The Open For The Ages has been hailed as “the stuff that dreams are made of” by the golf commentators who will bring to life the reimagined Championship that features many of the greatest ever golfers. The R&A has released a brand new TV trailer to promote the ground-breaking concept ahead of its airing on Sunday 19 July.
Over 5,000 miles separated the TV commentary team of Nick Dougherty, Butch Harmon, Ewen Murray and Iona Stephen when they recorded commentary for The Open For The Ages ‘as live’ from St Andrews, London and Las Vegas.
They will describe events from the iconic Old Course in St Andrews when this innovative concept culminates in a compelling three-hour broadcast airing across TV, digital and social media channels this Sunday.
“It fills me with a lot of pride to be involved with The Open For The Ages because it’s a really, really cool production,” said Dougherty, a European Tour winner at St Andrews.
"I think this is a thing that we've always dreamt of being able to do – to put the greats of the game over the course of history together against one another at the Old Course. It's the stuff that dreams are made of. To see them there and watch them in their prime and look at the comparison between the golf swings and how they evolved, it was a lot of fun.”
Fellow commentator Murray, who played in The Open at St Andrews in 1978 and 1984, added, “It was something I didn’t think was possible. I now know it is possible. I really enjoyed commentating on it – for me, it was a labour of love. It was an honour to do, to be perfectly honest.”
This exclusive edition of The Open features 50 years of archive footage expertly edited and woven together with modern graphics and new commentary to create a Championship contested by the greatest names in golf including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy.
A significant investment was made in technology to ensure that the programme feels cohesive and the footage from five different decades created an authentic narrative.
More than 300 pieces of archive footage has been treated digitally to adjust grading and colour balance. Hundreds of digital corrections have been made to clips including the removal of caddies and playing partners from original footage and the introduction and removal of golf balls on greens to ensure that the viewer feels what they are watching is actually happening.
Over 1,000 hours of editing time was required by the IMG Production team that worked with The R&A to produce the programme under lockdown conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The winner of The Open For The Ages has been determined by a fan vote, which registered more than 10,000 responses, and a data model developed in partnership with NTT DATA that utilises this fan vote along with player career statistics and historical data from The Open to calculate the Champion.
Malcolm Booth, Sales and Marketing Director at The R&A, said, “The Open For The Ages is a world first and must-watch experience for golf fans and sports fans globally. We have worked closely with our partners to utilise video AI technology, data and advanced television production technics to create a compelling broadcast that we believe will excite people and spark conversation.”
The Open For The Ages will be broadcast on TheOpen.com and The Open's official YouTube and Facebook channels . The R&A’s international TV broadcast partners, including Sky Sports in the UK, NBC Golf Channel in the United States of America, and TV Asahi’s Japan Golf Network, will also televise the programme.
The Open For the Ages will be supported by a digital and social media campaign featuring ‘in-play’ clips, leaderboards and statistics in the lead up to the final round being played when the outright winner is revealed.
Visit TheOpen.com for more information about The Open For The Ages. Fans can follow The Open via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.