ESPN has been broadcasting the U.S. Open for 33 consecutive years, with the first one being the 1982 Open at Pebble Beach. Tom Watson defeated Jack Nicklaus by two strokes in ’82. The sport of golf has changed a tremendous amount over the last 33 years, and so has ESPN.
I know I appreciated the early morning TV coverage of this year’s U.S. Open, and it has been great to listen to the analysis and color commentary from some of the best in the business. The new TV deal with Fox Sports will begin next year, which means ESPN’s streak of 33 years has ended. Chris Berman, one of the original ESPN anchors, signed off with this statement, courtesy of ESPN:
ESPN began broadcasting the U.S. Open back in 1982, first with ABC and then of course starting in ‘95 with NBC. Some of us have covered this event since 1986. Now here we are in 2014, 33 years after it all began, and the proverbial final putt is about to drop. Our live coverage is about to end. And speaking for the hundreds of ladies and gentlemen through the years who worked so hard for three decades, I’ll admit that we’re sad. We’re sad because we love the event and we’re sad because we love bringing it to you. But above all, we are very proud. Collectively, we’re here from before sunup until the time the sun goes down and way beyond but that’s ok – we’ve just been trying to get it right. If somewhere along the line we helped you enjoy the U.S. Open a little bit more, helped you have some fun, made you bigger U.S. Open fans, then all that work was worth it. Frankly, it’s been one of the best rides in the history of this network. Thanks for sharing it all with us.
Thank you Chris, and thank you ESPN.