Behind the Mic: Azinger Replaces Norman as Lead Fox Golf Analyst; ESPN’s Rowe, Mortensen Battle Cancer

Paul Azinger has taken the Fox Sports seat vacated last month by Greg Norman. Also, ESPN's Holly Rowe and Chris Mortensen announce they are battling cancer, Mike Francesa says he will leave in 2017, David Feherty debuts on NBC/Golf Channel, and more

Paul Azinger, winner of the 1993 PGA Championship and veteran broadcaster, has joined Fox Sports as lead analyst for its golf coverage, beginning in 2016. Azinger replaces Greg Norman, who split with Fox last month, and joins seven-time Emmy Award-winning announcer Joe Buck and analyst Brad Faxon in the 18th Tower for Fox Sports’ USGA Championship telecasts. In his new role at Fox Sports, Azinger is scheduled to broadcast the 116th U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club, the U.S. Women’s Open at Cordevalle, and the U.S. Senior Open at Scioto Country Club. He will also broadcast the 116th U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club and the 2017 Walker Cup Match at Los Angeles Country Club

Paul Azinger has been named Fox Sports' lead golf analyst

Paul Azinger has been named Fox Sports’ lead golf analyst

A 30-year PGA Tour veteran, Azinger was a 12-time winner on the tour (highlighted by his triumph at the 1993 PGA Championship at Inverness Club), a fourtime US Ryder Cup team selection (and captained the 2008 squad to victory), and earned PGA Tour Player of the Year honors in 1987. Azinger began his broadcasting career serving as an analyst for ABC’s PGA Tour golf coverage for 2005 and 2006, quickly becoming one of the most well-respected voices in the industry. He remained at ESPN through 2015 and has called early round coverage of the U.S. Open Championship, anchored coverage of the British Open Championship and contributed to early rounds of Masters Tournament coverage…

…New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XLIV-winning head coach Sean Payton, New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. join CBS Sports as guest analysts on the CBS Television Network’s Super Bowl pre-game show, THE SUPER BOWL TODAY, on February 7

…Holly Rowe – who joined ESPN on a regular basis in 1998, primarily covers college football, men’s and women’s’ college basketball and softball as a reporter, as well as the NBA and WNBA – announced on Tuesday she would undergo her second surgery for a chest tumor. Rowe tweeted late Tuesday night that the operation “went well,” sharing a photo of her hospital room and a television tuned to a college basketball game. Rowe has been with ESPN since 1998 and has also covered the NBA, WNBA and softball…

…The news or Rowe’s second surgery comes less than three weeks after longtime ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen announced he has been diagnosed with throat cancer and would be taking a break from his duties to begin treatment. Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 after a career at several newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was an investigative reporter and covered the Braves and Falcons and the NFL. He won the George Polk Award for reporting in 1987. (ESPN)…

…Prominent New York City radio personality Mike Francesa told FOX Sports’ Katie Nolan on this week’s GARBAGE TIME PODCAST that he is leaving WFAN, his home since 1987, at the end of 2017. While no official announcement has been made by either Francesa or CBS Radio, Francesa told Nolan that he had talks with CBS about leaving before his contract is up but they couldn’t settle on “a reasonable way out.”…

…Ramona Shelburne has reached a new, multi-year agreement to remain at ESPN which will feature her across all of ESPN’s platforms, with an emphasis on the NBA. Shelburne has been a regular contributor to the network’s NBA coverage on ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN Radio, and SportsCenter since joining ESPN in 2009. Beginning in February, she will expand her role as an LA-based reporter and analyst on SportsCenter and be a regular contributor on ESPN’s The Jump—a new NBA daily show hosted by Rachel Nichols, which debuts on Feb. 18. Shelburne will also make appearances on shows across ESPN networks like Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, Outside the Lines, SportsNation, and NBA Tonight as well as write for espnW. Additionally, she will be pairing with SportsNation’s host Michelle Beadle for a new national radio show, Beadle & Shelburne,  which will premiere Feb. 21, airing Noon – 2 p.m. ET from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios. Shelburne has been a regular radio host for ESPNLosAngeles 710 since 2010…

…Emmy-nominated television host David Feherty makes his live tournament debut this week as part of Golf Channel and NBC’s broadcast team at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, (Feb. 4-7). Feherty is joining NBC Sports Group exclusively in 2016, bringing nearly 20 years of experience as an on-course reporter at CBS following his retirement from professional golf in 1996…

