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The Open field

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Philip Bernie Philip Bernie | 15:16 UK time, Thursday, 16 July 2009

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.

Padraig Harrington at The Open, Turnberry

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...


  • Comment number 1.

    Why doesn't the BBC post the full leaderboard for Majors??

  • Comment number 2.

    the close up shown a short time ago of the kintyre coast was actually the ship rock light on the island of sanda, once owned by jack bruce of cream fame, also seen were paterson rock and sheep island, as the camera panned to the right the coast of kintyre towards the mull light came into view with the lower lying dunaverty rock at southend, if the camera had continued to the right you would have seen the dunavery course and further north the island of davaar would have come into view with the entrance to campbeltown loch where the new machrihanish dunes course will open next week and home to the best opening hole in the world, the 1st at the original machrihanish links, as old as the open itself.
    happy birthday to nick faldo on saturday, he'll be a wee bit older than me, a wee bit younger than nelson mandela!!!
    sandy lyle for ryder cup captain and hello to sam, the greatest living scotsman

  • Comment number 3.

    lyle "v" monty - 6 of one and half a dozen of another? Sandy, not the best comment he has ever made and not overly professional, and at the start Colin really did have the higher morale ground. But we all know Colin can be a bit of a moaner and a martar. Move on, if a friend calls you on something, then pick up the phone / knock on the door and sort it out, don't play the hard done by act for too long? Colin, is fast losing the high ground and heading for a bunker?

    ps - what is JD wearing?

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Twice today,during coverage of the open, the bbc team diverted to the 'lyle / montgomerie ' story as did Gary Lineker in last night's preview. this is a nonsense issue, and takes away from the bbc,s excellant golf coverage. Leave that to the tabloids and as the commentater of the moment ,Sam Torrance said, let's concentrate on the golf

  • Comment number 6.

    How is that with a captive audience and the license fee, you still can't provide HD coverage? This is 2009! All sports coverage should be in HD by now, as it is in the US.

  • Comment number 7.

    I welcolme the BBC's wonderful coverage of the Men's Open but why does the Women's Open not get the same coverage?

  • Comment number 8.

    Tiger Woods - greatest player of the modern era perhaps but not a champion. I watched the highlights last night to see Woods aka ChumberWumber Club Thumper- throwing clubs, wacking the floor with them and generally sulking around Turnberry.Then declining any interviews. Is he becoming a footballer?(sorry Gary) What, with his spitting and sulking I am sure Real Madrid will be interested in signing him. Perhaps the R&A should insist he watches a replay of Duel in the Sun to see 2 true champions and gentlemen behave.Sorry, think he is a fantastic player but sick and tired of his scowling.

  • Comment number 9.

    The lack of HD coverage is a bit disappointing, especially after such good pictures from the Masters earlier this year.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes lack of HD is real disappointment. We had the Open in HD last year did we not? Frankly HD coverage of any BBC sport event should be a given.

  • Comment number 11.

    Did anyone else see Padraig give a glove to the finder of his ball in the rough on the 7th?

  • Comment number 12.

    can you please tell us why no HD pictures. The HD channel is not showing anything at the Moment and with such a great location and the excellent slow camera work this would have been a great chance for people to see the wonder of HD

  • Comment number 13.

    Can the BBC do something about the blasted helicopter that's drowning out much of the commentary. I'm sure they've spent a lot of unnecessary money to bring us aerial images of the course, but it seriously detracts from the coverage. I wonder if Peter Allis knows that his dulcet tones are being drowned out! Cut the chopper now!

  • Comment number 14.

    stace322 No 8
    Totally agree with ypu on the Tiger comments. Throwing clubs, spitting and general sulking is not, or should not be, acceptable from a player of any sport who is looked up to by millions of young people around the world. Nobody can make any excuses for that type of behaviour, although many will try, and maybe Tiger needs to look at real champions (Nicklaus,Watson,Player etc) to see how to behave and control himself in public.

  • Comment number 15.

