Paul Azinger’s time because the lead analyst for NBC Golf is over.
NBC has elected to not re-sign Azinger, ending a four-year stint because the lead voice of the community’s skilled golf protection. The Related Press‘ Doug Ferguson first reported the information, which was subsequently confirmed by Azinger himself.
“I’ve treasured working beside Dan Hicks and the opposite proficient NBC broadcasters, in addition to lead producer Tommy Roy and all these behind the scenes,” Azinger stated in a press release to Steve Eubanks. “They’re a outstanding group, and I’ll miss them tremendously. My due to them and the numerous others who’ve supported me and helped me alongside the way in which throughout my work in tv. I think about what the long run holds for me, for NBC, and for the good sport of golf.”
Azinger stepped into the lead chair in 2019 after a stint in the identical function at Fox, the place he helped head up the community’s USGA championship protection. The previous Ryder Cup captain was a well-liked rent among the many Fox group, the place his work ethic and team-first method served was welcomed.
He joined NBC because the successor to legendary golf analyst Johnny Miller, who retired upon the completion of the 2018 season after 29 years within the lead chair. On the time, Azinger’s hiring was largely lauded within the sport, and he was considered as a protected guess to hold the torch ahead for the community.
Golf’s stakeholders clearly agreed. In 2020, solely Azinger’s second yr within the chair, NBC signed a nine-year, multi-billion-dollar TV rights extension with the PGA Tour, guaranteeing the community rights to reside golf by the tip of the last decade. Simply months later, the community additionally wrangled free the USGA TV rights from Fox, returning the U.S. Open to its longtime house on NBC.
On the time, it appeared Azinger was on a path to changing into the preeminent analyst in golf, succeeding Miller’s legacy. However as it might prove, these good emotions have been short-lived. As time wore on, public opinion turned in opposition to Azinger’s folksy, typically instinct-driven evaluation. On greater than a handful of events, sharp viewers identified that his evaluation was, actually, at odds with simply accessible statistics or data. In crucial moments, audiences grew annoyed together with his tendency to overgeneralize utilizing quips and aphorisms moderately than data.
Because the criticism mounted, Azinger appeared to go on the defensive, incessantly deriding and dismissing the “media” throughout NBC’s protection — a curious determination contemplating his function as arguably golf media’s preeminent voice. The state of affairs got here to a head on the Ryder Cup, the place Azinger entered himself into the story surrounding Patrick Cantlay’s purported hatless protest by ripping the report as “clickbait rubbish,” an allegation that subsequent reporting proved unfaithful.
NBC individually confirmed the information to GOLF.com and supplied a press release of its personal.
“We need to thank Paul for his work with us over the past 5 years,” a community spokesperson stated. “His insights, work ethic and relationships within the golf business are well-known, and we respect what he delivered to our group. We want Paul the most effective in his future endeavors.”
NBC’s determination to maneuver on from Azinger represents simply the most recent in a stretch of golf personnel modifications for the community, which elected to not renew the contracts of longtime analysts Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch final yr, whereas additionally shifting lead interviewer Kathryn Tappen again to varsity soccer. The community’s youth motion in golf matches a number of the latest modifications it has made throughout its sports activities portfolio, which is anchored by veteran Mike Tirico however has steadily lurched youthful with the addition and promotion of voices like Maria Taylor, Noah Eagle, Chris Simms and Jac Collinsworth lately.
NBC didn’t instantly point out who was in line to succeed Azinger, however we may discover out his successor at this month’s Hero World Problem, the identical match NBC introduced its staffing modifications in 2022.