Behind The ScenesGolfSportsCenter

Wish fulfillment: SportsCenter producer appreciating first Masters assignment

Tom DeCorte is a SportsCenter producer working on the show's segments from the Masters Tournament. (Andy Hall/ESPN)
Tom DeCorte is a SportsCenter producer working on the show’s segments from the Masters Tournament. (Andy Hall/ESPN)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Most weekdays, Tom DeCorte is on the job at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., as the producer for the midnight edition of SportsCenter hosted by Scott Van Pelt.

But this week, DeCorte is ticking an item off of his bucket list by working at the Masters Tournament, a marquee sporting event that he had never before attended.

DeCorte, who has been at ESPN for 17 years, arrived on Monday and got his first in-person look at majestic Augusta National Golf Club as players practiced for the 80th edition of the Masters.

“You are just taken by it all,” he said. “It’s the pine trees, the birds chirping. It’s all the things that you see on TV and they’re real.

“When I walked up and saw the clubhouse and the 18th green and the 10th hole and 16, it’s sort of like it is on TV but there’s a detail to it when you see it in person, whether it be how steep everything is, or how small the greens actually are, or how short the grass is cut, that you could just never see on TV. It makes it really come to life, and it was great.”

It’s obviously great working with someone you work with all the time. But what I’ve really just drawn on is not just Scott’s but the rest of the crew’s expertise.
– Tom DeCorte, producer of the midnight edition of SportsCenter hosted by Scott Van Pelt, on working with Masters veteran SVP and crew in Augusta

DeCorte is producing afternoon and evening segments for SportsCenter from the Masters as ESPN’s signature news and information program airs extensive coverage from golf’s first major of the year. The SportsCenter reports lead to and surround ESPN’s live telecasts of the first two rounds of play Thursday and Friday from 3-7:30 p.m. ET.

Most of the segments DeCorte is producing are hosted by Van Pelt.

“It’s obviously great working with someone you work with all the time,” he said. “But what I’ve really just drawn on is not just Scott’s but the rest of the crew’s expertise. They know what it’s like here, they know the ins and outs of this place, and I’m just trying to follow their lead.

“And it’s always nice to be doing something different – being out on the road as opposed to being in the studio tests you in different ways than you’re used to.”

DeCorte learned a few months ago that he would be making his debut this year. “I was thrilled,” he said.

“The Masters is an assignment I’ve always had my eye on. It’s a bucket list item for any sports fan, and it’s now a big part of a long list of great events that I’ve been lucky enough to go to since I’ve been with ESPN.”

Tom DeCorte (left) works with director Howie Lutt in the ESPN production trailer at the Masters Tournment. (Andy Hall/ESPN)
Tom DeCorte (left) works with director Howie Lutt in the ESPN production trailer at the Masters Tournament. (Andy Hall/ESPN)
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