Jim Nantz already emotional about this Masters legend’s farewell

A split image of CBS' Verne Lundquist (L) and Jim Nantz

Verne Lundquist and Jim Nantz are synonymous with the Masters.

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They say the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday. But you can’t even get to that point before you first hear the dulcet tones of CBS broadcaster Verne Lundquist calling the action at the 6th green and, later, the 16th.

For all but one Masters since 1983, Lundquist’s voice has been as synonymous with the tournament as the green jacket and azaleas.

But all runs come to an end, and Lundquist’s 40th Masters call next week will be his final one, and also mark his full retirement from broadcasting as he already has stepped down from his other roles covering college football and basketball for the network.

“It will be emotional, I know that,” Lundquist said on a CBS Masters preview call with reporters Monday.

“Sean and I had a conversation a couple of years ago about what would be the proper time to exit stage left,” Lundquist added of also retiring CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “And he and I agreed that ’40’ had a nice round feel to it and that we would exit from the Masters, and from golf, and from CBS, really, at the end of the second week in April this year.

“There’s a spot on my left thigh that I’ll be pinching to make sure that I don’t shed a tear on the air.”

Lundquist, who is 83 and has come to be known affectionately as “Uncle Verne,” won’t be the only member of the CBS team holding back emotions during his final broadcast. The host and anchor of CBS’ coverage, Jim Nantz, said it was going to be a difficult farewell for the entire CBS family.

When asked what Lundquist’s retirement means to Nantz, Nantz paused for several beats to collect himself.

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“I hate to see him go from the broadcast,” said Nantz, who is 64 and coming into his first Masters since stepping away from calling March Madness.

Nantz recalled a story from his first year with CBS in 1985, when he was in his mid-20s and assigned to work a football game on Christmas Day that Lundquist was calling. Lundquist and his wife, Nancy, invited Nantz over for Christmas Eve dinner.

“In a lot of ways, I think that kind of showed me what the CBS culture was about: How do you act as a teammate,” Nantz said. “That might have been my first road trip. In fact, I’m sure it was, so Verne, unknowingly, was mentoring me even back then.”

Lundquist has made some classic Masters calls, including his “Maybe…yessir!” call of 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus‘ birdie putt on the 71st hole of the 1986 Masters, which he said Monday might be the favorite call of his career.

There was also his “Oh, WOW! In your LIFE, have you seen anything like that?” call of Tiger Woods’ chip-in on the 70th hole of the 2005 Masters that gave Woods a two-stroke lead over Chris DiMarco on Woods’ way to his fourth green jacket.

“He’s going to be a part of Augusta forever,” Nantz said. “And those calls that he’s made, they’re going to be played back 50, 100, 200 years from now. He’s going to have a home there. It’s permanent.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.