2010 British Open free to air television coverage – an entire hour right after the midnight Skippy repeat

ONCE again all those searching for live television free to air coverage of the 2010 British Open golf won’t find much joy.

Channel Nine supposedly has the rights sewn up to golf’s oldest and most loved major golf tournament but at this stage they seem to have more commitment to screening old episodes of Skippy.

Fox Sports will screen the championship, which at this stage features a dozen Aussie players, live beginning at 6pm on Thursday.

According to the Foxtel program the pay tv coverage of the first round goes through to 5 am.

I admit to being a little mathematically challenged but I reckon that’s about 11 hours of live coverage first up.

Channel 9 on the other hand, according to their latest program gude, will begin their coverage of the British Open with a one hour highlights package at 12 am on Saturday.

That’s at least better than what the Channel Nine Publicity Department in Sydney directly informed me last Friday.

It took them a day to provide the information that it seemed – the 150th anniversary of the British Open being held at the hallowed St Andrews was obviously very low on their radar – that their coverage began with a one high highlights show at 2 am on Sunday morning (It turns out Skippy is on at 1.30 am).

A spokesperson said under their contract they could only screen four, one hour highlights packages.

The thing is, the British Open is one of four golf events supposedly “protected” under the current Australian television anti-siphoning laws.

The other three are the Australian Open, the Australian Masters and the US Masters.

You’ll note the big difference between those three tournaments and the British Open – they get quite extensive television coverage, with the Ten Network and ONE HD providing quite decent coverage of the US Masters.

Channel Nine telecasts the Australian Masters and in this instance even they manage to squeeze in some golf around the Channel Nine talking heads.

From memory, last year Tiger Woods teed off in the first round at about 8am, the full Channel Nine telecast started at noon and they showed the first live golf shot some 45 minutes later.

Whilst the anti-siphoning legislation (it’s still under review by the Federal Government) might be complicated for the average Joe (and especially for mathematically AND legally challenged me) it seems patently obvious if a commercial free to air network has the initial rights to a “protected” program they can choose to telecast as much of it as they want.

If Channel Nine doesn’t think there are enough ratings or revenue in the British Open for them, why don’t they just hand it over to Ten and ONE HD.

It makes a mockery of all those ads you see from the free to air commercial channels wanting public support for their campaign of protecting big sporting events for the masses.

What will likely happen will be the same as 2009. If there is a favoured Australian player – or like last year if there is big public interest in the final run of a Tom Watson – Channel Nine will suddenly decide to screen the final round live from around 11pm on Sunday night. (The Foxtel final round coverage by the way begins at 7 pm)

The other alternative for those without a pay television subscription but with a half decent broadband connection is free live internet streaming.

Try places such as Veetle, Justin TV or MyP2P Golf when play is underway. MyP2P Golf is usually the best place to start as there are a number of alternatives. You may have to downloard some new viewer software which is usually safe. [Update: One of the best and easily accessible streams here during round one was “IraqGoalsTV” would you believe”.]

I asked the Channel Nine publicity spokesperson to provide written confirmation of their 2010 British Open television coverage, and for an official statement on why their scheduled coverage is so poor.

We’re still waiting for the email. I think they’re getting Skippy to deliver it. He never was much of a typist.


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  2. What a joke, Channel NINE, still the one screwing the viewers over. Hopefully Ten or ONE will take it over from Nine soon, and give it a proper showing. Nine, you are a disgrace for the contempt you show to the anti-siphoning laws. Not only have you screwed sports on TV but also great shows like CSI and so on. Just keep on showing Underbelly, Skippy and Today and leave everyhting else alone. Remember the Ashes to SBS, just leav it alone. Feel better now.

  3. It is disgustingly dissapointing that this TV Station can ignore a major sport in this day & age. Golf is a very high participation sport in Australia and has a tremendous following, just like Soccer, it is also a World Game. Your NRL etc is no where near the audience capacity of the major sports, but get treated to much greater Free to Air time. I am going out now to get Foxtel, at least my money will be well spent, and I do not have to watch 15-20mins of Ads every hour.

  4. I am so annoyed that we cannot see the British Open on Free to Air TV what are all the ‘NEW” channels for?

  5. What a mockery. No wonder Channel Nine has totally crapped itself…..the ratings do not lie. Having pathetic shows such as 20 to 1 shows how low this station has gone. I for one will no longer watch anything Channel Nine….unless they decide to show the British Open live for a decent chunk of time. I think I am about to join Foxtel unfortunately.

  6. Channel nine has done it again. After all of the effort by others (channel 10 and the Victorian government) to lift the profile of golf in this country, you go and show utter disrespect to not only the game but also the viewers.
    If your grand plan is to bid on events, only to them put them on pay TV, then don’t bid in the first place. Let those with a genuine respect for and interest in golf bid for the rights and in the future but out and stick to rubbish like 20 to 1

  7. What an absolute Joke, here we have Channel 9 stating that they are the sports kings of free to air television, and all they seem to care about is shit shows that seems to suit them, it appears that is again we have another Aussie like Matty GOGGIN running for the lead like last year, they will suddenly claim that they are right behins the Aussie Golf Charge, Bullshit! Not everone in the country can afford pay TV, Channel 9 should hand the rights over to Ten and One HD that did a fantastci job of the last 2 majors we have seen, and just worry about rugby league and other crap that they cannot seem to telecast very well anyway. The only thing that Channel 9 can say they are best at is showing ads, and recking shows like Top Gear and the like. Why could SBS show a Top Gear show in 1 hour, then Channel 9 takes 1 and a half hors, they don’t care!

