Matt Fitzpatrick’s defense of the US Open in June it might not be available to a mainstream TV audience in the UK, and Sky Sports have yet to agree a deal to broadcast the third main event of the year.
Sky has recently been presented as the home of golf on television and of the main championships. However, the US Open, which takes place at the Los Angeles Country Club, has been notable for its absence from promo reels. Industry insiders have confirmed that Sky balked at the price they were initially quoted for a deal with the United States. Golf Partnership, which is negotiated by a third party agent in the UK. Other USGA properties are likely to be included in any US Open deal, but for now there is deadlock.
Sky declined to comment when approached by The Guardian about the situation. A USGA spokesperson said: “Discussions with Sky are ongoing and it is premature to suggest that the US Open will not be broadcast on Sky this year.”
Still, time is running out. Sky will be confident in their negotiating position given the lack of alternatives available to the USGA. Their need to cover this championship could also be lessened by the times associated with a tournament on the west coast of the US. BBC television’s indifference to golf will be emphasized again this week without a presence at the Masters. Neither Viaplay nor BT Sport have shown any real interest in delving into golf rights.
There is a precedent for a major event being shown elsewhere, with the 2018 US PGA Championship airing on Eleven Sports after a deal could not be reached with Sky. However, that coverage was heavily criticized by golf fans and the tournament was immediately returned to the Sky platform.
Fitzpatrick’s glory in Brookline last June was one of the iconic moments of the British sporting year. He became the second English golfer since 1970 to claim the title.
Meanwhile, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw has admitted that the LIV Rebels’ appearance at the Dinner of Champions on Tuesday could set off some awkward moments. Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson are among the group of LIV golfers who, as former Masters winners, are invited.
“I’m a little concerned to be honest,” Crenshaw said. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I hope that cool heads prevail and that all goes well.”