Golf Channel scores with Ryder Cup digital broadcasts

Given the time differences between Scotland and the United States, making all the Ryder Cup coverage available live online or via a mobile app seemed like a smart move for the Golf Channel and its parent NBC. Now that the stats are in the numbers back up the move, with Golf Channel claiming record unique visitors and video starts for both its online and mobile-app platforms.

In a press release NBC Sports said Golf Channel Digital had “its best week ever across all digital metrics” during the Sept. 22-28 Ryder Cup week. According to NBC, for the week attracted 2.16 million unique visitors, a 325 percent increase from the Ryder Cup week in 2010 and a 75 percent increase from 2012, with 16.2 million page views. The website also recorded 1.3 million video starts, respective increases of 438 percent and 173 percent over 2010 and 2012.

On the mobile side the Golf Channel mobile app racked up more than 10.4 million page views, which according to NBC was a gain of 93 percent over usage from 2012. The mobile platform this year also had more than 267,000 video starts, which NBC said was up 81 percent over 2012.

Let’s hope the PGA takes the numbers to heart and increases mobile/digital coverage of all Tour events, especially during Thursday-Friday competition days when many golf fans are more likely to be in front of a PC than a TV. Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup numbers are just a sign that we’ll watch online or on mobile devices. Tee it up, PGA!

Watching golf this week: Ryder Cup online at Golf Channel, NBC

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.34.55 AMAre you ready for late-night or early morning golf online? That’s what fans in the U.S. will be watching in potentially large numbers this weekend as the Ryder Cup takes place in Gleneagles, Scotland. With live coverage starting Friday at 2:30 a.m. Eastern time (that’s 11:30 p.m. Thursday for us west coaster types) it’s a good bet many golf fans will be tuning in online, using headsets so they don’t wake up the rest of the house with the TV.

All the action will be streamed live by Golf Channel and NBC, through their Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra services. Depending on the day and time you may need to bounce between the two outlets, a small hassle but an OK price to pay to get to see the intriguing competition live. You will need to have an authorized cable account to view the live feed, though it looks like they are giving fans a 30-minute grace period of free viewing before you have to log in with your cable account. You will also be able to see the live action via the Golf Channel/NBC apps for iOS and Android devices.

Especially interesting to us is the addition of something Golf Channel is calling its Alternate Shot coverage, which is basically a different set of analysts and announcers led by the entertaining David Feherty. Feherty, a former player who is often the most engaging voice on any broadcast these days, has a unique style and fun sense of humor, which fans of his excellent interview show Feherty know well. Like past experiments with college football that offer announcer choices, we are glad to see the trend spreading to other sports, and expect Feherty — who played in the 1991 Ryder Cup and is extremely passionate about the event — to do a bang-up job.

Of course, the competition will also be shown on TV, and if you want a good place to find a lot of information easily the Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup hub is a fine place to start.

Watching Golf this Week: The Ryder Cup

It’s really too bad that the Ryder Cup, the biennial golf competition between the U.S. and Europe, takes place in the fall — because that means a lot of fun and interesting golf is going to get lost in the tornado of football this weekend. Fortunately, thanks to the PGA and Turner Sports there’s a boatload of Ryder action taking place online, so get your browsers fired up for Friday morning foursomes. And then some fourballs. What?

Oh yeah, the Ryder Cup’s first two days have something we never see during the regular tour year — team competitions! If you need a how-is-it-scored primer, the BBC has a great one explaining the scoring — but basically foursomes are alternate-shot competitions (meaning each of the two players trades shots) while fourballs are more familiar team play, with everyone playing their own ball and the team with the player with the lowest score wins the hole. Each hole is worth a point, and the team with the higher score at the end wins an overall match point. If the match is tied each team gets a half-point. Singles on Sunday need no explanation. Mano a mano, also match play so it only matters how many holes you win, not your total score.

And after the inflated importance of the FedEx Cup — yes there was some good golf by the big names and congrats to Brandt Snedeker for bagging the big check — there is nothing truer than playing for your country or your continent, no prize money on the line just pressure and pride. This year the Cup is being contested in my home town, Chicago, at the monster known as Medinah. I remember playing there once, just out of high school, thought I had some game, and put something like a 120 on the scorecard. The pros, of course, will be shooting pars and birdies but the scores matter less than the head to head, between the great Euro players led by Rory McIlroy and the U.S. team, led by Tiger Woods.

