CBS Adds HD Handhelds to Masters Golf

It's been 13 years since CBS started to experiment with golf coverage of the Masters in HD. In early April, its analog and HD production of the 2006 Masters will be technically and editorially meshed for the 4th year in a row, providing 18-hole coverage in 1080i with full 5.1 surround sound.

For the analog and HD formats and both aspect ratios, viewers will hear the same announcers and see nearly identical camera angles, replays and graphics (we say "nearly identical" because those watching in 16:9 will see a bit more than the 4:3 crowd).

Overall, CBS Sports will add a dozen HD cameras to its coverage this year--for a total of 54 cameras--including (apparently for the first time) up to 10 handheld HD cameras, according to published reports. As usual, the 1080i feed will be downconverted for the network's analog broadcast.

The Masters has seen its share of controversy in recent years, especially when the Augusta National Golf Club had steadfastly refused to admit women and other minorities. Last year it changed the configurations of six of its holes -- a move unexpectedly criticized by two past Masters champions and golf legends, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. The CBS broadcasts will run April 6-9, mostly in the afternoon hours (EST), live from Augusta, Ga.