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Netflix lines up PGA Tour stars for documentary series

Netflix lines up PGA Tour stars for documentary series

Netflix will soon be offering what is being billed as an unprecedented look at the Tour with a new documentary series.

It’s being modeled after Netflix’s hit Formula 1 series, “Drive to Survive.”

The PGA Tour show is yet to be named, and both Netflix and the PGA declined to comment on its official release date. The first episodes will likely be released in early 2023, according to Golf.com.

The docuseries will be produced by Netflix in conjunction with Vox Media Studios and Drive to Survive producers Box to Box Films. Filming is underway and will continue throughout the 2022 season.

“We are thrilled to bring golf’s leading organizations and players together for this first-of-its-kind partnership and unparalleled window into life on the tour,” Brandon Riegg, Netflix vice president of unscripted and documentary series, said in a statement. “Our members will love getting to know the players and personalities as well as the iconic venues along the way. Even the most devoted golf fans have never seen the sport quite like this.”

For the first time, the PGA Tour and the governing bodies that conduct men’s major championships — Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, the USGA, and The R&A — will allow a peak at the sport’s biggest events. That includes the Masters in Augusta, Ga., the Players Championship and the season-ending FedEx Cup.

Access from behind the scenes, as well as training, travel and emotions will be shown from the viewpoint of the tour’s top stars.

Among the players involved will be Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger, Cameron Champ, Joel Dahmen, Tony Finau, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Harry Higgs, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Kevin Na, Mito Pereira, Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson.

The world’s top-ranked amateur golfer, Keita Nakajima, also will take part as he plays in his first career major championships.

“This partnership with Netflix presents the PGA Tour and the four major championships an opportunity to tap into a completely new and diverse audience,” Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour, said in a statement. “This documentary will give fans an authentic look into the real lives of our athletes, and what it’s like to win — and lose — during a season on the PGA Tour.”

The roots of the docuseries, according to Golf.com, date back to 2019 when Fowler spoke of the merits of such a show and volunteered to be a participant. Several other golfers, including Thomas, Finau and Champ, soon followed Fowler’s lead.

Among the major stars not yet affiliated with the show are Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, but producers haven’t given up on them appearing in the future.

Dahmen, speaking before the start of the Sony Open in Hawaii, said of the show, “I am apprehensive about the entire thing. I’ve never had anything like this before; unlike some of these other guys I’m not used to having cameras around all the time.

“I know that I’m going to be on the show with a bunch of good golfers — and me. I can assume that based off the other people on the show, they’ll probably want a little bit more of the fun from our day-to-day life, although I also don’t want to be the class clown who’s never practicing or being productive.”

The PGA Tour reportedly won’t have editorial control over the series, which could create concerns about protecting the squeaky-clean image of its players. The production team will have complete rights to film at tour events, with players having the option to wear microphones.

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