NBC has announced Paul Azinger’s replacement as lead golf analyst for the upcoming Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, the event which will see Tiger Woods make his latest return from injury – six months on from undergoing ankle surgery.
Former PGA Tour player Curt Byrum has been given the nod following Azinger’s surprise departure on Sunday. Byrum only managed to secure a solitary PGA Tour title during his playing days, but the 64-year-old has been a prolific member of the Golf Channel’s team, having worked for the NBC-owned company since 2001.
Byrum has been promoted into the lead chair on NBC’s golf coverage after Azinger reportedly saw a countered contract offer rebuffed by the broadcaster. According to Sports Illustrated, the 2008 Team USA Ryder Cup captain was in the middle of negotiating a new deal when the decision to part ways was made.
With a schedule and other details hashed out on the fresh one-year contract, a formal offer was presented to Azinger which included the financial terms. SI alleged that the commentator would be on less money over the next 12 months, so Azinger opted to renegotiate the figure – only for NBC to turn around and say they would be moving on without him.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Azinger is said to have felt “a mixture of disappointment and surprise” at the decision, but later insisted he has “faith in what the future holds for me, for NBC, and for the great game of golf” when speaking to golf journalist, Steve Eubanks.
Meanwhile, a statement released by NBC on Sunday read: “We want to thank Paul for his work with us over the last five years. His insights, work ethic and relationships in the golf industry are well known, and we appreciate what he brought to our team. We wish Paul the best in his future endeavors.”