ATLANTA -- Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger haven't seen much of
each other since their spirited match in the '93 Ryder Cup ended in
a draw. They will be side-by-side this week at the Tour
Championship, starting their new roles as golf analysts for ABC
The network will be the first to have a three-man booth in golf,
although Azinger and Faldo will only work together with host Mike
Tirico for about a half-dozen tournaments in 2005.
"Their personalities were so divergent," ABC golf producer
Mark Loomis said. "But they believed in what they said, and they
also listened to others. I thought the two of them together will be
Faldo's dry sense of humor and Azinger's sharp wit were on
display during a news conference as ABC announced its talent lineup
for next year.
"I think the timing was good," said Faldo, a six-time major
champion. "I was frustrated with my golf the last couple of years.
I got mentally tired. So I thought if I'm mentally screwed up,
maybe I'll make a great announcer."
Azinger said he was looking forward to having a conversation
"We haven't had a whole lot to say to each other in the last 20
years, so it's going to be fun getting to know Nick a little bit,"
Azinger said. "I know Nick does two things a little slower than I
do. One is probably hit a golf ball, and the other is fixing his
Both signed two-year contracts that coincide with the end of the
PGA Tour's television deal through 2006.
Ian Baker-Finch, who had been working in the booth after Curtis
Strange left in June, will be calling various holes during
tournament coverage. On-course analysts will include Judy Rankin,
Billy Ray Brown and Bob Rosburg.
Steve Melnyk will not return. ABC also used Hal Sutton this
year, but he is not returning in 2005.
It was a difficult decision for Azinger, 44, who has been
working on his game and has only one PGA Tour victory in the last
11 years (2000 Sony Open) since recovering from lymphoma.
"If I was playing great golf, I probably wouldn't be sitting
here," Azinger said. "But the 18th tower just doesn't come
available very often. There's only three of them on the major
Azinger also said ABC's schedule did not conflict too much with
his playing schedule. The only PGA Tour event he will miss because
of network duties is the Nissan Open at Riviera.
He finished 126th on the money list after a bogey-bogey finish
to miss the cut at Innisbrook. Azinger said he would not use a
one-time exemption from the career money list to keep his card, but
would rely on his status as a past champion to play about 15
tournaments a year.