Golf … it’s what’s for dinner

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Golf Channel has the first PGA Tour event of the season — the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii that airs Thursday to Sunday at 3 p.m., produced in high def for the first time. It repeats at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Kelly Tilghman returns as the play-by-play/host, with Nick Faldo joined by Mark Rolfing in the broadcast booth. Frank Nobiolo is on the course, with Jerry Foltz and Billy Ray Brown. Steve Sands and Rich Lerner are part of the post-round show. The opening drive ceremonies are also on Golf Channel at noon Thursday.

As for the HD coverage: Golf Channel, which Arnold Palmer helped fund and launch in 1995, has total coverage of the first three PGA events of the season and plans more than 2,100 hours of HD during tournaments, original programming (such as Hankey Haney’s “Project Barkley”) and news this year, it says. After the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Golf Channel moves to the Sony Open (also in Hawaii) and then the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs.

“Golf benefits from HD more than almost any sport,” said Golf Channel president Page Thompson. “For the first time, viewers will be able to fully appreciate the stunning beauty of Hawaiian courses like at Kapalua and Turtle Bay.”

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