Some of the game’s greatest moments are best remembered by the words used to describe them.
From Jim Nantz’s 1997 “a win for the ages” call to Verne Lundquist’s “Yes, sir!” during Jack’s magical run during the 1986 Masters, in honor of National Speak In Complete Sentences Day, here are 10 of the greatest television broadcast calls in golf history.
“In Your Life!”
We get our list started with perhaps the most famous call in golf broadcast history. Tiger Woods found himself in a precarious position on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2015 Masters with little to no chance to hole his chip out, let alone get it close. However, the beauty of sports is to expect the unexpected, and that’s typically when the best broadcasters shine.
Legendary CBS Sports commentator Verne Lundquist was on the call when Woods hit this miraculous shot and provided the words which captured it as perfectly as possible. “Wow! In your life have you ever seen anything like that?” Actually, no. But now we have and it will be etched in golf history forever.
There may be no more iconic call in golf than during the 1986 Masters when “Yes, sir!” was used by Ben Wright to describe the eagle putt Jack Nicklaus holed on 15 as he was making his charge up the leaderboard on that magical Sunday. Verne Lundquist then famously made it his own after Jack poured in another putt and raised his putter in the air on the 71st hole.
“Better Than Most”
NBC commentator Gary Koch’s call during the 2001 Players Championship when Tiger Woods drained this nearly impossible double-breaking putt on the famous par-3 17th island green at TPC Sawgrass ranks up there with some of the greatest. As the putt was tracking you could feel the anticipation as Koch says repeatedly “better than most,” until Johnny Miller chimes in with a “how about in.” It was perfect television.
“Is It His Time?”
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) March 23, 2016
Jim Nantz’s call during Phil Mickelson’s winning birdie putt at the 2004 Masters was essentially perfect with Lefty leaping into the air as soon as the putt fell. After years of missed opportunities and questions, Phil finally broke through to claim his first major and Nantz was right there with him.
Hole-In-One en Espanol
The most exciting hole in one you’ll ever hear.pic.twitter.com/Eiex2mHJe6
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 5, 2017
One the most exciting hole-in-one calls you’ll ever hear took place at the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship courtesy of Justin Thomas. A Mexican soccer broadcaster delivered a perfect “GOLLLLLLLLL” just like we were watching the World Cup. Shout out to the marshal as well who absolutely loses it in the background. Olé!
“A Win For the Ages”
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) March 16, 2016
There will never be another Tiger Woods and we will always look back to this moment as the start of a new era. After lapping the field and making Augusta National into his own personal playground in 1997, Jim Nantz knew it needed no embellishment. He simply said Tiger’s performance was “a win for the ages.”
“The Bear Has Come Out of Hibernation”
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) March 5, 2016
We go back to Jim Nantz who continues to remind us that he is the best when he played off Jack’s nickname in 1986 and said, “The Bear has come out of hibernation!” While this call may have been outdone by the emphatic “Yes, sir!” we mentioned earlier, it simply adds to that legendary day when Nicklaus won his 18th major at age 46.
“As Grand As It Gets”
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) March 20, 2016
Guess who? Jim Nantz is back again when he summed up one of the greatest achievements ever recorded by Tiger Woods when he rolled in a 20 footer at the 2001 Masters to become the first man since Bobby Jones to hold all four major titles at the same time. The only difference is that he didn’t do it in the same calendar year and therefore, it was known as the “Tiger Slam.” Still, Nantz kills it with his famous “as grand as it gets” call.
“His Golfing Brain Deserted Him”
Not all great calls have to be positive. For example, take Jean van de Velde’s epic collapse on the 72nd hole during the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. While it’s difficult to watch, the soothing sounds of Peter Alliss absolutely losing his mind over the decisions van de Velde made during his infamous meltdown was the stuff of legend.
You may have noticed by now that every time when Jim Nantz comes on the air, he’ll always say “Hello Friends,” and this is why. It is dedicated to his father who passed away a few years back. While it’s not necessarily a call about a winning putt or an unbelievable shot, it’s a touching tribute that all golf fans can share together.