Labor dispute between Golf Channel, live tournament technicians union to impact Sunday telecasts

January 14, 2018

UPDATE: Golf Channel opened its Sony Open coverage at 6 p.m. ET by saying, “Folks, we’re focusing on the final groups and final holes tonight because some technicians walked out on the job earlier today.”


A labor dispute between Golf Channel and its live tournament technicians union will impact today’s scheduled telecasts as workers walked out Sunday morning in protest. The development was first reported by No Laying Up on Twitter.

According to the AP, the Golf Channel has been negotiating an agreement for nine months with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union for tournament technicians such as camera and audio crew members. Union workers at Golf Channel events were walking out Sunday morning as negotiations for a new contract stalled.

The AP also reported that three dozen IATSE members from Local 665 picketed outside Waialae Country Club on Sunday. John Culleeny, an international representative for the union, said its members wanted Golf Channel to meet industry standards but was not specific on what stalled negotiations. Video and audio crews talked about walking out during the third round Saturday but waited for another meeting. Culleeny said the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

“Golf Channel has been working on negotiating an agreement for nine months with a union that represents our live tournament technicians,” Golf Channel said in a statement. “Those efforts have not yet yielded a resolution, and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable contract. However, some technicians have chosen to walk off the job today. We have contingency plans in place, and will continue to deliver coverage. Thank you to our viewers for their patience.”

Today’s broadcasts include the final rounds of the PGA Tour’s Sony Open and the PGA Tour Champions’ Diamond Resorts Invitational as well as the second round of the’s Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel, the Diamond Resorts Invitational from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the Sony Open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (According to Doug Ferguson of the AP, the Sony Open will now start earlier due to the contract dispute.) The TV coverage of the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic has focused primarily on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes.

A message the Tour sent all players, tweeted by No Laying Up, is below.

The PGA Tour released the following statement to the public:

“We apologize for the interruptions to today’s PGA Tour telecasts due to a labor dispute between the Golf Channel and its live tournament technicians union. We are working closely with our partners at the Golf Channel to provide as much television coverage as possible of the Sony Open in Hawaii, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay and the Diamond Resorts Invitational in the interim. Of course, and the PGA Tour app will provide real-time scoring, and fans can follow tournament action via our social media channels. PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM, which can be streamed for free on PGA Tour digital platforms, will also provide live coverage of the Sony Open as planned. Thank you for your patience and for being a valuable PGA Tour fan.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.