Strange leaves job as ABC golf analyst
by Associated Press
Curtis Strange resigned as lead golf analyst for ABC Sports, saying the network did not give him a long-term deal in exchange for him continuing to cover golf during his prime years as a player on the Champions Tour.
"Where's the unemployment line?" he said Thursday from his home in Virginia.
Strange, a two-time U.S. Open champion and Ryder Cup captain, has been ABC's lead analyst in the tower since 1995. His current contract was to expire at the end of the year.
He turns 50 in January and becomes eligible for the Champions Tour.
"If they were asking for the next two years of the current TV contract, which are my best two years on the senior tour, I wanted a commitment back on the next TV contract," Strange said. "It's disappointing."
ABC is exploring new ways of covering golf, such as having the on-course reporters be the main voice, and it was not clear how Strange would fit into that system. Without a long-term deal, Strange elected to quit.
"We have decided to part ways amicably in order for me to properly prepare for the senior tour in January, and for ABC to get ready to implement its new system," Strange said.
ABC spokesman Mark Mandel declined to discuss the negotiations with Strange, or who might replace him in the booth. The network's next event is June 12-13 at the Buick Classic. Mike Tirico, who usually hosts golf coverage for ABC, will not be available for the Buick.
"It's a fluid situation," Mandel said. "It will take a little time to find our ultimate team and know how this will work."
Strange said he planned to play a couple of PGA Tour events this summer, and more in the fall to get ready for the Champions Tour. He also would like to stay in television.
"I'm willing to listen to anybody," he said.
Among the possibilities are covering the British Open and Masters for the BBC, or working as an analyst for British-based Sky Sports during the Ryder Cup.
"There's a reason I asked for four more years after the next two years, because I wanted to do this," Strange said. "I enjoy TV. My plans have changed virtually overnight. I'll go play some golf and be my own boss, and there's some good in that."