    As I sit for four days in my hermitically-sealed TV room, I can offer a long-overdue thank you. The BBC coverage of golf, and particularly The Open, benchmarks the standard by which all other golf broadcasts are judged. In my view, not one of them would appear on the first page of a leader board with the BBC. This is a tribute to the entire team, but particularly to the front-of-house crew whose commentary connects us with the play.
    I have been watching The Open since the days of Henry Longhurst - he of the cathedral, lived-in voice. I can still hear his stentorian tones utter, tinged with profound sadness for the player; "And all he had to do was........". Peter Alliss, as his acolyte has long since worn his mantle as the father of golf broadcasting.
    I am a member of Greystones Golf Club, Co. Wicklow. Peter will recall saying complimentary things about one of our local restuarants, The Hungry Monk, when he visited Druids Glen for, I think, the Seve Trophy.
    Thank you for your continued pleasure, bordering on the sinful, which you provide to golfers everywhere.
    Pat O'Neill

  • Comment number 16.

    The BBC coverage of golf and particularly The Open, benchmarks the standard by which all other golf broadcasts are judged. This is a tribute to the entire broadcast team and in particular , the commentary crew.
    I have been watching The Open since the days of Henry Longhurst - he of the cathedral, lived-in voice. I can still hear his stentorian tones utter, tinged with profound sadness for the player; "And all he had to do was............."
    I am a member of Greystones Golf Club, Co. Wicklow. Peter Alliss will recall saying complimentary things about one of our local restuarants, The Hungry Monk, some years ago.
    Thank you for the continued pleasure, bordering on the sinful, which you provide to golfers everywhere.
    Pat O'Neill

  • Comment number 17.

    I hope that now Woods has failed to make the cut, the commentators will not say 'if only Tiger was still here' or 'I wonder what Tiger would do in this situatation'. He had his chance aznd failed - let's move on

  • Comment number 18.

    Graeme and Sam spent an absolutely wonderful afternoon in front of the telly today watching The Open drama unfurl from the comfort of the house and rooting for our favourites Goosen, Westwood and Watson. What better way to spend a rain lashed day than watching the greatest players battle their way round Turnberry. Can the 59 year old Watson provide one of the greatest stories in golf by lifting the claret jug on Sunday afternoon or will Lee Westwood be the first British player since Paul Lawrie to be crowned the Open Champion? Like thousands of golf fans the length and breadth of the country, Graeme and Sam can bearly contain their excitement!

  • Comment number 19.

    Although your coverage of the Open and the Ashes is very good (There's no Dom Joly for a start...) couldn't you have shaved one percent off the budget in order to provide coverage of the World Games in Taiwan? If you add together all the adherents in this country to archery, bodybuilding, bowling, gymnastics, martial arts, orienteering, roller skating, rugby, squash, water skiing and tug of war, there are millions of Britons who are missing out on an opportunity to see international competition in their sport.

  • Comment number 20.

    Having watched the highlights programmes on Thursday and Friday I thought this was a putting ocmpetition.

  • Comment number 21.

    Watching the interactive covarage this morning can anybody tell me whether anyone from outside the British Isles is playing in the Open this year

  • Comment number 22.

    I must admit to not seeing all of the coverage of Mr Woods failings but I have yet to hear any of the commentators criticise his poor behaviour and spotsmanship - throwing clubs, hitting the teeing ground with the driver and general grumpiness is at odds with one of the best aspects of golf - accept the rough and the smooth with a smile and a shrug.Can someone ask Messers Allis and co?

  • Comment number 23.

    the lack of hd coverage is in my opinion a disgrace from the bbc. with such a beautiful location it would have been an asset to the bbc. the fact that there is nothing on the hd channel is angersome. however any coverage is better than none.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why cant we have that bit more information when the player approaches his second shot.
    I would like to see the bbc tell the viewer on the players second shot what club he is using and how far to the hole,this should be given on the information box displayed on the screen.

  • Comment number 25.

    Does anyone else think that the TV commentators on the 2009 Open Golf are diminishing Tom Watson's avhievement of leading the tournament by constantly referring to his age?

    Yes he is 59 years of age, but we don't need to be reminded of the fact every time we see him play a shot.

    Soon they'll be saying he needs a golf kart to get round the course!

    Come on BBC, there's no need to be so ageist.

