Technicians and camera operators represented by IATSE walked off the job before the Golf Channel’s coverage Sunday of the Sony Open in Hawaii, prompting a scramble by the NBC-owned network to preserve the dulcet feel of a golf broadcast.
Elements such as ambient sound from the course or close-up shots of players went out the window, with overhead blimp angles getting extra duty. Studio hosts handled the announcing duties from the network’s Orlando, Fla., headquarters instead of the tournament site in Hawaii. On-air commentators were pressed into alternate service, with photos on social media showing Jerry Foltz operating a camera in a tower above the 16th hole.
In a statement provided to the Associated Press, the Golf Channel said it has been in talks with IATSE for the past nine months. “Those efforts have not yet yielded a resolution, and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable contract,” the statement said. “However, some technicians have chosen to walk off the job today. We have contingency plans in place, and will continue to deliver coverage.”
Network and IATSE reps could not be reached by Deadline due to the holiday.
The instability on Sunday was at least a welcome change of pace from how Saturday morning began, with what turned out to be a false alarm of a nuclear missile headed to Hawaii.
Many golf fans were not pleased with the network’s efforts to carry on during the labor impasse, and expressed their angst on Twitter.
Here was how the network acknowledged the situation on the air: