The verdant driving range at the famed Merion Golf Club has been transformed into a muddy TV city, with tractor-trailer production units, gravel instead of grass, and hundreds of empty stacked spools of fiber-optic cable.
"It used to be a driving range. It will be again," Ken Carpenter, NBC Sports technical manager, said ruefully Friday afternoon.
It's from here that NBC, ESPN, the Golf Channel, Europe's Sky Sports, and other media outlets are beaming images of this year's - at least up to now - rain-wracked U.S. Open.
For NBC, which owns the live TV rights to the championship rounds, the project has been a year in the planning. The Comcast Corp.-owned network has laid three million square feet of fiber cable on the course and parked 15 tractor-trailers for coordinating live video, graphics, audio, and other functions.