of staff that we do here at Turnberry.
As the official broadcast partner for The Open we provide coverage both to audiences in the UK and over 100 countries around the world. As part of that responsibility the BBC has to ensure that the entire infrastructure is in place before coverage can begin. This involves miles and miles of cable being laid and maintained, feeding 69 cameras, across a course 7,200 yards long, covering a tournament over four days featuring 160 players. All of this must be put in place before any pictures can be brought to your screen.
The Open Championship is a major British sporting event and undoubtedly one of the highlights of the international golf calendar; as you can see it is also one of the most complicated outside broadcasts that we do at the BBC. Unlike other broadcasters the BBC coverage, as outlined above, is also unique in that it brings comprehensive coverage across a radio network, TV, Red Button, Online and iPlayer. Through all this extensive output, every member of the BBC team has a clear and accountable role, working very hard and long hours to offer the unparalleled coverage that you tell us you want.
The final point I wanted to clarify on this subject is that of accommodation. No member of the BBC staff will be staying in a hotel during the Open. The Open Championship is often held at venues such as Turnberry, where there is very little accommodation. We therefore use caravans, university halls accommodation and rented houses, which present the most cost-effective solution for housing the team. This applies to all BBC staff at the Open, including presenters and commentators.
It just remains for me to say that we hope you enjoy our coverage of what promises to be another classic Open Championship. Can Padraig complete the hat-trick? Will Tiger take the plaudits once again? Or will someone else make their own piece of history at Turnberry? Could that even be Tom Watson, after his superb opening round? All will be revealed come Sunday...