MAMARONECK, N.Y. – It was a fitting backdrop for the unexpected news.
When the USGA moved the U.S. Open from June to September, it essentially left Fox Sports with a buried lie. There simply weren’t enough broadcast hours in the day to weave golf into a schedule heavy with NFL and MLB obligations.
The ensuing chatter behind the scenes was kept to a whisper.
Dan Hicks spent a portion of the COVID-19 shutdown at Winged Foot Golf Club where he’s been a member since 2010. The 58-year-old Greenwich, Connecticut, resident, who’s been anchoring NBC’s golf coverage for 20 years, just happened to be there playing alongside NBC Sports Group president and fellow member Pete Bevacqua in late June as negotiations to reacquire the USGA media rights neared a conclusion.
A critically acclaimed jaw dropped when news of the forthcoming rights transfer was quietly passed along.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Hicks said. “I knew there were some conversations at the outset about doing a one-off because Fox had some programming issues when the championship moved to September. And then I was actually here at Winged Foot when I found out it was the whole package. Chills went up and down my spine when he told me that we were on the goal line of getting it back.”
The commute to Winged Foot is about 20 minutes.
Hicks will be calling a home game when the 120th U.S. Open gets under way on home turf Sept. 17.
“I feel terrible, I really do, for a lot of the Fox Sports people I know, including producer Mark Loomis, who’s a lifetime family member here, so there is that side of it,” he added. “But to do a U.S. Open here at Winged Foot which I know intimately is pretty special.”
Bevacqua, a Westchester native, will be coming down I-95 from New Canaan, Connecticut.
The ride to work will be even shorter for NBC essayist, interviewer and feature reporter Jimmy Roberts. He’s been down this road before. Roberts was here for the 1997 PGA Championship with ESPN, the 1984 U.S. Open with ABC and the 2006 U.S. Open with NBC.
“It’s not entirely new for me, but it’s unique and it’s exciting,” said the 63-year-old White Plains native who’s a longtime resident of Rye. “I’ve literally traveled millions of miles in my adult life. I’m going to be going eight miles from my house to Winged Foot to punch the clock.
“I’m OK with that.”
White Plains native Jimmy Roberts will be covering his fourth major championship at Winged Foot Golf Club next month. He’s been covering golf for ABC, ESPN, NBC and the Golf Channel for 40 years.
Roberts knows the history and tradition of the game in the northern suburbs. He ranks among the most enthusiastic advocates of golf in the Met section.
“My first job was working for the Gannett newspapers,” he said. “The first article I had with a byline was a feature on Chi Chi
By: Mike Dougherty
Title: Dan Hicks will be right at home calling the U.S. Open at Winged Foot
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/08/28/dan-hicks-u-s-open-winged-foot/
Published Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 13:28:09 +0000