What’s worth posting now:
== At the very least, Dottie Pepper won’t have to keep looking over her shoulder for Bill Murray showing up this weekend showing in the Pacific Palisades.
During last weekend’s visit to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro Am, Pepper’s task as the CBS course reporter was to interview players who came in her path. Celebrities counted as players.
So there was crowd-favorite Murray, at the 15th tee, who then … see above.
Pepper said it may have looked fun, but it was a little frightening as her electronic backpack caught onto to something and kind of twisted her around.
How did she recover?
“Advil and red wine,” she said Thursday morning from Riviera Country Club, the site of the PGA’s Northern Trust Open.
That’s the fact, Jack.
“I can’t tell you how much data my cellphone used when that all blew up,” said Pepper, in her first year of working as the course reporter for CBS. “It must be part of my rookie orientation.”
Golf Channel continues Northern Trust Open coverage Friday (2-to-5 p.m., replayed from 5:30-to-8:30 p.m.) before CBS jumps in from noon-to-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the final two rounds on KCBS-Channel 2 (Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo in the 18th tower, Ian Baker-Finch at the 17th, Gary McCord at the 16th, and Pepper on course following whatever group she gets assigned to track down — often the leaders — and Peter Kostis also on course to follow the final group.
Pepper, hired to fill the course reporter job when David Feherty defected to NBC a few months ago, was taping a segment Thursday for her weekend “Pep Talk” feature where she interviews players and people not only about things that come to mind when they visit Riviera, but also veering off into the history of collegiate golf at the course over the years. She’ll touch on Eddie Merrins’ days at UCLA and lead into Jordan Spieth’s NCAA championship win for Texas in 2012.
(Pepper also talks about how she sees the tournament unfolding at Riviera).
Golf Channel goes live Saturday and Sunday from 10-to-11:30 a.m., then replays the CBS coverage on Sunday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The Golf Channel team: Terry Gannon and Curt Byrum in the main tower, Matt Gogel and Jim Gallagher Jr. in the other towers, Billy Ray Brown on the course and Angela Akins doing interviews.
== Meanwhile, Greg Norman still doesn’t know why Fox canned him on its golf coverage after just one year.
== Not to be overlooked from news that happened late last week: Congrats to Jay Bilas, an ESPN college basketball analyst since 1994 and in possession of a contract signed through 2023, who was named winner of the 2016 Curt Gowdy Media Award for his contributions to the game. He will be honored during the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies in September.
“I am honored beyond words,” Bilas said in an ESPN release last Friday. “I am so grateful to be the recipient of such a prestigious award … My sincere thanks to the Hall of Fame for this wonderful honor.”
Added ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting: “Jay is as well-rounded of an analyst as there is in the business. He educates, analyzes, entertains and engages the fan every time he is on the air. He joins a very prestigious group and is well deserving of this award.”
Bilas, born in San Pedro and the Bay League MVP when he was at Rolling Hills High (now named Peninsula High), averaging 23.5 points and 13.5 rebounds a game as a senior.
One of the first recruits of Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Bilas helped the Blue Devils to the 1986 national title game. He got a political science degree at the school, played professional in Italy and Spain, was an assistant for Krzyzewski at Duke from 1990-92 as he was getting a law degree and eventually got into broadcasting at Duke as a radio color commentator in 1993. Two years later, he was at ESPN. Bilas also was able to call games during the NCAA college basketball tournament for CBS from 2003-2010, paired with Dick Enberg most of the time.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife and two children, also wrote the 2013 book, “Toughness: Developing True Strength on and off the Court.”
Bilas, who did Wednesday’s Duke-North Carolina game on ESPN, rejoins Dan Shulman for the Kentucky game at Texas A&M on Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPN).
Gowdy, the award’s namesake, was the former NBC sportscaster who served for seven years as president of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He received the first award in 1990.
An electronic and print media member are selected each season.
Among the previous electronic members voted in are Chick Hearn (1992), Enberg (1995), Marv Albert (1997), Dick Vitale (1998), Bob Costas (1999) and Jim Nantz (2002).
David Aldridge, the longtime writer who also does reporting for ESPN, was given the award in the print media category. Previous print winners were Mark Heisler (2006), Bob Ryan (1997), Peter Vecsey (2009), Jackie MacMullen (2010) and John Feinstein (2013).
