This month saw The Open Championship return to Royal Birkdale Golf Course for the 10th time, marking the competitions 146th edition since its establishment in 1860.
Our team arrived on site on Friday 14th July to get everything rigged and ready in advance of the broadcaster rehearsals. It was a huge operation – in conjunction with CTV we supplied six handhelds for ETP, a Steadicam, four NBC cameras, three TV Asahi cameras, two Sky Sports cameras, one Sky Sports News camera, two cameras going into the marquee truck, four high speeds (two for ETP, one for NBC and one for Sky Sports), plus a wire cam and a fixed-wing aircraft beauty shot camera. We also distributed all tally’s over IP on TLS by hooking up to CTV’s Axon Cerebrum system and used an enhanced GPS tracking system so that everybody can see where the cameras are.
Another key component of our operation was data switching – through the use of our camera control receivers from VideoSys we were able to intelligently switch between two transmit sites for UHF camera control data. We’ve only ever used one transmit site before but this way we were able to ensure that cameras weren’t affected if we had to bring a hoist down, for example.
In terms of frequencies we used everything in the 2.5GHz band, and some of the 3.5GHz band too. A comprehensive frequency plan was put together with OFCOM to make sure that we could fit in amongst a lot of news broadcasters like Sky, BBC, ITV and ITN who have their own annually licensed channels (some of which OFCOM even have to take back for this event).
Competition took place between 20th – 23rd July, and it was USA duo Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar who led at the end of Day One after each shooting five under par over eighteen holes. On Day Two the weather conditions took a real turn for the worse, with the grandstands having to be evacuated thanks to an electrical thunderstorm, yet Spieth managed to score a birdie and secure his place at the top of the leader board while Kuchar scored a bogey.
On Day Three South Africa’s Branden Grace shot eight under par, and on Day Four China’s Haotong Li shot seven under par, but their astonishing efforts were cancelled out by the consistency of Spieth who carried his winning ways from Day One through to Day Four. At the end of the competition Spieth emerged victorious, shooting twelve under par over four days to earn himself the biggest first-place purse in Open Championship history – a staggering total of $1,845,000.
Next year The 147th Open will be played at Carnoustie Golf Course in Scotland, where the competition returns for the first time since 2007.