NBC’s U.S. Open plan includes Brandel Chamblee, surprising wrinkles

A split image of Gary Koch, Brandel Chamblee and Roger Maltbie.

The NBC U.S. Open broadcast team has three surprising names.

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For the first time, Brandel Chamblee will be occupying the lead analyst’s chair at a major championship.

After months of speculation and a rotating cast of analysts during the network’s events this season, NBC Sports finally announced its broadcast team for the first of its two major championships this season, the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, and it includes the longtime opinionated Golf Channel pundit as one of two lead color analysts.

Sports Business Journal‘s Josh Carpenter first reported Chamblee’s appointment.

In an interesting twist, Chamblee will pair with lead play-by-play man Dan Hicks to call even holes while Mike Tirico and Brad Faxon will call odd holes during “prime hours” of coverage.

“This year we began utilizing an odd/even system of hole assignments for our commentator pairings,” Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ executive producer and president of production, said in a release. “Our new approach lets our play-by-play announcers give more context for what’s happening, while creating more opportunities for our analysts and on-course reporters to engage with each other and break down the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ before and after each moment.”

The arrangement sets up Chamblee to be on the call for the final hole of the tournament Sunday.

NBC’s lead analyst chair has been on a rotation since the network chose not to renew the contract of Paul Azinger last fall. Chamblee had already filled the role multiple times throughout this season, but it was thought Kevin Kisner was close to taking over the position full-time after successful debuts on the network earlier this year.

But in a recent appearance on Golf Digest’s The Loop podcast, Kisner said he’s not quite ready to put his competitive career on hold to pursue broadcasting.

“He wants to be a golfer and wants to focus on his golf game,” Flood told SBJ. “When he’s ready to stop playing golf, we’ll have a conversation.”

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Golf Digest reported last month that the broadcast team for June’s U.S. Open still hadn’t been finalized as the network continued to try out Kisner, Chamblee, European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald and Jim “Bones’ Mackay.

Chamblee has been a fixture at majors on Golf Channel’s “Live From” programming, and while no announcement was made of the roster for that show Monday, Chamblee told Golfweek in early April he’d be “happy to do both” in regards to a role as an analyst in both live coverage and the studio show.

NBC also announced the return of Mackay, Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch to the live coverage of the event. Mackay’s inclusion as an on-course reporter is unsurprising as he recently ended his partnership caddying for Justin Thomas just before the Masters.

Maltbie and Koch’s returns are more notable. Both longtime NBC staples did not see their contracts renewed after the 2022 season, but returned to NBC’s Thursday and Friday coverage of the Players Championship in March.

Flood told SBJ that this time the pair would be returning for all four days of the tournament. The decision came after the warm reception they got on the Players broadcast.

NBC said the network will provide “200-plus hours” of coverage during U.S. Open week and full programming details would be announced in the coming weeks.

The 2024 U.S. Open will take place June 18-21 at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C.

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