Paul Azinger is out as the lead golf analyst for NBC Sports.
NBC hired Azinger to replace longtime analyst Johnny Miller in 2018, and after five years with the network, his contract was not renewed. The Associated Press first reported the news Sunday that Azinger would not be back with NBC, which reportedly came as a surprise to the 63-year-old, who was caught off guard by the abrupt decision.
Azinger’s last event for the network was the Ryder Cup in October, which he did not know at the time. He was supposed to be on the call for NBC for the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, set to take place the first weekend in December. Tiger Woods is expected to play in the golf tournament that’s hosted by him and his foundation next month, which will be his first competition since The Masters back in April.
This seems to be part of a larger overhaul for NBC’s golf coverage, as the network has now moved on from Azinger, in addition to Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch, who also saw both of their contracts not renewed in November of last year, after spending decades on golf broadcasts.
“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,” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement to The AP.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner and 1993 PGA champion had fans unhappy about his U.S. Open commentary earlier this year. Azinger had been the primary analyst at the U.S. Open since 2016, holding the role for both Fox Sports and NBC. Azinger joined Fox as a lead analyst when it took over the U.S. Open contract. He was allowed to keep his Fox role, in addition to being hired by NBC to replace Miller, with NBC eventually getting back the U.S. open contract in 2020.
The last we heard from Azinger, he was ripping a “garbage” report about Patrick Cantlay wanting to be paid at the Ryder Cup.
He broke his silence on NBC’s decision via The AP:
“I have treasured working beside Dan Hicks and the other talented NBC broadcasters as well as lead producer Tommy Roy and all those behind the scenes,” Azinger said. “They are a remarkable team, and I will miss them tremendously. My thanks to them and the countless others who have supported me and helped me along the way during my work in television.
“I have faith in what the future holds for me, for NBC, and for the great game of golf.”
As it continues to revamp its golf coverage, NBC has another pair of shoes to fill.