You need to hear the story of Gary McCord’s ‘smarta–‘ first Masters TV meeting

gary mccord speaks in microphone at the match in white hat

Gary McCord told the story of his wild first Masters TV meeting on the latest episode of 'Off Their Rockers.'

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As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to broadcast the Masters. If you’re a voice on the CBS Golf broadcast team, odds are pretty good you’ll earn an invite to Augusta National, where the network has broadcast every year for the last 60 years.

It’s harder, however, to keep broadcasting the Masters, as Gary McCord knows well. McCord, the former CBS Sports broadcaster, was famously uninvited from the Masters broadcast after his “bikini wax” comment in 1994.

But now the legendary golf broadcaster says the story of his departure from Augusta National goes back much further than one isolated incident. On this week’s episode of Off Their Rockers, a GOLF production, McCord and guest Jim Nantz told the story of his first-ever Masters TV meeting — a story that nearly ended his Masters broadcasting career before it ever started.

“The first thing you have to do when you work at Augusta National is talk to the chairman, which at the time was Hord Hardin,” McCord said. “So Jimmy [Nantz] and [longtime CBS Sports producer Frank Chirkinian] and I go down into the catacombs of Augusta National to the chairman’s office for a meeting.”

“You were on one side of the room,” McCord said to Nantz. “I was on the other, Frank was sitting in the middle. We were his two new announcers to the ’86 Masters broadcast.”

As McCord remembers it, the action items were simple: Chairman Hardin wanted to introduce himself to the two men and share some of the Masters’ broadcast rules with them. But the meeting had an air of seriousness to it, and well, McCord didn’t do well with seriousness.

“Hord wanted to share guidelines for calling the Masters and how you were expected to act,” McCord said. “It was literally like going to the principal’s office, and I’m a 7-year-old smartass.”

The CBS analyst sat idly for a few moments, but then he sensed an opportunity to interrupt.

“I remember there was a moment when he paused at a critical juncture in his lecture and I interjected,” McCord says. “I said, ‘So Mr. Hardin, is it safe to assume that I can’t wear my clown outfit on Saturday afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Son, I don’t believe so.’ And I said, ‘Ugh. I’m gonna lose my deposit.’”

Nantz laughed as he heard the retelling, but the longtime voice of the Masters offered one key qualifier himself.

“I have to say, I think our memories of this are a little bit different,” Nantz said with a chuckle. “I think there’s been a little bit of an embellishment factor through the years, not that you would ever do that.”

McCord and Nantz go way back — all the way to the beginning of the latter’s legendary golf broadcasting career. All that time appears to have given Nantz a proper appreciation for McCord’s … colorful style of storytelling.

“You have a very creative brain,” Nantz said. “Let’s just put it that way.”

To hear the rest of the interview between Kostis, McCord and Nantz, check out the link here.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

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