  • Comment number 26.

    The great coverage we have had in the past I feel is being ruined. What sort of value are the increasing number of shots with the player silhouetted against the sky. Very artistic I am sure but not action sport. This crept in last year.
    also the background noise of the aircraft taking the aerial shots needs shooting down. I've switched to Radio 5.

  • Comment number 27.

    The golf is lovely and everything, but I am astonished to see it as the lead story on the BBC website day after day this week while England are doing so well against Australia at Lords.

    Is the Open really a bigger story? Are we really more excited by a 60-year old American's exploits than those of our own team?

  • Comment number 28.

    About the screen layout and BBC logo: The logo makes the pop-up caption displaying the player's name totally illegible. It cannot be beyond the studio's capability to put the pop-up in a different position.

  • Comment number 29.


    The problem has gone away. That is, surprisingly, the BBC logo has gone away. I appreciate this but suspect that heads may roll.

  • Comment number 30.

    hopefully thats the last we will see of lineker, i am fed up listening to him. stick to salt and vinegar crisp adverts.Also, tom watsons age might not seem so important when you look at who he left behind, so stop mentioning it.

  • Comment number 31.

    The coverage of the open was marred for me by the continuous references to Tom Watson's age. Hardly a Watson shot was allowed to pass without us being told he was 59. On Thursday, when it became clear that he wasn't going to collapse, we were also treated on most holes to the fact he'd recently had a hip replacement as well. The clear insinuation being that he really should not be able to play so well(at his AGE). The round up discussion at the end of day 3 had strong support for the view expressed that Watson would probably be too fragile to play another good round (because of his AGE). When Watson finally hit a poor drive into the deep rough on the 3rd playoff hole, it was because his legs had finally given out. Outrageous. The team should be ashamed, and you Mr Bernie perhaps should have had a word.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just a comment on the BBC's news coverage (or lack of )of the Tour De France. Brad Wiggins moved up to third place overall on Sunday in arguably the toughest sporting event in the world. If he gets a podium spot, he will be the first Brit ever to do so. Did the BBC mention this on it's sport round up on the news, the answer is no. Then this morning the BBC northwest talked about Mark Cavendish missing his chance of winning the green jersey yesterday, well no that was probably Saturday, then the newsreader went on to say that he will be in action again today...sorry BBC, it's a rest day. Your knowledge is as good as your coverage, in short woefull!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Was it just me or were there far more mistakes made this year when it came to informing the viewer of current standings?
    There were numerous times for example where I knew, just from watching, that a player was putting for bogey only to be incorrectly informed that it was for a par.
    Is this not the most important part of commentating, getting the facts right?
    Sam Torrence in particular adds nothing for me personally. In fact with the exception of Peter Alliss, past pro's don't tend to take well to being in front of a microphone or camera at all (just my opinion). All we hear is how they are always best mates with whoever is winning.
    I must add however, that the BBC coverage of golf remains the best I see meaning any criticism I make is harsh. Sandards do appear to be slipping which is why I feel the need to add my 2 pence worth. (coincides with the addition of that football guy fronting the broadcasts)

  • Comment number 34.

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  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

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  • Comment number 37.

    Nice to find this story singing the praises of the BBC's Open coverage; and I agree, I have always found the coverage of this tournament excellent. I agree too, that "The Open Championship is a major British sporting event", as this blog suggests. It's a slightly bizarre shame then, that the BBC has just announced it's "recommendations" on protected listing for sports events coverage, and has felt the Open is not enough of a "major British sporting event" to deserve listing. There is a category for "Pinnacle sports events" which would ensure terrestrial coverage, but the Open apparently isn't THAT important. Nor is any other golfing event, come to that, which means that there could quite feasibly be no live terrestrial coverage of this major sport at all. Most worrying is that it suggests that, contrary to this article, the BBC is quite blase about keeping its live golf; after all, if the event was listed, then it wouldn't be able to attract rival bids and so the BBC could purchase its live coverage at a low price; now, pay-per-view broadcasters can raise the stakes considerably and price the BBC out of the market. But perhaps that's what you want...

  • Comment number 38.

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