When TV viewers tune in to the BBC to watch the European Championship in Glasgow this August, it’s going to be a week like no other.
For the first time in history, the inaugural sporting showcase will feature an innovative mixed team event, which is set to see the European Tour and LET stars join forces to do combat over one of golf’s most notorious battlegrounds, Gleneagles.
With three golf tournaments slated to take place from 8-12 August 2018, a men’s, a women’s and a mixed team event, the unique championship is set to be a captivating contest.
For the players, who will be given the rare opportunity to rub shoulders with the stars from a wide spectrum of sports, the prospect of competing in the co-sanctioned event is an exciting one.
For the viewers at home, especially fans of women’s golf, who rarely get the opportunity to see their idols revel in the spotlight, it’s going to be a put the kettle on and stay glued to the couch kind of occasion.
There’s another, somewhat more morose reason, why those who can’t make it to Gleneagles will be well advised to keep their TVs switched on that weekend.
With subscription giant Sky Sports having secured the coverage rights to the Masters, Open Championship and Ricoh Women's British Open (there will still be limited weekend coverage of the two majors championships on the BBC), Glasgow 2018 looks destined to be one of, and potentially the only, golf tournament to be fully broadcast on terrestrial television this year.
That unique nature of the new format may dampen the blow for some golf fans, but the sparsity of free to view golf coverage remains extremely worrying for the future of the game.
Some may point to the highly criticised BBC coverage of the US PGA Championship last July as case in point as to why the sport may have in fact found a more suitable home on pay-to-view television.
The sobering statistic that viewing figures fell by 75 percent when the Open Championship first switched to Sky Sports at Royal Troon two years ago suggests otherwise.
Is the BBC’s coverage of major golfing events out-of-date with modern society? Perhaps.
Does Peter Alliss’s commentary rub some people up the wrong way? Undoubtedly.
Should, at a time when statistics continue to show that golf participation is falling, an entire audience who may not yet know they love the sport, be prevented from tuning into the action? We would say, certainly not.