Michael Eaves has been hosting the 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter regularly over the past few months. Still, because most sports were shut down due to the pandemic, he hadn’t traveled to cover an event since the Super Bowl in early February.
But this week, Eaves is in San Francisco at TPC Harding Park hosting SportsCenter reports and contributing to ESPN and ESPN+’s telecasts of the PGA Championship. With the schedule altered by the pandemic, the event is golf’s first major championship of 2020.
Eaves has played golf since he was a child and loves the sport. He is very happy to not only be at a big golf event but also to be there in a working capacity as ESPN televises the event for the first time in 30 years.
“This was something we had circled on the calendar for a long time because this is the first year we’ve had this contract for the company [in a long time], and we were all looking forward to it,” said Eaves. “When it got postponed, we were all a little worried it would be canceled altogether, so to be here was a relief. In our first year, we’re actually going to get to do everything we were going to do.”
That includes Eaves hosting SportsCenter segments from a set on the 18th fairway. He’ll also host part of the live golf coverage on Thursday and Friday when the CBS golf crew relieves the ESPN team for three hours each day – safety protocols necessitate cleaning the announce towers and production trucks between shifts.
“They’re expecting that to be a 20-30 minute process to get everyone out, clean it and then get everyone back in to continue the telecast,” he said. “So, in those windows, I’m going to be doing basically a halftime show.”
Like everyone else arriving to work at the event, Eaves was tested upon arrival Saturday and quarantined until his test results came back Sunday. Then he went to the course – one that he’s played twice – to start prep work.
“I walked five holes with Tiger [Woods] on Sunday during practice, talked with him for a minute, and then I walked a couple of holes with [golfers] Harold Varner and Cameron Tringale Monday,” he said. “So just being around these guys and getting re-familiar, it makes it feel like it used to feel, and that’s been cool.”