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January 25, 2013

NMB native Tilghman adds Morning Drive to Golf Channel duties

North Myrtle Beach native Kelly Tilghman is joining the cast of Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.

The 7-9 a.m. weekday morning show will re-launch on Feb. 4 with a new format, new cast of co-hosts, a state-of-the-art studio and an expanded, seven-days-a-week schedule.

Tilghman will be a central figure mid-week on Morning Drive, typically on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

She is expected to be working largely alongside co-host and Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad. He’s a former All-Pro wide receiver, college football Hall of Famer and 25-year network veteran with ESPN, ABC, NBC and NBA TV. He’s also a voracious and talented golfer.

Tilghman is also expected to continue her other duties on the network. That includes serving as show host for the network’s PGA Tour and LPGA Tour coverage and play-by-play host for some of the network’s PGA Tour broadcasts. She also co-anchors Golf Channel’s signature news program, Golf Central, as well as Live From telecasts from golf’s major championships and premier events.

“When I approached Kelly about adding this mid week hosting duties to her already full

plate, she really jumped at the opportunity, which I think says a lot about her commitment to Golf Channel and also trying new things,” Golf Channel executive producer Molly Solomon said in a press conference. “So I look forward to seeing more of her lighter side in the morning.”

Regarding having to get up really early at least a couple days a week, Tilghman said: “I think it began with the 2005 Open Championship. I covered it at St. Andrews and I never fully adjusted from the time zone. I've been waking up at 3 in the morning ever since. Most people wake up at 3 in the morning because they are having a bad dream; I'm living the dream at Golf Channel. . . . I go to bed thinking about golf and I wake up thinking about golf. I am a golf geek.”

Current Morning Drive hosts Gary Williams, Damon Hack and Holly Sonders will be joined by Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer to form the on-air “foursome” typically covering Thursdays through Mondays. Williams, Hack and Sonders have been the regular co-host team of Morning Drive over the past few months. Rymer, a native of Fort Mill, will also continue to work as an analyst for Golf Central.

Matt Ginella joins Morning Drive after 11 years as the travel editor for Golf Digest magazine, and Lauren Thompson, who has been a regular contributor to the show, now will have a permanent role, providing news updates and reports for midweek shows.

Several regular contributors and guest hosts include:

_ Among former players, John Cook is an 11-time PGA Tour winner and recent champion of the 2013 Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour. He’ll join the show during some of the biggest weeks on the golf calendar. Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam will continue to make weekly Morning Drive appearances.

_ Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte will continue to appear weekly on the show; analyst Brandel Chamblee will regularly set up that day’s tournament action on weekends; and Golf Channel on NBC’s Jimmy Roberts will be a frequent contributor in support of his new series, In Play with Jimmy Roberts.

The show’s new format will continue to set the table for what’s new each day in professional golf, while expanding its scope to cover the golfing lifestyle including how to play, what to play and where to play. Topics including trends in golf equipment, the hottest golf travel destinations and the latest fashions will be featured.

Morning Drive’s daily polls and interaction with the show’s audience will be conducted through social media, and there will be themed weeks exploring unique aspects of golf.

Viewers can take Morning Drive with them via a “Best of” highlight podcast hosted by Sonders available online each afternoon and the series’ audio will continue to be streamed live at
GolfChannel.com/MorningDrive.

Morning Drive is moving into a new studio featuring four dedicated sets: a main anchor desk, an interview area, a product demonstration area and a news update desk. The new home is nearly four times larger than the show’s original studio.

The linking of 20 90-inch and 10 52-inch monitors will create panoramic, high-definition video golf course morning vistas for the backdrop of the set.

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