ESPN Back In Black At Bethpage

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ESPN will tee off 87 hours of multiplatform coverage of the 2009 U.S. Open championship from Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Highlighted by live telecasts on ESPN Thursday June 18 and Friday June 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ET), ESPN's coverage will feature Tiger Woods looking to defend last year's U.S. Open crown from Torrey Pines and the 2002 trophy from the last time the tourney was held at Bethpage Black in 2002.

U.S. Open action will also extend to ESPN HD, ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN International, ESPN.com, ESPN360.com (international and domestic), ESPNDeportes.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN VOD, interactive television and ESPN Mobile TV.
Other key airings include SportsCenter presented by IBMat the U.S. Open preview and highlight shows, plus The Best of the U.S. Open presented by Titleist, which will run in primetime Thursday and Friday, and re-airs of the third and final rounds over the weekend. All telecasts will be in the high-definition format.
Chris Berman, who has covered the U.S. Open on ESPN since 1986, and Mike Tirico will host ESPN's live coverage Thursday and Friday.
The rest of the telecast team comprises Curtis Strange and Andy North, both two-time U.S. Open Champions, who will serve as analysts alongside Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch; hole announcers Terry Gannon, Gary Koch, Bob Murphy, Karl Ravech, Mark Rolfing and Scott Van Pelt; and on-course reporters Bill Kratzert, Dottie Pepper and Judy Rankin.
North and Van Pelt will anchor SportsCenter reports from Bethpage, while Tom Rinaldi and Jimmy Roberts will contribute interviews and reports and ESPN The Magazine columnist Rick Reilly will provide essays and commentaries.
Among the features planned in ESPN's television coverage: "Rocco Mediate: One-year after his U.S. Open Playoff loss to Woods; a look back at 2008 U.S. Open; first tee jitters; how to perform in New York City; Aaron Stewart: Payne Stewart's son, 10 years after his late father's win at Pinehurst; and "North's Notes": Andy North on Bethpage Black.
While Big Apple golf aficionados may be amped for the major's return to the New York metropolitan area, ESPN will be hard-pressed to match the Nielsen performance from its last Open telecast: the total sports network's coverage of the 2008 playoff between Woods-Mediate was the most-viewed golf telecast in cable TV history, scoring a 4.2 household rating, 4.055 households and 4.76 million viewers.

NBC will present  first- and second-round action from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. onJune 18 and 19, and will wind down the  Open over the weekend with live coverage on June 20 and 21.

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