Television executives have expanded coverage plans for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, giving Fort Worth’s annual PGA Tour stop a combined 17 hours of live coverage during tournament week.
The expanded windows for the May 24-30 event will occur on The Golf Channel, tournament director Peter Ripa said today. As things stand, The Golf Channel will show four hours of live coverage for Thursday-Friday rounds _ up by one hour from original plans _ during a time window of 1-5 p.m. During weekend rounds, The Golf Channel will have 90 minutes of live coverage, from noon to 1:30 p.m., before the three-hour CBS telecast begins each day at 2 p.m.
“We’re excited. Having the players we do in our field, I think they’re looking at anticipated (strong) ratings,” Ripa said.
Colonial has commitments from four of the top six players in the world golf rankings, as well as all four of the reigning major champions. Top-rated players on the commitment list include No. 2 Phil Mickelson, No. 3 Steve Stricker, No. 5 Jim Furyk and No. 6 Ian Poulter. Stricker is the defending champ and Mickelson won the event in 2008 and 2000.
The reigning major champions in the 2010 Colonial field include Mickelson (Masters), Lucas Glover (U.S. Open), Stewart Cink (British Open) and Southlake resident Y.E. Yang (PGA Championship).
Ripa said he expects to land “at least six of the top 10” from the world rankings by the time the final field is set.
_ Jimmy Burch