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Posted April 11, 2013 04:04 pm
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Nantz enjoys nostalgic traditions of Masters


Go ahead and call Jim Nantz sappy. The CBS broadcaster loves the description.

Nantz was up early Thursday morning watching the ceremonial tee shots from Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer to start the 2013 Masters Tournament.

“I never miss this moment,” Nantz said. “It’s a long day for me since I’m on the air until almost midnight here. It’s always nostalgic for me.

“Some people don’t have that gene that I have,” Nantz continued. “That sense of sentimentality, or nostalgia. They don’t understand how I could be so sappy about certain things. The opening tee shot of Augusta is one of my favorite moments.”

That’s saying a lot.

Nantz always wanted to be a broadcaster. He owned enough golf skills, however, to play on the University of Houston golf team with former Masters champion Fred Couples.

The past 28 years, he has experienced every sports fanatic’s dream job of calling the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship and the Masters Tournament – normally within the same week.

Nantz has a routine that helps him switch gears from the frantic pace of the Final Four to the more serene ways of golf broadcasting.

“Pretty much on Tuesday and Wednesday I’m letting go of a wonderful tournament experience,” Nantz said. “There is a little bit of a hangover of good feelings when you have had close games and the excitement has been as riveting and dramatic as it was with the two Saturday semifinal games in Atlanta, then the Monday final as well. The adrenaline is running through your veins, and you just can’t turn around and shut it off.”

Nantz said he walks the Augusta National Golf Club course the first two days after the Final Four. After that, he’s 100 percent invested in the Masters. “Tuesday, I made the short drive to Augusta and walked the golf course,” Nantz said. “I did the same thing Wednesday. And now I’m absolutely immersed in this and focused.”

He said he knows how fortunate he is to have a career handling sporting events such as the Masters, the Super Bowl and the Final Four. That was obvious after the ceremonial tee shot Thursday when he had a short chat with Nicklaus’ wife, Barbara, about the fortunes of Ohio State basketball.

“It’s the greatest blessing of all time,” Nantz said. “I honestly can’t believe when I step on the grounds here that I’m given this gift, this chance to be able to experience these two great American championships of sport.”