Sunday U.S. Open Schedule
Will the weekend at Pinehurst just be a two-day formality before Martin Kaymer is handed the U.S. Open trophy on Sunday night? Someone will have to make a move, and early on Saturday for there to be any chance of drama over the final 18 holes at Pinehurst No. 2. Kaymer will come to the course with a six-shot lead after posting the lowest 36-hole total in U.S. Open history, back-to-back rounds of 65 for a 130 at the midpoint.
It's not the ideal way NBC would like to sign off from their longtime coverage of America's national championship. They were already dealt a bad hand with Tiger Woods, the game's ultimate moneymaker and TV draw, on the shelf injured. Now after minimal coverage through the first two days while ESPN carried the load, they may be treated to an uneventful weekend where the winner is clear from the start.
Martin Kaymer runs away from the field
The lowest 36-hole score ever at the U.S. Open, a tidy 130 through two rounds, has Martin Kaymer out in front by a record-matching margin at Pinehurst.
This is, of course, the final year for NBC for their premiere golf broadcast, the USGA opting to drop their traditional partner for a controversial 12-year, $1.2 billion deal with FOX. That network, which has never done a golf broadcast, will take over next year for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay outside Seattle, with Joe Buck and Greg Norman on the call.
But first we'll get a weekend full of Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller, who has become the unofficial voice of the U.S. Open over the years. Miller loves to talk about his legendary final round of 63 at Oakmont to win the 1973 U.S. Open, and he's definitely a curmudgeon on some issues. But he offers actual, real insight. If you take the right perspective, his biting critiques and often over-the-top standards are unintentionally hilarious and add to the entertainment value of the broadcast.
The cut left us with a relatively small field this year, just 67 of the 156 players getting through to the weekend. So tee times won't start until after 9 a.m. ET, and the final pairing of Kaymer and Brendon Todd won't go out until 3:25 p.m. NBC, however, will be live by Noon for almost eight hours of coverage on what will hopefully be a clear-weather day in the Sandhills of North Carolina.
In addition to the TV coverage, NBC will provide their usual simulcast of that broadcast online via their LiveExtra service. There are fewer specialized stream options on the weekend, with no more dedicated featured groups stream. But USOpen.com will continue their featured holes coverage at the final hole on each side of Pinehurst No. 2. Unlike the Masters, we get to actually watch almost all of the season's second major if interested -- there's no tradition about restricted TV or streaming hours.
The tournament is still far from over, but someone will have to make a charge out ahead of Kaymer, before the German ever gets to the first tee. That might be possible if the course stays soft and the turtleback greens stay relatively receptive. Kaymer did hit some loose iron shots over his last few holes, so there's a the possibility he comes back to the field. That can happen quickly at a U.S. Open. But the gap needs to close, and early, on Saturday, for there to be much drama on Sunday. Here's the media schedule for the third round:
Saturday's third round coverage
Noon to 7:30 p.m. -- NBC
Noon to 7:30 p.m. -- NBC Sports LiveExtra simulcast
Noon to conclusion -- USOpen.com featured holes (Nos. 9, 18)
2 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208)
2 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- ESPN Radio