US Open To Feature 30% Fewer Commercial Breaks After 'Overwhelming' Fan Comments

USGA CEO Mike Whan has acted after complaints last year over the amount of commercial breaks during the US Open broadcast

A large US Open blue flag blows in the wind
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fans are set to be able to watch more golf and fewer commercials in the US Open TV coverage this year, with USGA CEO Mike Whan promising that there will be 30% fewer ad breaks after seeing complaints from fans on Twitter last year. 

Whan responded to fan criticism at last year's US Open broadcast on Twitter by saying he is "On it!" and that he'll work with partners "if the amount of interruptions are problematic."

It led to fewer ads during the final round broadcast at The Country Club, where Matt Fitzpatrick sealed his maiden Major title by a single stroke from Will Zalatoris.

A year on and Whan has acted on his words, confirming that this year's TV product from Los Angeles Country Club will be more streamlined for fans with more golf and fewer interruptions. NBC will be showing fewer commercials but they haven't got a reduced fee. "Sorry to NBC," Whan joked.

"Yeah, this is one of the unfortunate outcomes of your CEO being on Twitter," he said.

"I'm sure most of my staff would like me to give up on my social media presence. I am sure my wife would like me to give up on -- she always says, why do you have to read it in the morning that you're an idiot and then go to work? I don't know, somehow it grounds you.

"To me last year when you're here all day and you're in meetings all day and everything else, sometimes you don't really understand the fan experience until midnight and reading social media. I shouldn't admit that because I can only imagine the amount of crazies that will come out this week.

"But I was reading in Boston last year and I thought there was an overwhelming amount of - for me overwhelming, and who knows - of comments about commercial interruptions.

"So I would tell you the really cool thing about that is, first off, I probably shouldn't engage because engaging in social media is like sticking your face first into the fan. That's exactly what I did. But regardless of that, we got together with NBC on Saturday morning and we actually cut our commercial interruptions on Sunday of last year, and really just followed that logic through.

"I'm proud of NBC. They've really cut back on some of their in-broadcast programming. So have we at a similar level. They've got bills to pay and so do we, so I get that.

"Now I can comfortably say - and there will still be millions of people that don't like the commercial interruptions because no matter how low you get it you'll get that feedback. But yeah, we made an effort between both of us to make sure that - when I talked before about being big and wanting the experience to be different, we wanted to make sure the experience is different whether you're here or not here, whether you're watching it on your computer, your phone, or you're watching it on TV.

"It was an effort we made. I think fewer commercial interruptions, especially - we typically the last couple hours don't have any interruptions and everybody forgets that. Thanks to Rolex we stopped commercial interruptions at the very end, but by that point nobody remembers. But I think it'll matter.

"I think if you run a Major like we do, we have a responsibility to make everything feel better. I don't think that's going to stop the Twitter conversation, but I'm really proud of what's happened not just this year but what happened in 24 hours last year.

"But we'll break away from the action 30 percent less than we were doing a year ago. Exactly how many number of ads that are more or less I don't know, but I'm not concerned about the - we did it on that Sunday, so I know it made a difference.

"It made a difference both in terms of viewing, and we made some real choices to reduce, and we have."

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV