Viewers of the BBC will see a new face when they tune into live weekend coverage of The Masters. According to multiple sources close to the network speaking exclusively to Global Golf Post on condition of anonymity, Paul Azinger will be the main face and voice of the network at Augusta National.
The deal was signed just days before the tournament was to begin, although negotiations have been ongoing for many weeks. Sources said Azinger’s history as a player and broadcasting at the Open Championship as well as his Ryder Cup history as a player and captain contributed to the decision to have him front the BBC coverage.
Azinger has been among of the most popular golf broadcasters in America since his debut on ABC with Nick Faldo and Mike Tirico in 2005. After the network dropped its coverage, Faldo moved to CBS alongside Jim Nantz while Azinger stayed with ABC and its sister network ESPN for the Open Championship.
Last year, Azinger anchored ESPN’s early-round coverage of The Masters, but while the network continues to provide Thursday and Friday coverage, the 3D experiment was short-lived.
The BBC has broadcast the Masters in the UK since 1986, but has gone head-to-head in competition for weekend viewers with Sky Sports since 2011. Sky Sports broadcasts all four days in the UK, while the BBC has radio coverage and highlights on Thursday and Friday before going live for the final two rounds.