…A fixture on SportsCenter for nearly a quarter of a century, Linda Cohn will reach a milestone with ESPN’s signature news and information program in February. Cohn, who has hosted more editions of SportsCenter than anyone in the 36-year history of the program, will anchor her 5,000th show on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 8 a.m. ET on ESPN. More than 60,000 SportsCenters have aired since ESPN was launched in September of 1979. Cohn anchored her first SportsCenter on July 11, 1992, a 2 a.m. program in which she was paired with former ESPN anchor Chris Myers, now with Fox Sports…

After the recent shift of UFC 196 scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6 becoming FS1 UFC FIGHT NIGHT: HENDRICKS VS. THOMPSON, FOX Sports has named UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping as analysts alongside FOX Sports host Karyn Bryant in the FOX Sports Los Angeles studios for FS1 UFC FIGHT NIGHT: HENDRICKS VS. THOMPSON live on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Feb. 6. Jon Anik and Brian Stann call the fights on FS1 live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, while Victor Davila, Mario Delgado and Erik Perez make the call in Spanish on FOX Deportes….

…On Feb. 3, NBA and college baskeball analysts mixed it up behind the mic on two NBA games on ESPN and two college basketball games on ESPN2. Each game had one NBA analyst and one college basketball analyst on the call. The first game on ESPN2 featured Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Jeff Van Gundy courtside for the ACC tilt showcasing No. 25 Notre Dame at No. 15 Miami (Fla.). The college action continued later that night in Big 12 country with Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla and Jon Barry on the call of instate matchup Kansas State at No. 4 Kansas. NBA action on ESPN featured Mike Breen, Doug Collins and Jay Bilas providing commentary for Golden State Warriors visiting the Washington Wizards. Dave Pasch, along with analysts Mark Jackson and Jay Williams joined to call the Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers game at 10:30 p.m.  Studio for all the games came from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center with host Rece Davis, along with analysts Doris Burke, Jalen Rose and Williams, before he headed across the street to the Staples Center to the call the Clippers game…

…Legendary pro wrestling commentator Jim Ross will join AXS TV’s hit series ‘New Japan Pro Wrestling’ (NJPW) to call play-by-play commentary alongside NJPW veteran and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett beginning Friday, March 4. In Ross’ first episode, he and Barnett will call the action for matches from Wrestling Dontaku 2015. NJPW, which premiered its 52-episode second season on AXS TV Jan. 15, airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET. A WWE Hall of Famer, Ross was known as the voice of WWE for nearly two decades, bringing his incomparable broadcasting talent to hundreds of TV and pay-per-view broadcasts for the organization. No stranger to New Japan Pro Wrestling, Oklahoma native Ross also called the first-ever, live English-language broadcast of NJPW with Wrestle Kingdom 9 in 2015…

…Legendary golf coach and #1 bestselling author Hank Haney has signed a new multi-year deal that will expand the presence of his  radio show on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. As of Jan. 27, Hank Haney Golf Radio, with Hank and other leading instructors and golf personalities, began airing seven days a week from 10:00 to 11:00 am ET. Hank Haney Golf Radio first debuted on SiriusXM in January of 2014, airing every Saturday and Sunday. Haney is president of Hank Haney Golf Inc., which owns and operates five golf facilities in Texas.  While he is best known for coaching Tiger Woods from 2004 to 2010, a span in which Woods won six major titles and was ranked #1 in the world, Haney has instructed over 200 touring professionals from the PGA TOUR, LPGA, Champions Tour, as well as the European, Japan, Australian and Asian Tours.  His students have won every major championship in professional golf, as well as the most significant events in amateur and junior golf…

…Five journalists have joined the editorial staff of The Undefeated, ESPN’s new content initiative for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture. The new additions include two writers, Lonnae O’Neal and Clinton Yates of The Washington Post, and three editors – Latoya Peterson, an editor-at-large at Fusion, Crain’s Chicago Business managing editor Steve Reiss, and Danyel Smith, former editor-in-chief at VIBE magazine…

…ESPN senior writer Dan Rafael has signed a new, multi-year agreement to remain at ESPN as the company’s lead boxing multimedia reporter and columnist.  Under the new agreement, Rafael will continue to serve as boxing writer and analyst for ESPN.com and all digital properties, contribute to ESPN The Magazine, and appear on SportsCenter and other ESPN television and audio shows. He will also collaborate with the network’s boxing commentators on special coverage of major boxing events throughout the year. Rafael has been covering the sport since 2000 and for ESPN since 2005. While working with the company, he was awarded the Nat Fleischer Award for Career Excellence in Boxing Journalism from the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2013. Prior to joining ESPN, he served as the boxing writer for USA Today…

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