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Masters to allow extended TV coverage

The Masters will expand its television coverage so that all 18 holes of the venerable Augusta National Golf Club will be shown during the final round.

"We know that many fans of the Masters want 18-hole coverage, and we expect the expanded broadcast to be consistent with the quality we have had in the past," Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson said Thursday.

Johnson added that the practice of minimal commercial interruption -- just four minutes each hour -- will remain.

CBS Sports, which will carry the weekend rounds for the 47th consecutive year next April, in the past televised 2 1/2 hours of Saturday's third round from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. (et), and three hours of Sunday's final round from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (et).

The expanded coverage will now allow for three hours of round three to be shown from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (et), while Sunday's final round will hit the air at 2:30 p.m. (et) in order to show the leaders play a full 18 holes.

The final-round leaders were typically on about the sixth hole when TV coverage began in previous years.

The Masters, traditionally the highest-rated golf event on TV, drew a final- round rating of 14.1 in 1997 when a then 21-year-old Tiger Woods captured his first major. Woods pulled a 13.3 rating in winning his second green jacket and fourth straight major at Augusta National this past April.


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