ARDMORE, Pa. — When you’re a two-time champion of the U.S. Open, and you work as a high-profile television golf analyst, chances are you’re going to be busy leading up to the annual renewal of the prestigious tournament. Such has been the case for Andy North and Curtis Strange, who this week are in the Philadelphia area for ESPN’s coverage of the 113th U.S. Open. ESPN’s telecasts of live play from Merion Golf Club begin Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.
Not only are North (on-course reporter) and Strange (hole announcer) working on the live telecasts, they’re also busy at Merion with analysis for SportsCenter, which is airing one-hour specials each day of the event as well as reports on the hour. North also is doing a daily program for ESPN.com and Strange is lending his expert analysis to ESPN Radio’s live broadcasts and to ESPN3’s daily coverage of a featured group and the 11th and 18th holes.
Throughout the week of the event, both will also do numerous live interviews via phone with ESPN Radio affiliates around the country. Last week, the duo, plus fellow analyst Paul Azinger, participated in a conference call with golf media and also conducted one-on-one phone interviews with media.
And to wrap up their pre-U.S. Open week, both traveled to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for an ESPN Car Wash — appearing on multiple editions of SportsCenter as well as Mike & Mike, The Herd, SVP & Russillo and Coach & Company on ESPN Radio.
On ESPN.com, the pair also provided analysis for Quiet Please with host Michele Steele (see video below) and conducted live chats. They also spoke to ESPN employees at a luncheon.
Both fully realize the impact winning the U.S. Open has had on their lives and careers.
Strange won U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989 and no golfer has won the event in consecutive years since. Why?
“It’s not what I did, but what some others didn’t do like Jack [Nicklaus] or Arnold [Palmer] or [Lee] Trevino and you can put Tiger [Woods] in that group,” Strange told Phillyburbs.com. “It surprises me that more guys haven’t done it. There’s a lot of pressure, even more today with all of the media coverage.”
North won the U.S. Open in 1978 and 1985.
“I don’t know if we can say it was a life-changing experience,” North told the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call. “But if definitely changes the way you think of yourself and the way other people look at you as a player. It gives you some opportunities to do some other things later in your career.
“Would I be doing TV today if I had never won a U.S. Open?” he said. “Probably not. It’s great being introduced as a U.S. Open champion and you’ve got to embrace it and enjoy it.”