Far Hills, N.J. (December 11, 2007) – Golf Digest and NBC Sports, through the support of the United States Golf Association (USGA), have teamed up to create a unique opportunity for four individuals to play the 2008 U.S. Open venue six days prior to the start of the championship.
On June 6 at Torrey Pines’ South Course in San Diego, Calif., three well-known celebrities and one at-large golfer will get a chance to see what kind of score they can post on a course set up for the greatest players in the world. The event will be packaged and edited into a one-hour broadcast on June 15 as a lead-in to NBC’s final-round telecast of the U.S. Open.
“We’re excited to partner with Golf Digest and the USGA on this unique and compelling contest,” said Jon Miller, the executive vice president for NBC Sports, which has been the USGA’s network broadcast partner since 1995. “It’s a great way to involve players and fans in the premier event in golf.”
The genesis of this reality show came from the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, where Tiger Woods mentioned in a post-second-round interview that a 10-handicapper could not break 100 the way the course was presently set up.
Torrey Pines will be set up exactly the way it would for an official U.S. Open round. A walking USGA Rules official will accompany the group to ensure the game is played fairly and equitably, and no mulligans will be permitted. Players will use the championship tees and will face the same challenging rough and green speeds.
“We are genuinely excited about this contest as we believe that it will serve as a great celebration of golf and the U.S. Open Championship,” said Pete Bevacqua, the USGA’s chief business officer. “Along the way, we also hope to educate people on the value of a USGA Handicap Index and the benefit of having a true understanding of the Rules of Golf.”
The three celebrity participants will be selected sometime in early 2008. NBC and Golf Digest clearly want three recognizable names to enhance viewership in the challenge. The at-large golfer will be picked through a special contest run by Golf Digest. Golfers of all handicaps are eligible to participate in this contest.
“Every amateur has dreamed about what it would be like to play in U.S. Open conditions on national TV and thanks to the USGA and NBC we’re going to make that dream come true for someone,” said Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest's chairman and editor.
Details about the contest have already appeared in the January issue of Golf Digest as well as the Dec. 9 edition of The New York Times. Please be sure to check usga.org regularly to find out how you can enter.