Sky Drops the Ball on Golf Playoffs

Hopefully there won’t be another ‘balls-up’ in Sky’s PGA Tour coverage tomorrow when Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm go head-to-head in the final round of this year’s FedEx Cup playoffs.

Last weekend’s penultimate contest in the three-tournament series culminated in a thrilling sudden-death six-hole marathon between Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau.

After a titanic see-sawing struggle, they ended in a tie on the 18th hole and prepared to head to the first play-off hole.

And that’s where’s Sky’s coverage stopped if you were unlucky enough to have put your faith in Series Link to capture everything.

Instead of a built-in buffer to extend coverage of the event of a play-off as dramatic as what ensued for the next nail-biting 90 minutes, anyone who wasn’t following the historic match in real time was left high and dry and fuming.

Instead of offering a replay of the fourth round within the next hour or two, Sky had scheduled it for 9.30 that night — which, in my, case would have meant a nine-hour wait.

And the earlier round-four highlights package wasn’t due to air until 5.30.

Surely there will be coverage on Sky Go, Sky’s excellent catch-up streaming service for subscribers, I thought.

And, yes, there it was: round four highlights. But these turned out to be wrongly labelled round three highlights. And full replay coverage wasn’t an option on Sky Go.

For that, I would have required a separate and costly subscription to Sky Sport Now.

In the end, I avoided all news coverage to catch the 5.30 highlights, and to its credit Sky extended this slot to replay all the playoff holes.

But overall this was an appalling case of Sky dropping the ball on one of the most riveting tussles of the golfing year.

Human error is one thing but not having an infrastructural back-up, like Sky Go, is a frustrating oversight that’s inexplicable and unacceptable in today’s streaming-driven era.

A Sky spokesperson says it was a case of the event running longer with delays and a playoff.

“Usually we extend the slot in the system to take this into account. However, it coincided with having to move everyone and everything [because of the lockdown] and didn’t happen. Should be sorted from here on in.”

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