Paul Azinger breaks silence on parting with NBC and doesn’t hold back

Paul Azinger breaks silence on parting with NBC and doesn’t hold back


Tour Championship

Paul Azinger and Dan Hicks on set during the second round of the 2019 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

“They offered me the job,” Azinger said. “We had the weeks, the amount of days. Essentially, I was going to be on the road for two more weeks, and I wasn’t gonna make the same amount of money. So we’re making a counteroffer.”

Azinger was seeking a one-year renewal, which would line up contract talks with that of lead announcer Dan Hicks, whose contract expires at the end of 2024, Azinger says.

“Dan and I already had talked about it. I was ready to keep going. I thought I was gonna go for about five more years to be honest,” Azinger said. “I thought I would do at least one more year and then sign a four-year deal. They made the offer, my agent said ‘no, we’ll counteroffer the next day’. And they said, ‘Sorry, we’re moving on.’

“You know, it wasn’t a conversation with me, like, ‘What do you need Zinger? What do we need to do? Here’s our situation. You know, this is why we need you to accept this deal.’ There was no reason, it just was it’s complicated, it’s complicated. I was like, ‘How complicated can it be, bud?’ It’s money.

“For me to be able to do NBC was the greatest opportunity and blessing. I was the lead analyst at ABC, at ESPN, and at NBC and that was awesome. I’ve had two full careers and it was a great run. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to do NBC. I wish it could have ended up better for me. I was ready to keep going and I thought we were negotiating in good faith.”

Those negotiations were led by Sam Flood, NBC Sports executive vice president & president of production, who took over day-to-day oversight of Golf Channel production in August, replacing Mark Loomis. They also didn’t include Molly Solomon, executive vice president of content and executive producer, Golf Channel, from 2012-2023, who shifted her focus exclusively to the upcoming Summer Olympics as executive producer & president, NBC Olympics production.

Azinger had lost another advocate in Pete Bevacqua, who left his role as president of NBC Sports in March to become the athletic director at Notre Dame, his alma mater, and Azinger hadn’t had a chance to develop a relationship with his replacement, Rick Cordella, who was hired on Sept. 23.

“Sam Flood came in and was just, you know, just an a-hole about it. All we were doing was making a counteroffer, and they said, ‘No, that was take it or leave.’ And I said, ‘Sam, was that presented to us as take it or leave it?’ ‘It’s complicated, Zinger,’ he said. I talked to him for 23-24 minutes and every time I would ask him a question, it would be like, ‘Are you upset or something?’ We had [the parameters of a deal] done. Are we not supposed to negotiate with you? And he wouldn’t say anything. And it was like, ‘nope, we’re moving on.’ There was never anything like ‘Zinger, this is all we can do. This is our best shot.’

“My poor manager he’s sitting there like, ‘What happened?’ That’s how it went down. We just wish it would have ended differently, because honestly, I’m kind of happy it ended.”


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