Golf Channel removes Walker Cup producer

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Golf Channel yanked its longest-tenured producer from the Walker Cup crew following the release of his memoir, which recounts some turbulent times from his 18-year association with the channel.

Golf Channel informed Keith Hirshland on Aug. 26 that it was replacing him as producer of this weekend's Walker Cup, golf’s top amateur team event, and also the PGA Tour “Spotlight” coverage during the final two rounds of the BMW Championship, on Sept. 14-15. The “Spotlight” coverage complements the regular coverage that airs on NBC, Golf Channel’s parent.

Hirshland also is the husband of Sarah Hirshland, senior managing director of business affairs for the U.S. Golf Association. In that role, Sarah Hirshland led the recent negotiations that resulted in NBC losing the broadcast rights to the U.S. Open and other USGA events.

In a brief email exchange, a Golf Channel spokesman indicated the USGA’s decision had no bearing on the decision to remove Hirshland. The spokesman said the reason was based on “100 percent book.” He declined further comment.

Reached by Golfweek, Hirshland declined to comment.

Hirshland’s self-published memoir is titled “Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In; Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat.” It is in part a tribute to his late father, Lee, a television entrepreneur and Reno, Nev., station owner who introduced his son to the business.

The second half of the book chronicles Hirshland’s years at Golf Channel, starting in late 1994, when he left ESPN2 to help the fledgling channel prepare for its January 1995 launch. It includes some less-than-flattering portrayals of present and past Golf Channel employees, including Champions Tour producer Brandt Packer and anchor Kelly Tilghman.

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