With no patrons, ESPN and CBS planning unique Masters coverage

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Don’t be surprised if you see some different camera angles at this year’s Masters Tournament.

With no patrons hustling around the course, following their favorite golfers and filling Augusta National Golf Club with the roars prompted by a beautiful chip, hole-in-one or eagle putt, CBS announced plans to experiment with camera angles it wouldn’t have been able to provide.

“Right now, we’re still working on it,” said Lance Barrow, coordinating producer for golf on CBS.

He added that they will “try some shots between now and Thursday,” and make a “game-time” decision on whether to send them live. He also said they are experimenting with live drones in the practices rounds and could utilize those as well.

Along with CBS’s main coverage of the tournament, ESPN announced it will be host College GameDay at the club Saturday morning.

“I think College GameDay is the best show we do at ESPN and Rece Davis is as good a host as there is in television. And so you have people that are going to have reverence and understanding and appreciation for the venue where they are,” said ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt in a media Zoom conference last week.

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“So you’re not going to see them show up and have marching bands up and down the fairways and things of that nature. You know where you are. You’re at one of the most storied golf venues on the planet and at an event that there’s a certain level of decorum that’s understood.”

Van Pelt added the usual “pomp and circumstance” of College GameDay won’t filter into the Masters, but that it will be a great intersection of golf and football, even to the most casual golf spectator.

ESPN will have coverage the first two days of the Masters, with coverage starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. It also plans to show special coverage on ESPN+ with Featured Holes and Featured Groups all four days of the tournament. SportsCenter will also have extensive coverage throughout the week.

CBS will take over coverage Saturday and Sunday, from 1 -5 p.m. on Saturday but the LSU-Alabama scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday on CBS has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the LSU football team, the Southeastern Conference office announced on Tuesday afternoon.

On Sunday, CBS will air final-round coverage from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., ahead of its national NFL game coverage at 4 p.m. ET.

CBS chairman Sean McManus said the network has allotted the hour in-between coverage to supplement any unexpected, extended Masters coverage.

One unexpected moment could come on College GameDay during co-host Lee Corso’s famous “helmet reveal,” said Van Pelt.

“I have no idea what Lee Corso is going to do. I think it’s a cool idea and a cool marriage of, you know, an unusual concept of a fall Masters and the opportunity to bring an event – to bring that show (College GameDay) there,” Van Pelt said.

“I think, what a cool concept. What an amazing job they have done with Lee, last week for Halloween. So I’m sure they will come up with something. I don’t know, I haven’t asked them, and like you, I look forward to finding out.”

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