Tiger Woods won’t tee it up at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines next week — the site of one of the most memorable victories of his career — and apparently won’t be a part of the TV coverage either.
NBC Sports held a media conference call on Wednesday with lead golf producer Tommy Roy, the 18th-tower team of Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger, and on-course reporter Jim “Bones” Mackay to discuss next week’s 121st U.S. Open, coverage plans and more. Naturally, much of the conversation focused on the only other U.S. Open held at Torrey Pines, the 2008 edition when Woods, playing on a broken leg, beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff.
Since Woods and Mediate will likely be mentioned often next week, the broadcast team was asked if anyone from NBC had reached out to Woods or Woods’ camp to gauge the 15-time major champ’s interest in voicing an open or being a part of the coverage in any way.
“We were all thinking how good that would be, who better, if he couldn’t be there to play it, to voice it and have him a part of the show, but we were rebuffed,” Hicks said. “He didn’t want to do it, and I totally understand his situation. There is a lot going on in his world right now and there’s also a part of Tiger that doesn’t want to become this, I don’t want to, for lack of a better word, a sideshow at an event where we should be concentrating on what’s happening.”
Woods has kept a low profile since his Feb. 23 car accident, which has required several surgeries and will keep him away from the golf course for many more months.
“Also, I really believe that if you said yes to something, it would just be a non-stop parade of asks, and he would have to just, you know, start telling everybody no,” Hicks continued. “So, yeah, it would have been fantastic to have Tiger a part of it in that sense, but I understand that what’s going on in his world that he wanted to kind of keep it low key and stay out of the limelight for this one and just hopefully he’ll enjoy it at home watching it on TV and be inspired when we talk about what he did 13 years ago, and that’s the best we can hope for.”
The U.S. Open is June 17-20. NBC, GOLF Channel and Peacock will provide nearly 200 hours of TV and streaming action, both in-studio and live shots, from Monday to Sunday.