With live coverage online, on TV and on an app, you have no excuse for not watching some great golf, even if you are also watching football. The great thing about Ryder coverage is that it’s also unlike tournament coverage — there is usually always some tension going on, and the TV folks are usually in a Red Zone-type mode, switching to where the pressure is most high. A great way to end the real golf season. Just wish we didn’t have to be distracted by the return of real refs and all that.

REMEMBER: ESPN for TV Friday, NBC on Saturday and Sunday.


(all times Eastern)

Friday, Sept, 28 — ESPN, 8 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 29 — NBC, 9 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30 — NBC, 12 p.m. — 6 p.m.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite)
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The live broadcasts are also available to subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at

Ryder Cup Live will be online basically the whole tourney, starting at 8:20 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. on Sunday, and going until competition is over each day. The live video is free (no cable contract required), and mobile viewers can download the iPhone app, the iPad app, or go to the Ryder Cup Mobile Site if you have an Android device.

ESPN3 is also carrying the ESPN broadcast live on Friday.

The PGA Facebook page is the Facebook home of the Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup has something called the 13th Man page, similar to the Social Caddy we saw at the PGA. Lots of Twitter streams, a USA vs. Europe Twitter competition, an Instagram feed… worth a bookmark.


Geoff Shackelford — well known golf writer. If you’re not following Geoff you are missing the online boat.
Golf Channel — official Golf Channel feed
@PGATOUR — official PGA Twitter feed
@StephanieWei — great golf writer who is a Twitter fiend.
Doug Ferguson is the lead golf writer for AP. Good Twitter insights that often aren’t part of your wire-service lead.

Here’s the deets on Medinah Country Club course.

Europe is the defending champ, if you remember. I remember bad raincoats.

Ryder Cup Gets Big Online Push — Live Video and Social Media Too

Following on their successful joint effort at the season’s last major, the PGA and Turner Sports will kick out the online jams for this week’s Ryder Cup matches, with a lot of free online live video and some social-media bells and whistles that include a U.S. vs. Europe Twitter contest.

According to a press release from Turner and the PGA, the website will be the host of a wide array of event coverage that will supplement the TV coverage, which is also extensive — 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Eastern) on ESPN on Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on NBC Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on NBC Sunday. Online coverage will start Friday and Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and continue until play concludes. Sunday, online coverage of the singles matches starts at noon. The matches are taking place at Medinah Country Club just outside Chicago.

The live video online will probably be similar to the experience we saw at the PGA Championship, with live updates, video archives and scores. There was both good and bad, with a great feature that let you go back and replay anything that had happened previously, and a terrible feature called “predict it” that keeps annoying you in a popup window asking you to predict what’s about to happen. Though sports prediction games are increasingly appearing, I have yet to be convinced that predicting shots in golf online is what the experience is all about.

There is one big whiff, however, on the Ryder Cup mobile side — the accompanying mobile-device apps for all this online goodness only work on iPhones and iPads, leaving half of the mobile consumers who use Android platforms high and dry. Though Turner reps claim the mobile website will work just as well as the iPhone app, any mobile user knows that a dedicated app almost always delivers better performance.

On the social-media side, will offer a “Tweet Battle” between Team U.S.A. and Team Europe, with a “Social Scoreboard” showing which team is winning, both online and at the course. The score will be tallied by counting the number of fans using the respective hashtags — #RyderCupUSA or #RyderCupEurope — in their social media posts. The event is also on Facebook and on Twitter, with something called “The 13th man” replacing the “Social Caddy” feature from the PGA, where you could follow a bunch of Twitter streams.

The PGA earned itself no small amount of social media self respect by not censoring messages from the PGA, especially when its parking situation at Kiawah Island resulted in a lot of angry fans and media for long delays getting out to the course. Right now it appears the site is taking a very USA-USA-USA stance, which is perhaps understandable, but probably not so appealing to European fans. Not sure if other golf fans agree but I for one would rather we see a return to the days when this competition was more collegiate and friendly, and less jingoistic. You can still compete hard without having to make it a sports equivalent of war. But I may be on the short side of that argument.