More changes will be coming to NBC’s broadcast team for its coverage of the PGA Tour in 2023.
Golfweek has learned that Kathryn Tappen, who handled post-round player interviews this season, will be replaced by a revolving door of Golf Channel talent already on site, including Cara Banks and Damon Hack. Tappen declined to comment and neither Banks nor Hack responded to messages.
An NBC spokesperson said it had no further comment beyond its previous statement that it “will be announcing any additional changes to our lineup early in the new year.”
A source told Golfweek that “it’s not good times at NBC,” and termed the move part of “significant cuts to the entire team for budgetary reasons” given the sharp increase in its PGA Tour rights fees. (Golf Channel experienced widespread layoffs in 2020 when it shuttered its headquarters in Orlando and moved staff to Stamford, Connecticut in a cost-cutting measure.)
The use of Golf Channel talent already on site for weekly coverage will allow for better cross promotion between the tournament and news departments.
Tappen filled the shoes of Steve Sands as the lead interviewer this year after being promoted to an anchor role. NBC had lost the rights to the NHL, which she had covered for 15 years, and as a result she had a gaping hole in her schedule. The golf role reunited her with Dan Hicks, whom she worked with for the past six years as a sideline reporter on Notre Dame football telecasts, and occasionally with longtime colleague Mike Tirico.
Tappen last worked on PGA Tour coverage at the Presidents Cup and wasn’t expected to be back on the air for golf until NBC picked up Tour coverage at the Honda Classic. She is scheduled to handle interviews for The Match on Saturday for TNT. A source said she is in discussions for a bigger role with NBC and has interest from TNT and ESPN, which share the current rights to the NHL’s TV deal.
Golfweek was first to report that Gary Koch and Roger Maltbie won’t have their contracts renewed. Golfweek also broke the news that Smylie Kaufman and Brad Faxon will be joining NBC.
Geoff Shackelford first reported in his newsletter, The Quadrilateral, that Tappen wouldn’t be returning in 2023.