SPORTS PROGRAMS--This is the week to see...

SPORTS PROGRAMS--This is the week to see three sports institutions--baseball's 56th All-Star Game on NBC along with golf's British Open and the U.S. Women's Open on ABC.

It's also the week to see an endangered species--the USFL championship game on ABC.

Provided there's no strike, the American League will try to rebound from last year's loss to the National League in Tuesday's largely ceremonial All-Star baseball contest that will be preceded by a 20-minute warm-up show hosted by Bob Costas at 5 p.m. on Channels 4, 36 and 39.

The site: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The announcers: two more institutions, Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola.

Spain's Seve Ballesteros will be defending his championship at the colorful British Open being played

at the Royal St. Georges Course in Sandwich, England. For the fifth consecutive year, ABC (Channels 7, 3, 10, 42) is offering coverage of the third and fourth rounds, airing Saturday at 9 a.m. and next Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ABC will be supplementing BBC coverage, and the voices you'll hear will include Jim McKay, Jack Whitaker, Dave Marr, Bob Rosburg and British touring pro Ed Sneed.

McKay, Whitaker, Marr and Rosburg will be joined by Rhonda Glenn and Judy Rankin for ABC's coverage of the final round of the U.S. Women's Open at 12:30 p.m. Sunday from the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.

Gloom pervades the financially troubled USFL as it approaches its Oakland vs. Baltimore championship game at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. Keith Jackson, Lynn Swann and Tim Brant are the announcers for ABC's coverage.

The USFL finds itself in a Catch-22 dilemma.

With their TV ratings down from last season despite the highly publicized signing of quarterback Doug Flutie, USFL owners have voted to switch to a fall season from their traditional spring play. The hope is that viewers will be more receptive to professional football in the fall than in the spring. However, ABC--not wanting to pit USFL football against the established NFL on CBS and NBC--has said it would not pick up its USFL option should the USFL make that move.

That would leave the USFL with no network TV contract, discounting cable-delivered ESPN, which has a contract to carry the USFL in the fall.

However, ESPN is not big enough to underwrite the USFL, which needs a major league TV contract to ensure its survival.

And they call football a game .

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