FOX SPORTS ADDS FOUR BIG NAMES TO INAUGURAL USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE - Flesch, Inkster, O’Donoghue and Pavin Added to Stellar On-Air Lineup
Los Angeles — The FOX Sports family of networks welcomes Steve Flesch, Juli Inkster, Shane O’Donoghue and Corey Pavin to its inaugural coverage of USGA championships beginning in 2015. The announcement was made today by John Entz, Executive Producer, FOX Sports, and Mark Loomis, Coordinating Golf Producer, FOX Sports. The quartet joins host Joe Buck, analyst Greg Norman, lead studio and on-course analyst Brad Faxon, rules analyst David Fay and reporter/host Holly Sonders who were announced earlier this year.
Flesch serves as a hole announcer for the majority of FOX Sports’ USGA championships telecasts. Inkster is an analyst for the U.S. Women’s Open, in addition to offering on-course insight for the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and select amateur championships. O’Donoghue hosts FOX Sports’ USGA telecasts and amateur coverage, while Pavin serves as event and studio analyst for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
“We‘re extremely proud of the team we’re assembling to call USGA championships on FOX Sports,” said Loomis. “Adding Juli Inkster, Corey Pavin, Steve Flesch and Shane O’Donoghue to an already stout roster helps build a team with a formidable mix of experience, expertise and passion providing play-by-play and analysis for all of the USGA championships FOX Sports is televising next year.”
Inkster has enjoyed tremendous success on the LPGA Tour, claiming seven major championships, including two U.S. Women’s Open victories in 1999 and 2002, and 24 additional LPGA wins to date. A nine-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, she is the all-time American points leader and serves as captain of the 2015 team. She also won three consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships from 1980-1982. Inkster was named the 1984 LPGA Rookie of the Year, and was voted 1999 Female Player of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America. In 2000, she won an ESPY Award for Outstanding Women’s Golf Performer of the Year and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“Juli has been synonymous with USGA golf for decades, and her experience and success in USGA competition runs as deep as anyone’s,” Loomis said. “Juli is so well-respected throughout golf and that will bring our viewers a tremendous amount of insight and access to today’s game and players.”
Flesch, the 1998 PGA Rookie of the Year, holds four PGA Tour victories and one international victory, the 1996 Malaysian Open. He has notched five top-10 finishes in majors throughout his career, with his best finish a tie for fifth in the 2008 Masters. Flesch has also served as an analyst for the Golf Channel, and has 24 years of professional golf experience.
“I have followed Steve’s career since college, both on and off the course,” Loomis said. “He’s played at the highest level for the last two decades, and he also has been able to gain significant television experience along the way. Steve brings us a great mix of information and personal experience combined with an easygoing personality and delivery.”
Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion, spent more than 150 weeks ranked among the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings between 1986 and 1997. He claimed 15 PGA Tour titles, topped the Tour’s money list in 1991 and was named the 1991 PGA Player of the Year. Pavin won at least one event on either the PGA Tour or the international tour nearly every year between 1984 and 1994. In addition, he represented the United States in three Ryder Cups (1991, 1993 and 1995), one Walker Cup (1981) and was named captain of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Pavin continues to compete on the Champions Tour, notching one win in 2012 and four top-10 finishes this year.
“I’ve worked with Corey and always admired his ability to make interesting and informative observations in the snippets of time that golf commentary often allows,” Loomis stated. “His success on the Champions Tour has kept him on the golf course, so we’re lucky to have him put his clubs away for a couple of weeks to discuss what players face as they compete for a USGA championship.”
O’Donoghue is an Irish golf journalist who moves to FOX Sports from CNN, where he hosted since 2011. He previously worked for the Golf Channel, RTE in Ireland and the BBC TV golf on-air team as host, reporter and analyst for marquee events such as The Masters, Open Championships, PGA Championships, Barclays Scottish Open Championships and the Ryder Cup. In 2007, he published a book titled Legends in Their Spare Time, focusing on the men and women who paved the way for today’s Irish golfers.
“Shane’s versatility as a host, interviewer and golf historian will be a huge asset for us across all of our USGA telecasts,” Loomis said. “Shane has longstanding relationships with players from all over the globe and his familiarity with them will go a long way in bringing their stories to American golf fans.”
The United States Golf Association (USGA), which promotes and conserves the spirit of golf through its 13 championships, governance role and health-of-the-game initiatives and FOX, the No.1 network for sports television since 1997, announced a comprehensive multi-media agreement in August 2013 that makes FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 the principal domestic media partners of the USGA and the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open Championships, as well as the USGA’s national amateur championships and other live content, beginning in 2015. The landmark agreement brings premier major championship golf for the first time ever to FOX, home to the country’s greatest sports events, including the World Series, Daytona 500, Super Bowl LI and 2018 and 2022 World Cup.