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NBCUniversal acquires rights to U.S. Open and and other golf championships

The United States Golf Association announced Monday it cut ties with Fox Sports. Its full slate of championships broadcast rights now belong to NBC
HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 14: A NBC Golf Channel camera operator is seen during the final round of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club on January 14, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The U.S. Open and other United States Golf Association championships will return to NBCUniversal broadcasts immediately.  Five years ago, Fox Sports and the USGA agreed to a 12-year deal that was reported to be more than $1 billion.

Because of the pause in the PGA season and reshuffling of events, the U.S. Open at Winged Foot was moved to mid-September rather than its traditional date, ending on Father's Day in mid-June.

The problem for Fox is the network has preexisting contracts with the National Football League, Major League Baseball playoffs, and college football, which would make broadcasting the U.S. Open in September a logistical nightmare. 

“Partnering with NBCUniversal, including Golf Channel, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to connect and engage with the core golf audience more directly and routinely, and as a nonprofit, to continue to have a significant and lasting impact on the game,” Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, said in a joint statement with NBC.

Tiger Woods concedes a putt to Phil Mickelson to play extra holes. (Photo: Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports)

NBC will now have four golf championships to broadcast this year, beginning in August with the U.S. Women’s Amateur (Aug. 3-9), U.S. Amateur (Aug. 10-16), U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20) and U.S. Women’s Open (Dec. 10-13).

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The new contract will go until 2026. NBC broadcasted the U.S. Open from 1995 to 2014. The terms of the new deal are unknown. 

“We are thrilled to acquire the remainder of FOX Sports’ USGA agreement, and will carry the designated USGA events, including the U.S. Open, through 2026,” Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group, said in a statement.

The next PGA Tour event begins July 2 at the Detroit Golf Club in Michigan, as part of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. 

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