NBC's Ryder Cup Is Only for Early Birdies

The Ryder Cup, played every other year, has been called golf's Super Bowl by Johnny Miller and others.

But would the Super Bowl ever begin at 5 a.m.? That's when Saturday's coverage begins on NBC.

Golfers may not mind getting up at 5 o'clock to play golf, but to watch it? We'll just have to set the VCR and fast-forward through the commercials.

USA's coverage today of the three-day event at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., begins at 8 a.m., a delay of three hours in the West, and runs continuously until 6 p.m.

NBC can't delay the coverage in the West because on Saturday it has Notre Dame-Texas football at 11:30 a.m. and on Sunday there's NFL football, beginning at 12:30 with the pregame show. So, NBC's starting times are 5 and 6 a.m.

NBC will devote 13 1/2 hours to the Ryder Cup over the two days, including 2 1/2 hours after Notre Dame football on Saturday. The plan for Sunday is that everything will be wrapped up before NFL football.


The USA network, besides using the NBC crew for its coverage today, will have versatile Bill Macatee serving as host. Macatee, who lives in Calabasas, will be joined in the studio by Ben Wright, who hasn't missed a Ryder Cup since 1953, and Peter Kostis.

In addition to its 10 hours today, USA will have a half-hour highlight show all three nights at 11.


NBC's Miller described the pressure on Ryder Cup competitors this way: "A regular tour event is a 35-foot dive off a cliff, a major is a 50-foot dive, and the Ryder Cup is a 100-foot dive."

Dick Enberg is taking the weekend off from football to anchor NBC's Ryder Cup coverage with Miller.

Paul Azinger, who was among the candidates to play but was passed over by U.S. captain Lanny Wadkins in favor of Curtis Strange, will work the event for NBC, thanks to Miller. Miller said it took four phone calls to talk Azinger into doing it.


Channel 5 has added the Dodger home games against Colorado next Monday and Tuesday nights to its schedule, but that falls a little short. Every game from here on in should be televised.

Tonight's game against San Diego is part of the Baseball Network's "Baseball Night in America" on Channel 4, with Ted Robinson and Dave Campbell calling the action.

But Thursday night's game was not televised--The Times' Dodgers On Deck incorrectly said it would be--and neither of the weekend games is on television.

The Rockies, who are televising all of their games in Denver, plan to show highlights from the weekend Dodger games as well.

The Angels' games in Texas Saturday and Sunday will be televised on Channel 5, if Angel fans can still bear to watch.


While Channel 4 was throwing an elaborate dinner for employees and sponsors Thursday night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Bret Lewis, a former employee, was dining at a homeless center in Hollywood.

No, the popular sportscaster, who was dropped by the station 2 1/2 months ago, hasn't fallen on hard times. Every Thursday night he does volunteer work at the center at his church, the Children of the Shepard Nazarene Church.

Lewis is that kind of guy. He recently was presented an Outstanding Contributor Award by the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce for his help with the L.A. Watts Summer Games.

Lewis, who has been picking up odd jobs here and there, isn't sure why Channel 4 chose not to renew his contract, but he's certainly not complaining, nor is he down.

He was replaced by Carlos Del Valle, who came from Seattle. Bill Lord, Channel 4 news director who came from a competing station in Seattle, was familiar with Del Valle's work.

"Those things happen in this business," Lewis said. "I have nothing bad to say about Channel 4 or anybody there."

Lewis, 48, who has battled a sleeping disorder since his mid-30s, said, "I am happier and more at peace with myself than I've ever been. I enjoyed my seven years at KNBC, and grew as a person and a broadcaster. But I like my new-found freedom and am looking ahead to trying some new things.

"The way I look at it, you have to let go of one trapeze to get to another."

TV-Radio Notes

Recommended viewing: For his "Up Close: Prime Time" special on ESPN today at 5 p.m., Roy Firestone recently spent a day with Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, starting out at his home in Fullerton. Lasorda, who turns 68 today, tells Firestone he'd like to keep managing, but he won't contest it whenever owner Peter O'Malley tell him it's time for a change. Firestone's other guests are Don Mattingly, Mo Vaughn and Ricky Watters. . . . Firestone's show was recently nominated for a Cable ACE Award, one of 19 nominations for ESPN. . . . Dodger catcher Mike Piazza was Chris Myers' guest on the daily "Up Close" show Wednesday. Asked what pitches he would call for Tony Gwynn during the Dodgers' series against the Padres, Piazza said, "I think I'll tell him what's coming and that will throw him off."

XTRA recently dumped the "Pete Rose Show," which it broadcast, delayed, at midnight. But KMAX-FM (107.1) is close to a deal to carry the nationally syndicated show live on weekdays, 4-6 p.m.--and with a new co-host. If things work out, the new co-host will be KMAX's Joe McDonnell, who will continue doing his own local show for KMAX, 6-8 p.m., and do Rose's national show three weeks a month. Also, the plan is to syndicate KMAX's midday show with Bob Golic and Rich Herrera via the SportsFan radio network. All this could be in place by next Thursday. . . . KMAX will now broadcast its boxing show, "Ringside With Johnny Ortiz," Sundays 5-8 p.m. . . . Because of pro football, XTRA has moved Joe Buttitta's "Talkin' Golf" show to Saturdays, 9-10 a.m. . . . KMPC will carry USC's game at Arizona Saturday at 7 p.m., with the Angels' 5 o'clock game at Texas being farmed out to KMAX and KWNK (670).

The one-on-one pay-per-view event featuring Shaquille O'Neal vs. Hakeem Olajuwon Sept. 30 in Atlantic City, N.J., picked up some prestige this week when Chick Hearn, Billy Packer and Bill Walton were named the announcers. On the undercard will be the Lakers' Nick Van Exel vs. the New Jersey Nets' Kenny Anderson and, in a rookie challenge, Joe Smith of Maryland vs. high school star Kevin Garnett.

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