Some interesting details have emerged about Paul Azinger’s NBC split and it doesn’t sound encouraging for the future TV coverage of the sport.
Azinger was in the middle of contract negotiations with NBC when the network abruptly opted to part ways with the analyst, SI.com reported.
The move comes as NBC and Golf Channel, which are both owned by Comcast, have made significant cutbacks in their coverage.
Still, the decision surprised the 63-year-old Azinger as he had already set up a schedule for the 2024 season — starting with next week’s Hero World Challenge — with the network.
NBC had offered Azinger a one-year contract that was less than his original contract, according to SI.
When Azinger’s agent, Rich Braund, made a counter offer, NBC decided to go in a different direction.
“With the golf and media landscapes now in a more challenging environment, Azinger and NBC will part ways as their current contract ends,” Braund said in a statement to SI.
NBC recently let go of on-course analysts Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie last year and opted not to send a production crew to the Ryder Cup in Italy in September.
“Everything they’ve done is to make the telecast less expensive,” a source familiar with NBC’s operations told the magazine.
“They’re not out to make it better for the viewer. There are more commercials, they’re cutting speed cameras, cutting drones, they don’t have a blimp or an airplane for overhead shots.”
Former PGA Tour pro Curt Byrum will take Azinger’s spot for the Hero World Challenge, which will feature the return of Tiger Woods.
Woods will be playing in his first event since The Masters as he required ankle surgery after the major in April.
Azinger had been NBC’s lead analyst since 2018 when he replaced the legendary Johnny Miller.
“I have treasured working beside Dan Hicks and the other talented NBC broadcasters as well as lead producer Tommy Roy and all those behind the scenes,” Azinger, whose final event was the Ryder Cup, said in a statement.
“They are a remarkable team, and I will miss them tremendously. My thanks to them and the countless others who have supported me and helped me along the way during my work in television. I have faith in what the future holds for me, for NBC, and for the great game of golf.”