Originally created 02/08/00

Comeback unavailable to local viewers



In Augusta, Oprah Winfrey has more pull than Tiger Woods.

WRDW-Channel 12, Augusta's CBS-TV affiliate, aired The Oprah Winfrey Show live on Monday at 4 p.m., instead of the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament from Pebble Beach, Calif. Tiger Woods rallied from seven strokes behind with nine holes to play to win his sixth straight PGA Tour title.

WRDW aired the final round on tape at 1:35 a.m., today, after The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. The station made its announcement -- via a crawl across the bottom of the screen -- shortly after the scheduled 4 p.m., start of the final round at Pebble Beach.

"CBS made a decision to carry the golf today at 4 p.m., and that's not a time period we can program on our TV station," John Ray, WRDW's general manager, said Monday afternoon. "We have a contractual obligation to run Oprah, then our newscast. There's no way we can get out of other contractual obligations."

Ray said the only way the station could not show The Oprah Winfrey Show would be if it was "a major news story or that type of event where we had continuing coverage. But certainly not for a golf tournament."

Ray also said the station is in a rating period and The Oprah Winfrey Show is "very important to our overall lineup."

A CBS-TV spokesman in New York said Monday afternoon that about 48 percent of the 200-plus CBS affiliates nationwide showed the golf live, 34 percent on delay and 3 percent gave alternate clearance for other stations to show the tournament. The programming of approximately 14 percent of CBS's affiliates was unavailable, the spokesman said.

The Augusta Chronicle listed the broadcast in its Monday sports television listings based on reports from CBS over the weekend that the final round would be shown live. The tournament announced a Monday finish after much of Thursday's opening round was rained out. WRDW didn't have an on-screen announcement of its plans during weekend golf telecasts and didn't notify The Chronicle that it wouldn't show the final round live.