While Masters officials take a "less is more" approach when it comes to broadcasting from Augusta, USGA officials do not share the same strategy for live coverage of the U.S. Open. The result is 10 hours of live television coverage and multiple online streams that allow viewers to watch nearly as much live golf as they could if they were outside the ropes at Pinehurst.
Change is coming to the U.S. Open television coverage next year with Fox taking over the broadcast, but for 2014, ESPN and NBC will once again combine to provide the coverage. That means one final year -- at least until 2027 -- of Johnny Miller calling a U.S. Open. Miller will be joined by a host of others when live first-round coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday. The expanded coverage will run all day with NBC and ESPN2 also carrying the coverage for periods. ESPN will handle coverage from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. before the broadcast shifts to NBC for two hours from 3 to 5 p.m. ESPN2 will then pick up an hour of coverage from 5 to 6 p.m. before the day concludes on ESPN from 6 to 7 p.m. In addition to the 10 hours of scheduled live coverage, ESPN has been known to show live look-ins during the morning edition of SportsCenter before live coverage begins. That could be the case on Thursday, especially with the pairing of Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Matthew Fitzpatrick set for an early-morning tee time.
How to watch Thursday's round online
Fans not at Pinehurst who are unable to watch the first round on television will be in luck with multiple online streams on Thursday.
The live coverage isn't limited to the television broadcast, however, as the entire 10 hours will be available via live online simulcast streams. The coverage on the ESPN family of network will be available online from WatchESPN. NBC's coverage can be streamed online using NBC LiveExtra. The online coverage won't be limited to just simulcasts. ESPN3 will provide a live stream of No. 9 and No. 18 while USOpen.com will provide a pair of live, featured group streams. The streams will be available online and mobile devices. The trio of Mickelson, Rose and Fitzpatrick will make up the morning featured pairing as they are set to tee off at 7:51 a.m. Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel will be in the afternoon featured group with a 1:25 p.m. tee time. ESPN3 will also provide two featured group streams. Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Webb Simpson will play in the morning featured group, set to tee off at 7:40 a.m. The late group will feature the trio of Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer. They are scheduled to step to the tee at 1:47 p.m.
If that wasn't enough, ESPN Radio and PGA Tour Radio will also provide live radio coverage. ESPN Radio will broadcast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. while PGA Tour Radio will be on the airwaves for an extra hour, broadcasting from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Although the extensive coverage will allow viewers to follow much of the action live from Pinehurst, a few notable names will hit the course before the broadcast begins. Matt Kuchar, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Brandt Snedeker are among the players set to tee off before 8 a.m. A little more than an hour of their first rounds will occur before live coverage begins. Even still, they will likely only be a few holes into their first rounds when ESPN goes live.
First round coverage
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- ESPN
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. -- NBC
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- ESPN2
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- ESPN
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- WatchESPN simulcast
3 to 5 p.m. -- NBC Sports LiveExtra simulcast
USOpen.com Featured Groups stream -- 7:51 a.m. (Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Matthew Fitzpatrick), 1:25 p.m. (Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott)
9 a.m. -- ESPN3 live stream of Nos. 9 and 18
ESPN3 featured groups -- 7:40 a.m. (Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Webb Simpson), 1:47 p.m. (Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer)
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208)
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- ESPN Radio