Golf Channel to Open 2012 PGA Season in Primetime Live Friday Night

James WilliamsAnalyst IIIJanuary 4, 2012

Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo will work together this weekend
Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo will work together this weekend

The Tournament of Champions live on the Golf Channel—Jan 6th, 5:30 p.m. ET.

In 2011, the Golf Channel had record ratings, launched new programs, showed more live tournaments and, most importantly, was added into the NBC Sports Group. This move gave the network the tools needed to take programming to the next level.

I spoke with Golf Channel president Mike McCarley from his office in Orlando about what changes were made and what to expect from the network in 2012.

How important was it to be added to the NBC Sports Group?

McCarley: "It allowed us to take our brand to another level. Suddenly it was 'The Golf Channel on NBC,' and that gave us access to viewers who may have never seen the channel before. So when you get that kind of promotion and introduction to mass audiences, the goal is keep them interested and to make sure they want to come back often."

So how did the larger audience affect your programming?

McCarley: "We began to create programming that was aimed at a broader audience. We launched our own Monday through Friday anchor program 'Morning Drive.' The show is aimed at giving golf fans a daily interactive show of their own. We launched a wildly popular program with David Feherty, one of sport's most entertaining personalities, and we beefed up 'Golf Central' to make it the network's premier program."

What can we look for in 2012?

McCarley: "Well, we will start with primetime golf the first week of January as the PGA tour kicks off with Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. We will be live starting Friday night January 6 and finish the tournament Monday night [Jan. 9] so fans will not have to miss any of the NFL action. We will also use both Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo as co-lead analysts on the broadcast. The entire Hawaiian swing will air in primetime. Our goal in 2012 is continue to enhance the live coverage with expanded editions of 'Golf Central' and 'Morning Drive.' Live tournaments are what makes us the Golf Channel, so we will have more coverage of all the tours than any other network."