The 2013 U.S. Open begins on Thursday from the Merion Golf Club after months of preparation. The first round kicks off what should be a tightly-contested tournament that will challenge even the best players in the world and viewers will be able to watch the majority of the opening round considering 10 hours of live television are currently scheduled to be broadcast.
While there will be extensive television coverage on Thursday, it won't be enough to allow viewers to watch every shot live. With a crowded field of more than 150 players, times are expected to be slow in the opening rounds with players taking five and even six hours to make their way through the challenging course. As a result, some groups will tee off before television coverage begins while players teeing off in the late afternoon may still be on the course when broadcasts wrap up for the day.
Thursday's opening round will be an interesting gauge of Merion's difficulty. The grounds crew has scrambled this week to get the course in playable condition after an onslaught of rain hit recently. Soft course conditions may lead to some low scores on Thursday, but suffocating rough and challenging greens could help preserve Johnny Miller's U.S. Open record-low round of 63.
ESPN and NBC will combine to broadcast the first round with coverage beginning on ESPN at 9 a.m. ET. NBC will broadcast two hours of the first round from 3 to 5 p.m. before coverage shifts back to ESPN from 5 to 7 p.m. In all, there will be 10 hours of live television coverage on Thursday. Online streams and radio coverage will also be available.
Here're a closer look at Thursday's broadcast schedule.
Thursday's first round coverage
9 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Live coverage on ESPN
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Live coverage on NBC
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. - Live coverage on ESPN
7:11 a.m. - Marquee Group 1 (Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley)
1:14 p.m. - Marquee Group 2 (Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott)
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Live coverage on ESPN Radio