BBC defends Monday Open coverage

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The BBC has defended its television coverage of the rearranged final day of the 144th Open Championship.

The corporation’s live coverage of Monday’s play does not start until 1.45pm, six hours after the action began.

TV schedules needed to be rearranged after bad weather on Friday and Saturday meant that the tournament would conclude on a Monday for only the second time in the championship’s history.

The BBC, the British host broadcaster, would still be live for the teeing off of the final five groups and capture more than five hours of golf, and possibly even more in the event of a play-off.

But that did not prevent criticism from some quarters with BBC One, the channel due to screen the golf, showing pre-recorded programmes such as ’Homes Under The Hammer’, ’Heir Hunters’ and ’Bargain Hunt’ in the morning and early afternoon.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has brought unprecedented coverage of this year’s Open to the widest possible, free-to-air audience – with extended scheduling across all days of competition, including two extra hours on both Friday and Saturday.

“Our key aim today is to fully tell the most important story – who will win the Open – and make the very best use of our resources on this extra day’s play.

“We will be following the leaderboard top 10 from the start of their rounds to their finish plus the continued action from those that started before them – so audiences won’t miss any of the key action as it unfolds.”

On other platforms, the BBC’s red button coverage was not due to begin until 1.30pm. Commentary on Radio Five Live was scheduled to start at 1pm.

The BBC is showing the Open live on TV for the penultimate time with BSkyB having acquired the rights from 2017. The corporation will continue showing highlights only.

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