Loooooong time CBS announcer Jim Nantz lives in Northern, California these days with his wife and their new baby, and he will be coming to Fort Worth shortly to call The Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Nantz is a big fan of Fort Worth, and gave me some time to answer some uncomfortable questions.
How old is your baby? Nine weeks. She and my wife will be coming to Fort Worth for Colonial. She has been on six flights, and already made a few tournaments. She went to the Masters. It had been on her bucket list and I just felt it was time.
You have a favorite Fort Worth eatery? First off, Del Frisco's downtown. That was the place we launched my wine, The Calling. That was May 23, 2012.
The other one is Lonesome Dove. I love (chef) Tim Love. He’s a good friend. And I do love Joe T. Garcia’s. I do like sitting outside the fountain pool. I love the scene and the great food.
Long setup: I recall you being interviewed about watching the late Jim McKay preparing for his final British Open. You remember that?
Yes. And you could tell in that interview how much it meant to you to be there. That was in 2000. I had gone there to work for the BBC, and because I wanted to witness Tiger Woods go for the career grand slam. But, more importantly, I knew it was going to be the last one for the 79-year-old Jim McKay.
Are you aware there are a now a lot of broadcasters who view you in the same light? I never thought of it that way. Now you are making me feel old. I don't feel like I'm on the backside. I feel like I'm on the eighth green. There is still a lot to do. So many legendary broadcasters worked in their '70s.
Verne Lundquist is one. I'm about to enter my 30th football season, and this is my 29th golf year.
Vin Scully? Yes, but I didn't know him from baseball. I knew him from football - he did The Catch game. In every one of the above cases, I wanted to them them. I had one true sports hero outside of golf - Roger Staubach. I was star struck around him.
But the real heroes to me were those voices, and I was very fortunate to become friends with them. Chris Shenkel became a mentor. Mr. Whitaker recently turned 90, and I got in touch with him. I eulogized Mr. McKay and was a pall bearer. I could have started off this with Pat Summerall. I know this is terrible name dropping here.
As a Kansas undergrad, I was OK with that one. What did I say this year after UConn one? Or last year? The year before. Nothing. I know it gets parodied a lot.
Who cares? At least you are saying something memorable that's not terrible. I guess you're right. I really don't do it any more. No, I don't script them. I thought, in 1997 at The Masters, when Tiger Woods won, I said, 'A win for the ages.' The night before, I was in my hotel room kinda kicking around something that I thought would will hold. This was going to play for generations. So you better say something succintly that fits. I had to be ready for it. That was just being prepared.
There can't be an interview about golf without asking about Tiger; will we ever see that Tiger again? I do know, not first hand, that other players have come back from that surgery to their same levels of the past. It takes some time. Knowing his focus - I can see him practicing his short game. He can chip and putt. I won’t ever say Tiger won’t or can’t. I won’t ever sell him short. I think at 38, I don’t know how much we should expect this year, but next year and the year?
With fitness today, the game has changed and the world has changed. If his back is OK, he can have the same type of success.
Thank you so much for your time. Thank you and I very much look forward to coming back to Fort Worth.
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