Why Is The Masters Not On BBC?

The BBC has highlights-only TV coverage after Sky Sports signed an exclusive rights deal in 2019

Masters camera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sadly for terrestrial TV golf fans, the BBC's golfing days are numbered if not gone forever. 2020 marked the first time since 1955 that the BBC showed precisely zero live Major championship golf on our television screens.

The good old days

Viewers of a particular vintage will fondly remember Steve Rider’s hair blowing about in the wind in the BBC’s open-sided Augusta booth, with Peter Alliss deliciously describing iconic moments like Sandy Lyle’s 7-iron in 1988 as the ball trundled back down the slope to makeable range – “this could spin; this could go”.

Why Is The Masters Not On BBC?

The 1990s BBC golf dream team - Alex Hay, Peter Alliss & Steve Rider (Photo: Getty Images)

Even in 2019, there was sufficient live coverage over the weekend for non-Sky customers to get a more than healthy fix of Tiger’s remarkable victory.

But from 2020, nothing, I’m afraid. So, why is the Masters not on BBC this year? It's because, in 2019, Sky signed an exclusive deal with Masters tournament officials.

Why Is The Masters Not On BBC?

Gary Lineker was the BBC's live Masters anchor for a short spell (Photo: Getty Images)

So this year, if you want to watch live coverage of The Masters in the UK, it will only be via Sky Sports. It will be showing live coverage of all four days on its Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports The Masters channels. There's also an official app featuring a live blog, live updates from Amen Corner, rolling highlights, and featured groups. You'll also find an archive full of footage from past Masters Tournaments and other special features. 

If you don’t have Sky, don’t despair - a Now TV Sky Sports Pass is an excellent alternative for those who don’t want to commit to a long-term contract.

You can get a day pass giving you access to all 11 Sky Sports Channels, which will stream on pretty much every modern device.

At the time of writing, the prices were £11.98 for a day pass.

BBC TV highlights and live radio

BBC will still offer TV highlights packages, however.

These will go out at the following times on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and mobile app:

Friday 8th - Round One highlights 12.15am

Saturday 9th - Round Two highlights 12.05am

Sunday 10th - Round Three highlights tbc

Monday 11th -  Final Round highlights tbc

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response