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The BBC is facing renewed criticism from golfers after reports that it has turned down offers to broadcast highlights of the PGA Tour – for FREE! 

According to The Telegraph, BBC TV is understood to have rejected the opportunity to show the best bits of the action from the US-based circuit. 

It quotes a source as saying: “The PGA Tour was willing to give away the highlights to the BBC for a potential programme that could have gone out every Monday night, or even just when it chose, such as for The PLAYERS. 

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“It would not have had to pay any rights fees. This offer was made on multiple occasions, including in recent years. But the answer came back that it was not interested because it ‘does not suit the demographic’ the BBC is trying to reach.   

“That is a stunning attitude, even if you simply look at this week and see that Rory McIlroy has a chance to go back to world No 1 and so many other UK players are teeing it up. The BBC would rather get down with the kids and instead put out stuff like the UFC.” 

This latest bombshell comes little over a month after it was reported that the publicly-funded broadcaster plans to end its 56-year association with The Masters as part of cost-cutting measures. 

The corporation’s existing deal with Augusta National Golf Club expired at the end of last year’s tournament and, although it is possible new terms could be agreed in time for April’s 87th staging of the tournament, there is no sign of a deal being agreed.  

The BBC has steadily retreated from its proud golf heritage over the last couple of decades.  

As recently as 2005, the Beeb broadcast 28 days of live golf from The Open, The Masters, and multiple European Tour events. 

One by one, all have migrated to Sky Sports. 

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In the case of The Masters, Sky Sports won the right to broadcast live coverage of all four days of the tournament in 2011, with the BBC retaining the right to show live footage of the final two rounds. 

This was cut to a highlights programme in 2020 when Sky Sports was given the exclusive live broadcasting rights in the UK. 

In 2016, Sky Sports took over exclusive live broadcast rights for The Open. The BBC continues to show highlights per the terms of the UK Listed Events Regime, as enforced by the Broadcasting Act of 1996. It also shows highlights of the AIG Women’s Open and Ryder Cup. 

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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