== Also of note: Mike Wise, a senior writer for ESPN’s upcoming TheUndefeated.com, will get the 2016 Public Sector Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The former Washington Post columnist has written extensive pieces on why the local NFL team should have to change its name.
And Verne Lundquist will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the 37th annual Emmy Awards ceremony in New York on May 10.
== The college basketball TV games of interest coming up:
= Dave Pasch and Bill Walton have UCLA’s game at Pauley Pavilion against Utah (ESPN2, Thursday at 7 p.m.)
= Steve Lavin will be the analyst at Pauley Pavilion when FS1 has the UCLA-Colorado on Saturday at 8 p.m. The play-by-play man? They still haven’t announced one. Gus Johnson is doing Butler-Villanova that same day, while Joe Davis is calling Xavier-Georgetown. Lavin’s guess: It’ll be Aaron Goldsmith.
= Lavin is sure Spero Dedes will join him to call USC-Utah at Galen Center on Sunday (Pac-12 Network, 3 p.m.)
= Long Beach State gets a TV game against Cal State Fullerton for Prime Ticket (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
= Time Warner Cable SportsNet has Pepperdine vs. USF (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Loyola Marymount vs. USF (Saturday at 1 p.m.)
== Other Pac-12 Network programming of note:
= Elise Woodward and Mary Murphy call UCLA’s womens basketball game at Oregon (Friday, 6 p.m.) while Ann Schatz and Chiney Ogwumike do USC at Oregon State (Friday, 8 p.m.)
= Kevin Barnett and Don Shaw have the call of UCLA men’s volleyball at Stanford (Sunday, 11 a.m.)
= Jim Watson and Samantha Peszek have UCLA gymnastics at Washington (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
= Schatz and Murphy team up to call UCLA women’s basketball at Oregon State (Sunday, 6 p.m.)
= Dedes and Mike Montgomery have Stanford at Washington men’s basketball (Saturday 5 p.m.) followed by Roxy Bernstein and Bill Walton doing Oregon State at Oregon (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
== Bill Simmons has a new website. We are all supposed to supportive of this new venture. The name of the site? It’s just not ringing any bells.
== Remember way back when as Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West might carry a Lakers or Kings game on one network, and the other network would do an alternate “courtside view” or “rinkside” view of the same game with floor level seats, to get another visual experience?
ESPN tried that kind of thing with the Feb. 16 Michigan-Ohio State basketball game. Most weren’t crazy about it.
An ESPN spokesperson told the Detroit News: “We will review all feedback after the game and continue to learn and provide fans with the best possible viewing experience. ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.”
The risk may have been not doing some research on those who’ve already tried it.
== Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Lisa Salters have the Clippers’ Staples Center game against Golden State (Channel 7, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.). That’s after Marv Albert, Grant Hill and Stacey Dales do the call on the Clippers’ Staples Center game against San Antonio (TNT, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.)
== Dave Pasch and Jon Barry have the Lakers at Chicago for ESPN (Sunday, 5 p.m., which is also on TWC SportsNet).
And next episode of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Edition 227, Tuesday, 10 p.m.) includes an Andrea Kremer sit-down with Kobe Bryant. An HBO press release says the interview will include information about Bryant’s “plans to run a multimedia company that tells sports stories” and the new venture “is already well underway.” Any doubt they’re talking about ThePlayersTribune.com, which we already know much about?
Kremer says it has nothing to do with The Players’ Tribune but is another project that he’ll reveal. Stay tuned.
== The Daytona 500 TV schedule:
= Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds call the race (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11) with Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum in the pits. The one-hour pre race has Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip with Darrell Waltrip and Gordon.
In a conference call Thursday, Gordon said of his first week in the Fox broadcast booth after just retiring from racing: “I don’t think anyone, certainly the drivers and competitors, really have an idea just how much goes into these broadcasts, and that’s been the most impressive part to me. I feel like I moved from an elite race team to an elite broadcast team because it’s so similar in the way they prepare – in the information that’s being gathered; everybody’s idea-sharing; there are just all these different departments that are bringing all these unique things together to then bring it to the fans, and it’s quite an overwhelming undertaking .But it’s really impressive — being part of it, and I’m really honored to be part of it.”
