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Golf Channel to offer 3-D coverage of Sony Open in January

The Golf Channel is taking a big new bet on 3-D technology. The network will air the Sony Open in Hawaii, Jan 15-16, with 16 hours (eight of those live) of 3-D coverage from the Waialae Country Club in Oahu, HI.

The Golf Channel will work in conjunction with Comcast, production company NEP Superhsooters and Sony on a production that will present views from the second green, at the third and fourth holes, and the 16th green, at holes 17 and 18. The broadcasts will use six Element Technica rigs equipped with Sony 3-D cameras.

The 3-D schedule will offer live coverage from 5 to 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 15, followed by a two-hour encore, with a return to live action from 9 to 11 p.m., and then another reair. The channel will deliver a similar eight-hour schedule on Sunday, the tournament’s final day, with the tee time for the first live, two-hour window moving from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Tom Stathakes, senior vice president of programming, production and operations at the Golf Channel, said the Sony Open will be the first co-sponsored PGA Tour event ever to be broadcast in 3-D.

The coverage from Hawaii will actually mark the second time the sport has been broadcast in 3-D. Last April, ESPN and PACE, with Sony supplying the cameras and serving as the sponsor of the telecast, produced 3-D views of select holes at the Masters from the Augusta National Golf Club. It was made available through Comcast to such other distributors as Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Canada’s Shaw Communications and a pair of European operators.

According to PGA Tour representatives, the 3-D feed would also be made available to its broadcast partners around the world with 3-D capabilities.