ESPN: “Correct” Coverage Single Live Tiger Shot

For those of you who think the bizarre treatment incurred by CBS in its dealing with The Masters is unique to the television network, consider the most recent, absurd coverage compromise ESPN was forced to make with Augusta National Golf Club.

Tiger Woods 2010 Masters TV Coverage

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ESPN’s coverage of The Masters first round isn’t scheduled to start until 4pm ET next Thursday, meaning the network will miss the first live shots of Woods in his return to golf. With that in mind, ESPN had to undertake the unenviable task of going hat in hand to Augusta National to push for a live coverage allowance of Woods’ early holes.

What ESPN ended up “agreeing” to was just another in a long line of embarrassingly insular broadcast decisions by The Masters.

Richard Sandomir of the NEW YORK TIMES reports ESPN will now be allowed to cover the first tee shot of Woods live, but nothing else from the golfer until the network’s normal coverage window kicks in. But by then, there’s a good chance Woods will be in the clubhouse.

Augusta National Steve Ethun said, “We discussed this with them and agreed that this coverage provides the correct quality and the quantity.”

So ESPN “agreed” the “correct” amount of coverage was to only allow for live coverage of Tiger first tee shot?

An embarrassing but necessary concession for ESPN.

As I recently wrote, you may be able to watch some shots of Woods live during his first round on Masters.com, but there’s no guarantee that Augusta National will stream Woods & Co. as part of its “featured group” coverage.

Though it might be a moot point, as you can almost guarantee that as soon as the public realizes that Masters.com is the only possibility for live coverage of the Woods first round, the site will go down because of insufficient server capacity.

On the bright side, maybe Joslyn James will post some more photos while we wait for the page to load.