There were certainly concerns raised at the time about the decision of the R&A to give the contract for live coverage of The Open to Sky Sports over the tradition of the BBC. Whether the argument has been settled or not the level of coverage and style of delivery of The open clearly went up a notch or two at Troon in 2017 and this has been recognised in awards.
SkySports’ innovative coverage of The 145th Open at Royal Troon in July 2016 has earned them a BAFTA after being named best sports production during the awards ceremony in London.
The Sky Sports team won the award for best sports production for their enhanced coverage of the championships, including the thrilling climax when Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson were embroiled in a sensational final-day battle watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The Open was named the winner ahead of BBC's coverage of the Rio Olympics and the Six Nations clash between England and Wales, while the Paralympics on Channel 4 was also nominated.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “This is a tremendous accolade, not only for the team at Sky Sports but for golf in general to have beaten off competition from so many top-class sporting productions. It is also a triumph for the stunning Ayrshire coastline which provided the perfect backdrop for the high-class drama that unfolded on the course.
“I’m especially delighted for our Golf Events Executive Katy Mathieson, who was part of the Sky Sports team producing coverage from Royal Troon before joining EventScotland last year. We have a great relationship with Sky Sports through the world-class portfolio of golf events taking place in Scotland and we look forward to working with them on many more in the coming years.”
However, we all know that regardless of how good the TV coverage may be there's nothing to beat watching the pros in action in real time whether it be in searing sunshine or from under an oversize golf umbrella!
SIGTOA members are already booking ahead for clients for Carnoustie 2018, Portrush in 2019 and of course the return to The Old Course for the 150th anniversary in 2021.