  8. I cannot believe it.
    this cannot be true!!!!!
    What has Australia become when the Greatest Championship in golf is not aired on television?
    I am in disbelief.

  9. I hope all sports fans tune out from all other channel 9 programs. I wont be watching any or their programs from this evening onward

  10. When I rang channel 9 in Melbourne to ask why they were not televising the British Open the response I got was that none of the free to air channels put in a bid for it!

  11. I am appalled that Channel 9 has the rights to this venerable championship and is not showing any live coverage at all. How out of touch can they be?
    I had assumed that it would be on LIVE after watching the Masters, and US Open. I am MAJORLY disappointed.
    Given the low scoring, Tiger’s return to form, and the large Australian contingent we will hopefully see some live coverage. Fingers crossed.

  12. Yes , I set myself up infront of the telly for a night of great golf but was a thrown by the tv guide which had the golf starting at midnight..ripper, then a movie starting at 1.00am huh? There must be a mistake..they wouldnt not show one of the great sporting events , year after year , and put a pathetic movie on in its place. I was wrong.

    Iam a sport fan..love the footy , Sterlo,Gus,Rabit and co make it all the more worth while.But golfs my thing, what a game.Then they go tear down a good nights veiwing with a British Open no show.

    Like washing down a Big Mac with water when your mouths screaming coke..

    Total Disapointment.

    Full congrats to TEN for their great coverage of masters and US open

  13. What a joke! Australia – land of the sport fanatic but only if you’re willing to PAY!!! The British Open is aired FREE all over the world. I’ve been watching it religiously since I took-up golfing some 40 years ago – but now, because I choose NOT to install cable to pay for reruns of old British and American shows that have been off the air for over a decade I’m denied the right to watch something that is aired for free. Shame on you Australian TV !!! What’s next, charging us to watch the Australian Open Tennis tournament? The Bledisoe Cup? The Melbourne Cup? The Super Bowl? You already wanted to charge for extra olympic coverage – what the ####! ESPN and FOX are free in the USA. All big games are covered by networks that broadcast them fro FREE! No one pays for any NFL, NBA, Baseball or golf match – they’re FREE!!! And it’s not because of the population so table that comment – I’m tired of hearing it. It’s because the greedy media moguls in Australlia are allowed to line their pockets at our expense and no one does anything about it. What a shame – when will the sport-loving Aussie’s wake-up and quit taking it on the chin from corporations that already make far too much money for second rate coverage.

  14. Channel 9 you are disgraceful, to win a contract to provide free to air viewing of one of the worlds premier sporting events and then elect to deny all Australian the opportunity to witness sporting history live by showing trivial television ( Skippy etc.) is extremely contemptuous. If you did not intend air the programme why did you not sell the right to a more committed Channel, the likes of one HD? You do not deserve to be in business. You are a poor specimen not worthy of any patronage.

  15. Channel 9 have been screwing Rugby League fans in Melbourne for decades (arguably doing a better job at it even than Brian Waldron and his cheating mates) and now they are treating hundreds of thousands of Australian golfers and golf fans with contempt. The free to air networks deserve no protection from anti-siphoning laws -they use them to serve their own interests when it suits them (to keep the price down on events that would be otherwise in demand from pay tv) and shunt other events to highlights packages when it doesn’t.

  16. Just when I thought Channel 9’s so-called “coverage” couldn’t get any worse, it was almost 25 minutes into the 45 minutes of golf (i.e. 1 hr less ads) before the leader’s first shot of the final round was shown. As I sit here typing this it is 12.50am – just 10 minutes from end of coverage – and they’re showing players holing par & bogey putts who are 15 shots from the lead. Where are the leader/s??!! They can’t even get the sound editing right. WAIT!! STOP-PRESS! They just showed Oosthuizen on the 13th.. (3 minutes later) I was just sitting here thinking I wonder if he will collapse over the last 5 holes.. and guess what!! they show him teeing off the 18th!!!! 7 shots ahead! What a disgrace this whole thing has been. The worst ever. And what a fine time to do it – the 150th anniversary of the best and oldest golf tournament in the world. Shame shame shame. No wonder that book “Who killed Channel Nine” is selling so many copies.

  17. I always wish an Aussie wins a major, I was privilege enough to be at the last day of the US Masters this year to watch every shot Scott and Day played. After reading Brian’s comment I really wish an Aussie to win: which will bring a public outcry on how disgraceful this decision by channel 9 is…….haven’t they just launched other nine free to air stations they could use?

  18. We can’t blame skippy but the morons who run the channel with the rights who chose not to show it


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