‘We’ve never seen it in golf’: ‘Hard Knocks’-style golf docuseries coming to Golf Channel
Next week, a Golf Channel film crew will descend on San Diego for the U.S. Open with no hope of shooting footage that will air before or during the tournament.
Instead, the crew’s work will focus on something different: a new docuseries aimed at capturing an intimate look at life in and around the national championship modeled off the popular behind-the-scenes HBO sports series’ “Hard Knocks” and “24/7.”
Called “From Many, One,” the show has been in production since the beginning of the year, when USGA officials first descended upon Torrey Pines in the wake of Patrick Reed’s Farmers Insurance Open win.
The idea to bring a “Hard Knocks”-style show to professional golf first came to the Golf Channel crew through the show’s executive producer, Israel DeHerrera — who found himself wondering why a similar show hadn’t already existed in the golf space.
“I just really kind of as a golf fan, wanted to know what goes on, like, how does this all happen?” DeHerrera told GOLF.com. “How long out do you start? What’s the process? What’s involved, who’s involved? And that was just kind of the genesis of it.”
DeHerrera, along with producers Ryan Griffiths and Scott Phelps, then took the idea to the USGA. The hope, they said, would be to utilize fly-on-the-wall access to focus on a series of the tournament’s biggest characters — pros, officials, amateurs and their families — to tell the story of the crowning of a champion. The USGA jumped at the idea, and quickly helped the crew secure access with close to 10 subjects. Chief among them: Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele, the U.S. Open’s hometown kid.
Episode 1 focuses largely on Schauffele, including his relationship with his father, swing coach and (as viewers learn) part-time physician Stefan. The two Schauffeles recount their memories at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which Xander attended as a teenager. The episode also delves into the nuances of course setup, Torrey Pines’ history as a U.S. Open venue and a Spieth appearance on the “Today” show.
“We kind of selected a few storylines. So we have Xander and Bryson. And we have a little time with Jordan. And then we have two qualifier stories that we’re currently following,” DeHerrera said. “Xander has been amazing. He’s the person who we got the most access with, and the one with the local aspect of him being from San Diego…
“One thing I’ll point out is when he had that collapse at the Masters on Sunday at 16. Yeah, Xander flew overnight, and then went to Callaway the next day to check out new wedges. So we got with him the very next day on Monday after the collapse on Sunday. And we’re in the Callaway Performance Center. Fourteen hours after 16. That was probably the best access we got.”
On the production side, DeHerrera brought in his close friend Aaron Cohen — winner of more than a dozen Sports Emmys for his work on the “24/7” — to serve as one of the show’s writers. (“He basically started the genre,” DeHerrera said.)
The show will run for the next three Tuesdays on Golf Channel, concluding the Tuesday after the U.S. Open. To complete the final 30-minute episode by its air date, the Golf Channel crew is renting a house in San Diego to ferry footage and equipment between the course and the show’s editors.
Ultimately, DeHerrera hopes the show provides golf fans with something they’ve never seen.
“I’m so excited to do this for golf,” he said. “This type of show has been done forever, right? Yeah, we’ve never really seen it in golf. Just to give viewers the chance to see what really goes into all of this.”