• Stirk: "Sky have shown total commitment to covering golf."
• Lawrenson: "This is a dark day for golf."
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP | BBC | SKY SPORTS
The decision made by the R&A to hand the Open Championship coverage to Sky Sports has divided opinion among professionals, broadcasters and fans alike.
Beginning in 2017 on an initial five-year deal, Sky Sports will exclusively show live action from all four days of the Open Championship, while the BBC will show extensive highlights at a prime-time slot each night.
The move was announced in an open letter from outgoing R&A chairman Peter Dawson yesterday and will bring more than 60 years of free-to-air coverage to an end at Royal Troon next year.
Unsurprisingly, the switch has been met with strong views from both sides with some examples below of how the golfing world reacted to the news.
Tony Jacklin, the Open Championship winner in 1969, told Reuters: “Let’s face it the people who play golf and love golf are going to have Sky so from a financial point of view, if the R&A is going to be able to do more for the grassroots of golf with the extra money they are getting, it’s a good arrangement.”
Sarah Stirk, presenter of golf on Sky Sports, tweeted:
Over on the bunkered Facebook page, Richard Duncan wrote: “I appreciate that moving the coverage from BBC to Sky will affect everyone’s enjoyment but I think the coverage of golf on Sky is fantastic so look forward to seeing the coverage updated with the most up to date technology.”
Peter Alliss, who has worked for the BBC on the Open Championship since 1961, told BBC Radio 5: “I don’t think there will be a golfer that won’t be bitterly disappointed at the news today. I know do lots and lots of lovely things but when it comes to the nitty-gritty they have dipped their hands into the money and that’s it.”
Derek Lawrenson, golf writer for the Daily Mail, wrote: “Make no mistake, this is a dark day for golf. Mark down the Open in July 2016 as the last one before golf stops being one of the major sports in this country and begins a long and agonizing retreat to the margins.”
Back on Facebook, Brian Alexander Mitchell wrote:
The Open Championship to Sky :: Your thoughts
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