Golf Channel, Fowler hope to shine bigger light on college golf with Okla. St. docuseries

(Jessica Danser/Golf Channel)

Golf Channel, Fowler hope to shine bigger light on college golf with Okla. St. docuseries

College

Golf Channel, Fowler hope to shine bigger light on college golf with Okla. St. docuseries

NBC Sports Group is teaming up with Rickie Fowler for a four-part docuseries that will provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes look into the Oklahoma State men’s golf program as Fowler’s alma mater looks to capture an 11th NCAA Championship title this June.

“Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys,” the first part of which premieres on Golf Channel on May 7, begins with the Cowboys as the preseason No. 1 team and covers the team’s personal and competitive journey all the way until (hopefully) the NCAA Championship, which will be hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.

Think HBO and NFL Films’ Hard Knocks – just in college golf.

“(Viewers will be taken) on campus, at home with the guys, traveling with them at tournaments,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports. “You’ll see Rickie in Stillwater. You’ll see the team at Rickie’s house and Rickie at a tournament with the team.”

The docuseries will be executive produced by Main Even Productions, which Fowler is CEO and president of, and written by 20-time Emmy winner Ollie Stokes, who recently wrote and produced Showtimes’s Emmy-nominated All Access: Mayweather vs. McGregor.

“Oklahoma State and Stillwater are a big piece of who I am,” Fowler told USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio. “It’s hard to explain to people what the golf program is. It’s a big family. When NBC and Golf Channel came up with this idea, to tell the story of college golf and the rivalry (Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma), it was the perfect fit.

“I’m going to love to help piece things together to tell the story.”

Since production began last fall, Oklahoma State has won eight of its nine tournaments, including seven in a row to tie the school record, and is the overwhelming favorite to dethrone in-state rival Oklahoma as NCAA champion.

“They’ve gone on this remarkable run with our camera along for the ride,” McCarley said.

(Jessica Danser/Golf Channel)

Golf Channel upped its commitment to college golf four years ago when it live broadcasted the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan. The next year it started broadcasting the women’s national championship, as well. Now, the network has its own tournament, the East Lake Cup, which is a stroke- and match-play event at the end of the fall portion of the college golf season, in November.

“This is the next step in the evolution of our commitment to shining a brighter spotlight on college golf,” McCarley said.

The first three episodes of “Driven” will premiere on Golf Channel on May 7, 14 and 21, respectively, with encore presentations on NBC Sports Network. The finale will air June 16 on NBC.

The timing couldn’t be better, McCarley said.

“It’s not lost on anyone that today’s PGA Tour players probably have a more overt connection to their schools than at any time in the past,” McCarley said. “I don’t know if we ever had a Green Jacket Ceremony in Butler Cabin where college golf was discussed so much. … Just using (Masters champion) Patrick (Reed)’s college golf story as an example, if that story had been a Hollywood script, no one would’ve believed it.”

Now, college golf will finally get its script.

Programming schedule

  • Episode 1: Monday, May 7, 10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
  • Episode 2: Monday, May 14, 10 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
  • Episode 3: Monday, May 21, 8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
  • Episode 4: Saturday, June 16, 5 p.m. ET (NBC)

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