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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
You asked the BBC's head of golf
BBC head of general sports Barbara Slater
Text: 81111

We asked you to send in your comments and questions on the BBC's golf coverage, and were deluged with your emails.

Barbara Slater, the BBC's head of golf, was on hand to respond.

Mrs S Mcilwain, England

Why do you insist on having e-mails read out on air?

I think the e-mails are great, because it enables the audience to connect with the broadcast, and pose questions to the commentary team.

Mark James is a good example - on Friday he was talking about the trees and plants - and within minutes we had messages about horticulture flooding in. So a real dialogue was opened with the audience.

E-mails give the audience the opportunity to participate in the programme.

Alan Cowie, UK

Why do you have to play music all the time - I felt the coverage of the Ryder Cup was spoilt because of this.

In a long transmission - at the Open it sometimes lasts as long as ten hours in a day - it just tells the audience that we are doing something different. Golf can sometimes be relentless and without variation - this gives us that chance to do that.

When we first introduced it we did have a lot of complaints about it fighting against the speaker. We consulted our sound department about the best kind of music to use so that we are not clashing with the speaker's voice.

We particularly try and avoid a strong repetitive beat because it detracts from a voice, and we never put it over live play.

In addition, the number of calls we get from viewers asking where they can buy the music always outweighs the complaints.

Gerry Taylor, England

When are the BBC going to get more Golf tournaments?

This is all about balance. Last year we showed the Seve Trophy for the first time, which was a new venture, and we'll do that again next season.

Next season we have the Masters, the Benson ands Hedges, the Volvo PGA, Loch Lomond, the Open, the Women's Open, the Walker Cup, the Match play and the Seve Trophy.

That is a pretty comprehensive portfolio. Plus we have the best women's event in there - the reason we don't do any more is that we want to do the best tournaments and we think that is right for terrestrial television.

The Tour is huge - and if we covered that it would be at the cost of other sports.

David Shield, England

Why do you have Steve Rider on the buggy as opposed to a proper studio?

We put Steve on the buggy for a specific reason. The players generally did not want to come to the studio, so we had a situation where we had Steve, with all his expertise, never meeting or talking to the players within the programme.

The idea with the buggy is that Steve can go to the players, and it all came about from last year when we tried to have Steve around the course at the Match Play, which meant opening the show from the tenth hole or wherever the players were.

It was difficult to give him all the proper facilities that he needed so we thought of the buggy. He now has monitors, a wireless link to a computer and all the stats he needs.

We never meant it to replace the studio, but it has worked so well having Steve at the heart of the action that we have chosen to keep it.

Ernie Beesley, England

With the exception of the Open, why do you only provide daytime coverage of the events you cover?

We've had comments about highlights before, and again it is getting the mix of programme right.

There are many who say there is already a huge amount of coverage on the BBC, more than other sports - and actually golf gets more that its fair share of airtime.

I think it is reasonable to say that because of the coverage during the day, most people can record the golf during the day.

We have to balance the needs of everybody, and it is also true that when we have put highlights on in the evening, relatively few people have tuned in to see them.

If the BBC has already shown five hours of golf in a day, I'm not sure it's right to expect more airtime for highlights.

Alan Robinson, England

How can you justify taking the golf off the air in the middle of Nick Faldo's game with Michael Campbell? It was live and the Weakest Link was not.

We did have a lot of complaints about the golf coming off the air early. But there were also a lot of complaints from viewers expecting the Weakest Link - it was an even split, so you can't satisfy everybody.

In this instance, there were still two matches waiting to be revolved. We over-ran for 20 minutes to catch the end of the Justin Rose match, but there just came a point where if the golf had continued to overrun, it would have affected the whole of the evening's schedule and disrupted millions of viewers.

Provision was made for a golf update after the Weakest Link, and we were at least able to tell the story of what had happened.

These sort of decisions are never easy and you are never going to please everyone, and there are times when the disruption to a schedule is too great.








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