Turner believes the feud between DeShambeau and PGA Koepka will seduce viewers

Bryson DeShambeau poses for photos during Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Change – Previews at The Reserve in Moonlight Basin on July 5, 2021 in Big Sky, Montana.

Dylan Buell | Getty Images

After a day of families trying to stay out of politics and avoid fights, Turner Sports is counting on conflict and drama to lure audiences into its Black Friday golf presentation.

Turner Network TNT Airs Episode 5 Match 5 On November 26, there will be a face-to-face meeting between PGA Tour golfers Bryson DeChambaut, 28, and Brooks Koepka, 31, who have become hot contenders over the past couple of years. The event starts at 4:00 pm ET.

The golf game made for television began in 2018 when Tiger Woods fought Phil Mickelson. Two PGA badges helped WarnerMedia AT&T’s Turner Sports bring attention to the most watched golf game in cable television history last year in the midst of a pandemic and a long hiatus in sports coverage. This year there will be a lot of fans both at home and on the track.

In a 30-second TNT commercial, each golfer taunts the match, with Queen’s “You are my best friend” playing in the background. In one of the videos, DeShambeau is practicing a swing, and Koepka’s head becomes a ball. After the shot, DeShambeau says, “I’m coming after you, Brooks.”

At the end of the commercial, DeShambeau says, “Friendsgiving will be a little different this year.”

“They know what’s going on and there is competition here,” he said. Craig Barry, Executive vice president and chief content manager of Turner Sports, confessing to laughing while watching the video. “I think they leaned towards the idea of ​​having some fun with it.”

The event resembles a boxing championship. It is located in Las Vegas at the Wynn Golf Club, which usually costs $ 550 per person and offers a 12-hole match instead of the usual 18 holes. The golfer who wins the most holes wins the show.

Tiger Woods of the United States hits the 16th green during the final round of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club on August 12, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Streeter Leka | PGA of America | PGA of America | Getty Images

In the PGA Tour, excluding international competitions, DeShambo and Koepka have eight career victories. Koepka is the leader in terms of total revenue by USD 36.7 million USA To approximately $ 26 million for DeShambo.

Their enmity began in 2019 with a controversy over the pace of the game and Köpka’s criticism of golfers like DeShambo spending too much time between shots. Things escalated at the PGA Championship in May, during a Koepka interview that went viral on Twitter.

As the camera rotated, DeShambaut approached Koepka and seemed to say something to himself. Koepka got distracted and arranged a dramatic eyes on the camera, attracts the attention of the sports world.

Barry expects the tension to create a competitive play that audiences can experience the day after Thanksgiving.

“What is lost is who is better at golf,” he said. “I think these two going face to face are an interesting story in themselves.”

In a separate promo for the match, Turner filmed DeShambeau hitting the ball from the rooftop of the Wynn Las Vegas hotel on a golf course, where Koepka’s face was painted as a target.

“I just nailed Brooks’s big head,” DeChambaut said after the shot. over 500 yards away. It took him several tries to hit the target. “It’s time to beat his ass in a real match,” DeShambaut said.

Turner Sports has found the right formula for this format.

In May 2020, Woods and Mickelson paired up with National Football League favorites Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in Match 2. It secured the highest golf ratings in cable television history with 5.8 million viewers and raised $ 20 million to fight Covid-19.

Tiger Woods and former NFL player Peyton Manning celebrate victory over Phil Mickelson and NFL player Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 18th Green Field during the Champions For Charity match at Medalist Golf Club on May 24, 2020 in Hob Sound, State. Florida.

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

Barry said the figure is approaching $ 40 million as Turner Sports aired two more golfing issues that helped raise money for colleges and universities that were historically black last November.

This week’s match will again include charitable call holes, including the 9th and 11th holes. Each hole costs up to $ 2 million.

Golf Experiment Monday Night

The golf match has been around for decades.

V historical skins game ran from 1983 to 2008, giving golfers the chance to see a high-profile event in November or December following the end of the PGA Tour season.

Woods then tried his hand at golf made for television, teaming up with ABC to launch the annual match in 1999. ABC called Monday Night Golf an attempt to mimic the National Football League’s Monday Night Football, a perennial rank-breaker.

The first event in 1999 was Showdown at Sherwood, when the 23-year-old Woods met David Duvall. Forest won the match and was awarded $ 1.1. million. The Battle of Bighorn in 2000 united Woods with longtime rival Sergio Garcia and was arguably the most memorable game of golf on Monday night. Garcia defeated Woods by taking home $ 1.1 million in the prize money.

Tiger Woods (left) and Sergio Garcia give a press interview on August 28, 2000, at the Battle of the Bighorn at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California.

Chris Weeks | Getty Images

“Battle of Bighorn” then scored 7.6 viewership ratings. Outside about 105 million households with televisions in 2000, more than 7 million tuned in to watch the match.

But Monday night golf started to fall in viewership as the novelty wore off.

The second Battle of Bighorn in 2001, which involved Woods, Duvall, Annika Sorenstam and Carrie Webb, was over. 19.7% of the viewer audience. Over the next two years, the rating dropped to 5.1 and 4.6, respectively.

The event was canceled in 2005, just as Monday Night Football moved to ABC’s subsidiary ESPN, which took over from $ 1.1 billion a year agreement.

“They made him feel special,” Barry said, referring to his early days at Monday Night Golf. “The hardest part of building a franchise is constantly giving people a reason to watch.”

According to him, “The Battle of Bighorn” was not as special as the first couple of times. “I think we focused on creating a storytelling that felt like every match was special in itself.”

Brooks Koepka lands a 14th tee in the second round of the Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

What is the value of the match?

Team USA’s Bryson DeShambeau and Team USA’s Brooks Köpka attend the 43rd Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Whistling Straits on September 23, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Andrew Readington | Getty Images

The event will be broadcast on WarnerMedia TBS, HLN and TruTV, as well as TNT, with some elements broadcast on Bleacher Report. As in previous matches, the network will use cameras on golf carts and microphones on DeShambo, Koepka and their caddies.

“This makes it more attractive to people,” he said. Pete Kowalski, former Public Relations Officer at the United States Golf Association. “They want to hear what the player says when he thinks about the shot. They want to see little things. “

Barry said Turner would compare the value of the entertainment to recent events where golfers paired and chatted with each other.

“This will open up a whole new door to allow fans to participate in these conversations,” Barry said. “This will be an interesting example for us.”

Viewers will get extra booth entertainment when NBA legend Charles Barkley joins Mickelson. Both are well-known instigators.

“These two guys have an interesting track record of comments and a history of antipathy – some may be fictional, some may be real,” Pilson said. “But I think the audience will be curious what these guys have to say to each other.”

A self-proclaimed golf purist, Kowalski admitted that he has never been a fan of golf matches created for television. He said the intrigue around this particular competition may have dwindled, in part because DeShambo and Köpka were teammates. at the Ryder Cup last September and publicly downplayed any tensions.

“I’m not sure the feud was as much feud as it was portrayed,” Kowalski said.

In addition to playing, Deschambeau and Köpka benefit from being introduced to the sport. The PGA Tour has a new Player Impact Program – an incentive plan that distributes $ 40 million to famous golfers to help promote the brand and attract viewers to events.

Barry said Friday’s match will give Turner a good idea of ​​the significance of this type of event in the future.

“It will teach us if this format is interesting for the fans,” added Barry. “And if an amateur is interested, it becomes more interesting for us.”

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