AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07: A Masters flag waves during the first round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
For 75 years now, the Masters has been considered by most observers as the most important and prestigious golf tournament of the year. Like NASCAR's Daytona 500, the Masters really signifies a new season has arrived. And, like auto racing, golf places its "Super Bowl" near the start of the season, rather than at the end of it.
ESPN and CBS are carrying the Masters once again this year from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga, (home of the Masters since its inception in 1934), the fourth year of coverage for the Worldwide Leader, but the 54th for CBS. ESPN carries the early round coverage on Friday, but a noteworthy point this year is that their television coverage will feature 10 hours of programming in 3D on the ESPN 3D network, including two hours from all four rounds of Tournament action, highlighted by Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s telecasts begin at 5:30 p.m. ET, while the weekend telecasts begin at 5 p.m. Last April, the Masters became the first major sporting event produced and broadcast live in 3D internationally on television and the Internet. Terry Gannon will host ESPN 3D’s telecasts with analyst Paul Azinger Thursday and Friday, while Mike Tirico, Azinger and Curtis Strange will have the call Saturday and Sunday.
CBS jumps in with live third-round coverage of the Masters on Saturday, April 9 (3:30-7:00 p.m.). Final-round 18-hole coverage is scheduled for Sunday (2:00-7:00 p.m.). For the 26th consecutive year, Jim Nantz will cover the Masters for CBS (his 24th year as host). He also handles coverage of the Highlight Shows, originating from Butler Cabin on the grounds of Augusta National. Three-time Masters champion Sir Nick Faldo joins Nantz in the 18th hole tower as lead analyst.
Even though most analysts have said he doesn't have a realistic chance of winning, Tiger Woods should once again be a major point of attraction for cameras and spectators. ESPN analyst Curtis Strange was asked about Woods this week and said, "I think that he's in transition right now. Trying to incorporate these new moves into his own body and his swing. But let's be honest, he's going to pop out of this."
He went on to add, "Once he gets more comfortable on the golf course and in his life, I think he's going to pop out of this, and it could happen next week. We just don't know yet. He hasn't been playing very well. He doesn't have my vote as the clear favorite next week. Simply because the proof is in the pudding in the way he's been playing. But he's going to pop out of this. When he does, things will seem like old times."
For those looking to keep up with the Masters via Twitter, Dan Shanoff has a solid list at Quickish that should keep you informed and entertained this weekend: 18 Smart Golf Analysts to Follow on Twitter During the Masters Over the Next Four Days
If you're on DirecTV, you've got their usual all-out coverage when it comes to major events like this one. There is The Masters Mix Channel, offering six views of the tournament at once, an additional channel focused on a featured group, a "Masters In-Depth Channel," featuring interviews and updates along with the action, and player stats easily available on your screen.
At 0-6, the Red Sox are off to their worst start since 1945. We can hope that Thursday afternoon in Cleveland was rock-bottom for this team, but with the Yankees in town, and FOX and ESPN broadcasting the games Saturday and Sunday to a national TV audience, things could get even uglier here in Boston.
98.5 The SportsHub smartly locked up afternoon dive hosts Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti to three-year extensions on Wednesday. The duo has been a huge part of the upstart FM sports radio station's rise to becoming longtime powerhouse WEEI's virtual equal in the ratings. They may not be for everyone, and their constant harping on the negative may ring tired after a stretch, but they've already attracted a devoted following that has been more than enough to make them a success.
Next month, Harvard University will host a baseball scouting, stat, and science seminar for the benefit of the Jimmy Fund This event, set for May 21 and 22, features some top notch speakers, including Red Sox pro scout, Jared Porter, the team stat guru, Tom Tippett, and best selling author, Jonah Keri. All proceeds for the event will benefit the Jimmy Fund, as the participants are donating their time, and Harvard is letting the conference use the facilities gratis. The website with all the details of the seminar and participants can be seen here: http://saberseminar.com/