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Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, of Spain, hits off the fourth fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Pierce: Jim Nantz says TV rules are different at The Masters
Sports on TV » Ex-KSL sportscaster in Augusta for 29th consecutive year to head CBS’ coverage.
First Published Apr 08 2014 10:55 am • Last Updated Apr 09 2014 09:59 pm

Jim Nantz feels a special responsibility as the host of CBS’ coverage of The Masters.

The one-time KSL sportscaster is no newcomer to Augusta. This year marks his 29th as CBS’ lead sportscaster at golf’s biggest event.

At a glance

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But, he said, he learned something interviewing his broadcast partner, three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo, for a documentary that will air before the final round.

("Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: Nick Faldo at the Masters" airs Sunday at 11 a.m. on Ch. 2.)

"He said that whenever he’s played at Augusta, he approached it this way — every single shot was a piece of history," Nantz said. "He never played in another tournament … where you thought every single shot was a moment in history. That’s the weight that you feel as a player.

"And I’ve got to tell you, as a broadcaster, I feel the exact same way. I feel like every single word that leaves my lips is a part of documenting history. It’s a part of my personal history. I feel it’s of tremendous importance that I get it right."

Nantz admitted that he felt tremendous pressure back in 1986 — the year after he left KSL — when he covered The Masters for the first time.

"I can remember trying to somehow cobble together just the right words for that first one in 1986," he said. "I showed up there paralyzed in fear that I would never be back again. I was afraid it might be one and done."

Not to worry. This week marks his 29th consecutive Masters as a broadcaster; his 27th as CBS’ primary host.

(CBS/Ch. 2 will air 15-minute updates Thursday and Friday at 10:37 p.m. in addition to third-round coverage Saturday at 1 p.m. and final-round coverage Sunday at noon.)

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He’s no stranger to big events. Nantz has been in the booth for multiple Super Bowls and Final Fours — including Monday’s UConn-Kentucky matchup — in addition to all those Masters. In 2007 and 2013, he covered all three in the space of just a couple of months.

But Nantz, who was a college golfer himself, said that broadcasting The Masters Tournament is different from other big events.

"It’s a venue of minimalism," he said. "Our words are spare there. We don’t overtalk it."

(Would that all sportscasters kept that in mind at every event they work.)

Augusta is "such a spectacular sight on its own," Nantz said. "And we are in a visual medium after all.

"That’s the one event where you actually really do feel each sentence that you frame carries added weight."

The CBS Sports team is convinced that The Masters is bigger than any one player. Sure, they’d like to have Tiger Woods at Augusta this week, but his absence — he’s out because of an injury — won’t sink the tournament.

"Listen, when Tiger is in The Masters, there’s going to be a spike in the ratings," said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. "But I’ve said this many times.

The Masters has always been the highest-rated and most anticipated golf tournament of the year. That was true before Tiger Woods played in it.

It’s true when Tiger Woods played in it. And it will be true when Tiger Woods is no longer playing."

Nantz, 55, isn’t thinking about retiring anytime soon. And his broadcast partner, Verne Lundquist, expects Nantz to be around for years — decades — to come.

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