CTV copes with Solheim Cup deluge

Pic: Sky SportsIreland: Either the gods genuinely dislike golf, or the game’s simply enormously unlucky, as the last three big tournaments in Britain and Ireland have been hit by some fairly extreme rainfall. Last year’s Ryder Cup, this year’s Open, and last weekend the Solheim Cup at Ireland’s Killeen Castle – CTV’s Technical Director, Hamish Greig, has got drenched at all three.

“I can probably equate it to the weather we had last year at Celtic Manor for the Ryder Cup, though probably not quite as cold,” he says. “It was torrential though, and it was torrential leading up to the tournament when the cable rig went in as well, which meant that most of the ground that wasn’t on irrigated areas, like the fairways, became impassable.”

The weather forecast for Ireland even on a fine day usually means ‘expect drizzle’, but last weekend’s Gaelic monsoon was something else, with play suspended multiple times and the CTV crew eventually finishing derigging and moving the trucks out of the compound at 22.30h on the Sunday night.

“It was quite a busy wee compound…in a mudbath,” says Greig with a laugh.

CTV was providing the facilities for the host, Sky, the Golf Channel, and several via-sat unilaterals as well. The rain and conditions caused problems right from the rig, with buggies unable to traverse great areas of the large course which was busy reverting to its natural state of bog as the water table rose. Bottlenecks formed as they tried to shift crew and kit round the course, and trackways had to be laid and then removed to get generators to various far-flung parts.

“The major area of concern for us as an OB company is to make sure the compound is a safe place for people to work in when it’s raining and that it won’t get flooded out and the trucks get stuck,” says Greig. “Also we have to balance that against wasting money unnecessarily. You don’t want to put in hundreds of metres of trackway if it’s not required; you have to put in enough, but remain sensible.”

Flexible and waterproof covers drape the cameras, tents are established over the nodes on the cable/fibre network, and there’s some careful surveying of the ground to ensure that running water doesn’t turn into a mini-river and wash the cables into areas where they ideally shouldn’t go.

“Being a golf course, a lot of people tend to walk around with spiked shoes, and as we use a combination of fibre and triax our cables don’t really like being holed,” says Greig. “It’s all perfectly safe, safety circuits protect things. But because of the safety circuits, it won’t fire up and switch on. In dry weather you won’t have a cable problem, in torrential rain where your cables are submerged, you can have huge problems just because of a pin-prick.

“I was very pleased at Killeen though,” he concludes. “We had 60km of camera cable in, we had a complete deluge, and we had four cable faults. That’s a really good hit ratio…”

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