BBC retreats while British talent advances

Sky deal for Scottish Open and PGA Championship further erodes level of terrestrial TV coverage

Augusta

Tiger's back, Rory is is on the way to superstardom and, for the first time, the United Kingdom goes into a Masters boasting the top three players in the world. But yesterday's announcement that the BBC has lost four days more of its already sparse golf coverage signifies that no one has informed the corporation of the game's health.

In truth, the BBC's golfing portfolio hasn't got much left to dwindle. This year it will show six days of live professional men's golf; just seven years ago it showed 24. BSkyB has secured exclusive rights to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Scottish Open, meaning that the terrestrial channel has lost the weekend action from both these events. So, for the first time since the European Tour was founded in 1972, the BBC will broadcast no live coverage. It will be restricted to showing highlights.

The fear must be that when the Masters contract is renegotiated next year, the BBC will give up live coverage of the third and fourth rounds, having already conceded the first two rounds to BSkyB, which has all four days of the season's first major. That would then leave only The Open Championship. At least that contract has been signed through to 2016.

Last night, the mutterings from inside the BBC were pointing the finger at the European Tour for caving into the demands of BSkyB. Yet despite the digital channel signing up to show a minimum of 28 European Tour events, it is understood the Tour was keen for the BBC to carry on broadcasting at least a few days of live action. As part of the deal with the R&A, the BBC still holds the rights to the Women's British Open and the Walker Cup, yet any claims on its continued obligation to golf will be received with a smirk.

In contrast, BSkyB has sent a huge workforce here to Augusta. The new deal guarantees it the next four Ryder Cups, as well as all four of the World Golf Championships. "Our viewers have seen the growth of the Tour, the rise of the Ryder Cup and European golfers on top of the world rankings," said Barney Francis, the managing director of Sky Sports. "Now they can be promised even more."

George O'Grady, the European Tour's chief executive, emphasised the "commitment". "The Tour has unquestionably benefited from this outstanding commitment over those previous agreements, during which time we have seen so much new talent emerge," he said.

The BBC may come under further flak here this week, with the revelation that Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, has been taken off Test Match Special duty at the second Test in Colombo to conduct post-round Masters interviews behind the 18th green.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own