How did Jim Nantz decide on 'win for the ages' for his call of Tiger Woods winning the Masters?
Jim Nantz left his mark on the 2019 Masters by calling Tiger Woods' final putt that sealed the golfer's first major win in nearly 11 years. The longtime golf broadcaster simply said, "The return to glory," before staying silent for more than two minutes as fans at Augusta and watching at home soaked in the surreal scene of Woods' fifth Masters win.
Nantz explained how he came up with the "return to glory" call on this week's SI Media Podcast, hosted by Jimmy Traina.
"When Tiger was in the 18th fairway, he was out of position off the tee. He drove it right, and he had some limbs to contend with, and he needed just to make a bogey to win. So he was trying to figure out how to shape his shot. He's standing there with Joe LaCava, his caddie, and at one juncture right about that time, Steve Milton, our director, cut to a shot of the family behind the green. Well, there was his mother, Kultida. I hadn't seen her in a long time. She'd been out of public view for a long time. And there were the two kids and there was Erica, his girlfriend.
"As soon as I saw them, I thought, 'Oh. boy.' I didn't know they were gonna be waiting for him. Now I know what's on the way. And the first thing I did was I dialed it up out of my head that in '06, when he won the Open Championship at Hoylake, it was his first win since his dad had died two months earlier in May of '06. And I could remember how messy that situation was as Tiger cried in Steve Williams—his caddie at the time—in his arms. And I had made some proclamation when I saw the family...'If you saw '06, this is going to be a scene that's probably going to be even more emotional than that.'
"And when I saw the family waiting for him, I thought of the word 'glory.' It just it just jumped in my head. I thought of 'glory' as a reborn champion coming all the way back when a lot of people said it would never happen again. And I thought of 'glory' as a remade man. It was something spiritual about it. I don't want to get off on some tangent here, but I thought it had some weight about that moment in time in that man's life and I thought, I've got to work in the word 'glory.'
But there are no commercial breaks, so to play it out, they walk up the hill to the green and they still had the player's third shot from short of the green, but it was awesome. And Nick [Faldo] and I both tried to be respectful of the scene, lay out as much as we could. And he had a putt for par that I thought he would make from about 12 feet away. I'd have to go back and hear what I said there. I don't know exactly, but I thought he was gonna make it and it slipped by the hole, which was probably the best thing that ever happened because had he holed it, then the other two guys playing with him, Finau and Molinari, would have had no chance making putts that they needed to finish in the top five.
So anyway, he steps up to the last one, and I know I made a remark about 'this as a moment that a lot of people never thought we'd see again: The return to glory.' And that was it. And then I knew what I had to do at that point. And that was to get out of the way and and and that's back to what we discussed earlier. Nick and I just laid out for a couple of minutes and we weren't looking to say anything. We can only ruin it. We can only sully one of the great sports celebrations you'd ever see."
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