Billy on the Box: Sky in the box seat, but BBC still get a chance to impress
It's not just Tiger Woods who is struggling to re-establish himself as the king of the fairways.
As the cream of the world’s golfing talent converges upon the Augusta National for the Masters, there is a changing of the guard behind the scenes that looks as likely to change back as everyone’s favourite errant golfer being named Husband of the Year.
For the first time, Sky Sports will take centre stage in Georgia, with the BBC’s 24-year reign as live broadcaster of television’s most sought-after golf event coming to an end last year.
Opinion is divided. There has been much gnashing of teeth that yet another crown jewel has been ripped off Auntie Beeb’s head, lots of ‘Disgruntled from Basingstoke’ letters in the Daily Express and worries that the world order may collapse in itself because we’re denied four days of live coverage of Hazel Irvine’s anorak collection.
Most though who aren’t living with their head hidden in a bunker know that Sky, far from being the big, bad, bully, has revolutionised how sport has been covered.
It is not all over though for the Beeb, they will get a chance to flex their muscles against the new order when they go head to head in the last two days.
It promises to be an intriguing battle and could put the action around Amen Corner into the shade.
The usual suspects line up in the Beeb’s corner, the chortling curmudgeonly charm of the legend that is Peter Alliss, ably supported by Ken Brown and Wayne Grady, but without notable absentee, Sam Torrance.
Torrance was axed as they couldn’t justify his appearance because live coverage was cut from four to two days.
Bizarrely though they can justify putting Chris Evans at the head of Radio 5 Live’s coverage. It’s a funny old game.
Sky, as you would expect, are throwing everything at it.
More live coverage, earlier starts, HD, 3D, live par three tournament action, Butch Harmon coming round to tuck you in at night and Colin Montgomerie. Well, you can’t have everything.
Glory is the main aim for the competitors but while the Beeb will try to claim victory on the final two days with their viewing figures boosted by the interested onlooker, the true golf fan will stick with Sky and award them the green jacket, while the Beeb will have to rely on a Hazel cast-off.
TV Schedule: Thursday, April 7: Sky- Day One Live 3.45pm-12.30am; Red Button 7.00pm-12.30am. BBC- Live coverage on Radio 5 live from 9.00-10.30pm, then 5 live sports extra from 10.30pm-12.30am.
Friday, April 8: Sky- Day One highlights (9.00am and 12 noon); Day Two live 3.45pm-12.30am; Red Button 7.00pm-12.30am. BBC- 7.00-8.00pm Highlights from day one, BBC2 and BBC HD; Live coverage on Radio 5 live from 9.00pm-1.00am.
Saturday, April 9: SKY- Day Two highlights (9.00am and 1.00pm); Day Three live 5.30pm-12.30am; Red Button 7.30pm-12.30am. BBC- 11.30am-12.30 pm - Highlights from day two, BBC2. Day Three live
6.45-10.00 Live red button coverage of Amen Corner and then hole 16; 8.30pm-midnight, Live coverage of day three, BBC2 and BBC HD; Live coverage on Radio 5 live from 9.00pm-01.00am.
Sunday, April 10: SKY- Day Three highlights (9.00am and 1.00pm). Day Four Live - 5.30pm-12.30am; Red Button 6.30pm-12.30am. BBC- 6.15-11.00pm approx - Live coverage of Amen Corner and then hole 16, Red Button; 7.00pm-midnight, Live coverage of day four, BBC2 and BBC HD; Radio 5 live from 9.00pm-01.00am.