Sky Sports Lose The USPGA Tour To The New Setanta Golf Channel

Sadly for me the USPGA Tour can no longer be found on Sky Sports. Instead I find a new programme presented by Rob Lee and Di Stewart, showing the European highlights Tour and the features that used to be on World of Golf.

It was defintely a shock, but unfortuanately the news for me and everyone else in the UK is that as of January 2007 I can no longer relax on a Sunday night and tune into the last round of a live USPGA event.

Well not strictly true!

I can of course sign up to the new Setanta Golf channel hosted by Ronan Rafferty and Dominik Holyer at for £15 a month, in fact for Sky customers they are currently discounting the first three months to the tune of £10 a month. Though I did ring Setanta just down the road from me in Kirkcaldy, Fife to clarify that I would in fact be signing up a minimum one year contract. Thus if I want the same flexibility I had last year to watch any event on the European or USPGA Tour I need to find an extra £165!

So the big question is can I live without my fix of USPGA Tour golf?

With Setanta Golf I get 40 events on the main tour, including THE PLAYERS Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship, THE TOUR Championship and The Presidents Cup. In addition they offer coverage of events on the Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.

This has to be weighed up against Sky Sports coverage, if I’m not willing to spend the extra £165.

Sky Sports will be covering the US Open at Oakmont and the US PGA Championship from Southern Hills CC,Tulsa. In fact when I spoke to Sky they were also quick to point out the they will be broadcasting the 4 World Golf Championships in Arizona, Miami, Akron and Hong Kong. Not bad as I would hate not to watch all the majors (the Open and Masters continue to be on the BBC). Sky will also cover the Solheim Cup in September and the Ryder Cup in 2008.

Further research shows that Setanta’s package actually includes 9 sports channels, including Scottish Premier League matches, hurling, Gaelic football, MLB, NCL, CFL, NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football to name just some of the sports.

The problem is that I don’t care too much for the Canadian Football League or Major League Baseball – not enough to pay for it. All I really care about is watching the USPGA Tour from the comfort of my armchair. I guess the same is true of a die hard Celtic or Rangers fan, subscribing to Setanta, regardless of what else is offered.

Ultimately I have a decision to make, as it seems from reading John Plunkett’s blog in the Guardian, that the Setanta deal is for six years! It makes an interesting read and I thought this paragraph hit the nail on the head.

“Setanta will be looking to build its audience base in a number of ways – football fans who have never subscribed to Sky for whom 46 live Premier League matches a season is plenty; Sky subscribers who love football (and golf) so much that they will subscribe to both; and disillusioned Sky subscribers who want to save some cash but still want more live sport than the terrestrials have to offer.”

I have also looked to the forums to help me make my decision. It seems that there are many in the same boat as me – just not willing to pay an extra £15 a month for the Setanta Sports channels. The forum member mlt11 on (comment 17) points out the following:

“If Tiger Woods plays the same events in 2007 as he did in 2006 he will play in just 8 US Tour events on Setanta – less than one tournament every 6 weeks. Regular US tour events only drew around 30,000 to 35,000 viewers on Sky Sports.”

Obviously this was largely due to the death of his father, but the nevertheless it will be interesting to see how many Setanta covered events he plays in 2007. It could only be another 2 or 3.

If this forum is anything to go by, there are a lot of unhappy Sky customers – especially the dedicated football and golf fans.

Ultimately there is still too much quality golf coverage on Sky for a fan like myself to unsubscribe. Without doubt if I do decide to pay the extra for the USPGA coverage on Setanta I will be indeed be in the minority!

For the time being I will be listening to the live coverage and expert analysis on the PGA TOUR Network via XM Satellite Radio and catching up on the highlights show on Channel Five on Monday night.

To subscribe to SkySports click here.

To subscribe to Setanta click here.

One Response to “Sky Sports Lose The USPGA Tour To The New Setanta Golf Channel”

  1. […] Following my blog on the fact Sky Sports have lost the USPGA Tour to the new Setanta Golf Channel I thought it would be useful to comment on Sky’s new offering. In place of their two previous golf programmes, one exclusively for the European Tour and the other for the USPGA, comes a new one called “Golf Night” for 2007, broadcast Thursday through to Sunday from 8pm.” […]

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