Joy gave Gordon an A-plus grade thus far in enthusiasm, effort and preparation.
“We don’t worry about the mechanics of broadcasting because we didn’t hire him to be a professional broadcaster,” said Joy. “We have a couple of those on staff. You know we want his knowledge and his enthusiasm, and I think already the short answer is we’re getting a lot more than we bargained for.”
Also part of the Daytona coverage: The Can-Am Duals, Thursday, 4 p.m., FS1; NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200 at Daytona, Friday, 4:30 p.m., FS1; NASCAR Xfinity Series 300 at Daytona, Saturday, 12:30 p.m., FS1
== Don’t worry: NBC’s annual “Hockey Day in American” on Sunday has no obligations for the Kings or Ducks to participate.
The triple-header lined up on NBC and NBCSN is highlighted on the Chicago-Minnesota outdoor game from the University of Minnesota football stadium (12:30 p.m., Channel 4, with Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire). Prior to that is Buffalo playing host to PIttsburgh (Channel 4, 9:30 a.m., John Forslund and Brian Boucher) and after it is Detroit at the N.Y. Rangers (4 p.m., NBCSN, Kenny Albert and Joe Micheletti).
As part of the day-long feature stories NBC plans to insert between games and periods is one on Fort Wayne Komets’ 90-year-old play-by-play man Bob Chase, who is in his 63rd season with the ECHL team. Emrick has said the Chase was his inspiration to get into broadcasting. Emrick visited Chase last month and joined him on a call of a game.
== NBC and NBCSN continues coverage of the International Skating Union’s Four Continents Figure Skating Championships from Chinese Taipei with the ladies’ free skate on Saturday (1 p.m., Channel 4). Andrea Joyce, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are on the call.
== The U.S. women’s national soccer team, which is the defending World Cup champions and winners of the last three Olympic gold medals in the sport, still has to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics?
A U.S. win in the 2016 CONCACAF qualifying tournament against Trinidad & Tobago on Friday means they’re in, so NBCSN covers it in Houston (5:30 p.m., JP Dellacamera, Kate Markgraf). The U.S. would then advance to the qualifying final, possibly against Canada (Sunday at 2 p.m., NBCSN).
== NBCSN’s Todd Harris, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson, Tim Hutchings and Adam Nelson are on the call of the 109th Millrose Games on Saturday from Madison Square Garden in New York (Saturday, 1 p.m.) for two live hours that includes Allyson Felix running in the women’s 60 meters and Lolo Jones in the women’s 60 meter hurdles. Buffalo Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin competes in the long jump and men’s 60 meters.
== Erin Andrews has done a very animated interview on video with HuffPost on “how to stay healthy with a fast-paced, demanding lifestyle.”
US Weekly did more transcribing and … naw, it’s just not that interesting.
== And finally:
ESPN says that Linda Cohn will anchor “SportsCenter” for the 5,000th time in her career on Sunday at 5 a.m., “by far the most of any anchor in ESPN’s 36-year history.”
We’re not sure how to frame this.
Still crazy after all these 23 years? (She did her first on July 11, 1992, paired with Chris Myers. Looking a bit different, eh?)
She’s been here this long and she hasn’t gotten anything better than a bunch of “SportsCenter” repeats?
And how did they determine this was No. 5,000?
The 56-year-old Cohn said she was sitting one day with Norby Williamson, the ESPN exec VP of production, and “we were just talking about stuff, and then he turned to me … and he said, ‘You know what, Linda?’ … He might have called me ‘L Co’ … but he said, ‘I think you’ve done the most ‘SportsCenters’ here ever,’ … he took out a pen and paper, the old fashioned way, and he’s like, ‘How many years have you been here,’ and I’m like, ’23 and a half,’ and he’s like, ‘OK, let’s figure this all out.’ …
“He starts doing the math in front of me to get a rough idea, and that’s how he got the number 5,000, and we just sort of looked at my schedule, and this happened a few months ago when he was doing this, and I’m sitting across from him, and he’s got the pad and paper, and he looked at my schedule, and he’s like, ‘You know what, your 5,000th is going to be on this day, Sunday the 21st,’ and there it is. History was born.”
ESPN reports that more than 60,000 “SportsCenters” have aired since the network launched in September, 1979.