The Open Championship is live on ESPN, and we've already lost one camera to an unfortunately placed golf ball: pic.twitter.com/ljO9ZzbD2s
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 18, 2013
Editor’s note: A previously published version of this post indicated that the ESPN camera in question had been repaired. It has not been repaired. Front Row regrets the error.
It didn’t take long in today’s live telecast of The Open Championship on ESPN for golf to become a contact sport.
Like less than an hour in.
As Danish golfer Thomas Bjorn was hitting his second shot on the first hole out of the deep, lush rough at Scotland’s Muirfield Golf Links, his ball didn’t go the way he wanted it to.
Instead, the ball flew directly at an ESPN camera that was positioned several dozen yards away, presumably out of the line of fire.
The ball impacted the lens of the camera, smashing a golf ball-sized hole in the glass and making spider web-like cracks in the rest of it.
And this errant shot came off the club of the player who leads the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy.
But, of course, as all golf fans know, there’s a lot of difference between hitting off a sanitary teebox and dealing with the rough that The Open Championship and links golf are known for.
The camera showed the shot from swing until the lens shattered — and even after as it continued working.
ESPN golf host Mike Tirico immediately made light of the situation, joking that a bill for the camera would be sent to Denmark, attention Thomas Bjorn.
Despite efforts by ESPN’s crew, the lens could not be replaced on-site and the camera was taken out of service for the time being. Camera operator Tom Cassese was uninjured.
ESPN’s live four-round coverage continues Friday beginning at 4 a.m. ET and continues through the weekend.