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Comcast SportsNet Steps Up Coverage

By Matt Hombach

Area golfers will have access to more golf coverage this summer via Comcast SportsNet’s new half-hour golf show, "Tee Time," presented by GEICO. The show will run for 12 weeks throughout the summer at 9:30 p.m. on Mondays.

Longtime SportsNet anchor Chick Hernandez was a natural choice to host the show, which will be filmed on location at top public and private courses throughout the mid-Atlantic.

“Golf really is my passion, so hosting a golf show was right up my alley,” Hernandez said.

“Tee Time” will showcase local courses and players as well as coverage of the PGA Tour and LPGA with detailed analysis from top names in golf media like John Feinstein and on-air talent from the Golf Channel.

The show’s premiere for 2008 was shot in early June on location in Las Vegas at Tiger Woods’ annual fundraising event, Tiger Jam. Hernandez had the rare opportunity to sit down with the event host for an interview that was featured throughout the opening show.

While Hernandez has had the opportunity to go one-on-one with Woods behind the microphone on two previous occasions as well, he’s still waiting for his chance to tee it up with the world’s top ranked player.

“After I interviewed Tiger out in Vegas, we were joking around, and I asked him to tee it up with me the next day,” he said. “I knew he was still recovering from his knee surgery, but maybe some day I’ll get the chance to play with him.”

Hernandez may have to wait on a tee time with Tiger, but he has already lived the dream of many golfers -- playing a round on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.
“Earlier in my career, I worked for the CBS affiliate in Augusta, and as a member of the local media, I got the chance to play there three times,” he said.

His best score at Augusta was an 83. His worst was a 104.

“I shot the 104 after taking lessons for two months,” Hernandez said. “I knew that was a bad idea going in, but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to play at Augusta.”

ALL TIGER, ALL THE TIME


It seems only fitting that the first show would feature Woods. SportsNet initially launched “Tee Time” during the inaugural AT&T National outside Washington, D.C.

“Comcast SportsNet launched ‘Tee Time’ last year when we broadcast live from Congressional Country Club during the AT&T National Tournament,” said Rebecca Schulte, senior vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

“This year we are expanding the brand and giving sports fans the best golf coverage all summer long. Comcast SportsNet is not only bringing back the live ‘Tee Time’ show during AT&T National, but the network will feature top local golfers and courses, along with nationally renowned analysts and the nation’s top players during the heart of the PGA season.”

As part of the program, "Tee Time" will again broadcast live from Congressional during the AT&T National.

“Tee Time at the AT&T National” debuts June 30 at 7 p.m. and will air live each night throughout the week. Hernandez will team again this year with University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams to host the show with interviews and analysis immediately following each day’s round.

“Working with Gary as my co-host is a really neat experience,” Hernandez said. “He’s very knowledgeable about the game, and it’s funny to see the professional golfers from the PGA Tour react to meeting Gary Williams.”

It seems that many pros are as excited to meet Williams as he is to meet them.

“In 2007, we were able to get an interview with Phil Mickelson because he really wanted to meet Gary,” Hernandez said. “His agent told us he didn’t have time, but once he heard Gary was the co-host of the show, he made time to stop over.”

GET INSIDE THE ROPES

In addition to stepping up programming around Woods’ D.C. event, SportsNet recently announced an innovative partnership with Caddy For A Cure, a non-profit organization that allows fans to go inside the ropes and caddie for the world’s best players at PGA Tour venues.

Comcast SportsNet will host an online auction on its Web site, www.comcastsportsnet.tv, running until June 27, leading up to the AT&T National Tournament at Congressional Country Club.

Comcast SportsNet, a media partner of the AT&T National, will host the online auction, powered by Ironclad Auctions, where golf fans can bid for the opportunity to caddie for tour pros -- 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson, 15-time tour winner Fred Couples, Jerry Kelly and 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup team member Brett Wetterich. Caddie dates will be July 1 or July 2.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit charities including the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, the PGA Tour Caddie Benevolent Fund, the Tiger Woods Foundation and a charity of the PGA Tour player’s choice.

Each Caddy for a Cure winner will also be escorted by a soldier who is part of the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises awareness about the needs of severely injured servicemen and women.

Issue 3.25: June 19, 2008