ESPN History

#TBT: 1982 U.S. Open

Tom Watson won the 1982 U.S. Open, the event's first year on ESPN. ( James Fitzgerald/ESPN)
Tom Watson won the 1982 U.S. Open, the event’s first year on ESPN. ( James Fitzgerald/ESPN)

Welcome to another edition of #TBT: Throwback Thursday.

ESPN is televising the first and second rounds of play in the U.S. Open today and Friday from North Carolina’s Pinehurst No. 2, the 33rd consecutive year the network has aired golf’s national championship.

ESPN’s relationship with the United States Golf Association (USGA) began with the 1982 U.S. Open, which was played at Pebble Beach, Calif. Jim Simpson and Jim Thacker were hosts for the telecast, with Lou Palmer reporting from the course and Nick Seitz and Dr. Cary Middlecoff as analysts.

In 1982, the telecasts were for three hours each day. This year, ESPN airs eight hours per day of live play.

While ESPN will no longer televise the U.S. Open and other USGA championships in the United States after this year, ESPN and the USGA this week announced a multi-year extension granting ESPN International exclusive rights on all means and media in Latin America and the Caribbean to the USGA’s marquee championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open.

“We’ve enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the USGA and the U.S. Open for 33 years, dating back to 1982 at Pebble Beach,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Production and Programming John Wildhack. “We thank the USGA staff and Executive Committee for their partnership. We take pride in having worked with the USGA to present the National Championship of American Golf. I am proud of the passion, dedication and creativity our golf staff brought to the U.S. Open and other USGA Championships. We look forward to a great week at Pinehurst.”

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