Ken Brown on Open rights: "It's hard to turn down money"

BBC golf commentator sympathises with R&A's Sky decision

Ken Brown
Ken Brown understands why The R&A sold live Open rights to Sky
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ken Brown is fully understanding of The R&A's decision to award live Open Championship rights to Sky from 2017

BBC golf commentator and analyst Ken Brown is fully understanding of The R&A's decision to award live Open Championship broadcasting right to Sky from 2017.

There was uproar from many quarters earlier this year when the R&A announced a new five-year deal with the pay-per-view broadcaster.

It later emerged, however, that the BBC didn't bid more than £10m - £5m short of the Sky figure - instead choosing to invest £204m to secure Match of the Day football highlights.

And Brown, who has worked on BBC's golf coverage for the best part of 20 years, has refused to condemn The R&A's much-scrutinised decision.

"It's disappointing for us at the BBC that we don't have live Open rights from 2017 onwards, but if you're running a business, you have to decide what's best for you. It's hard today to turn down money.

"I can't speak for the BBC, but I can speak for myself, and if it was my business, I'd have to decide what the best way to go is. If someone is offering twice the amount of money, it's hard to say no.

"It's not as if the Open can stand alone. It has to keep pace with the other three majors.

"The US Open has just done a massive television deal and The Masters can make whatever money it wants to. There's a group of four fantastic events and we have to make sure The Open doesn't slip."

Many feel The R&A's decision to award live rights to Sky was short-sighted given the lack of golf on terrestrial television.

Others, like Golf Monthly editor Mike Harris, believe Sky deserves the rights due to its continual innovation and investment in golf broadcasting and support for the sport on every level.

The R&A has pledged to use the extra money to fund more golf development schemes and initiatives.

One Putt - The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Putting by Ken Brown, published by Hamlyn, £18.99

Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x