Jim Nantz has been the voice of the Masters Tournament on CBS since 1986, and if he has his way, he’ll be doing it for a long time to come, too.
Via Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, Nantz noted that his longtime goal of retiring at 75 after the final round at Augusta in 2035 now feels much too early.
The 61-year old sports commentator has previously mused about becoming the first sportscaster to call 50 Masters on television. That would take him through age 75 in 2035.
But Nantz feels good. Forget about 50 years. He could become the first broadcaster to call 60 Masters telecasts — or more — when he would be well into his 80’s.
“I used to joke around in speaking engagements: I know my retirement date already. God willing, my health stays well, and CBS willing, that April 8, 2035, would be the way I would love to close out my career,” said Nantz, referring to the projected Sunday final round of the 2035 Masters.
“But here we are all of a sudden and that’s now well within sight. I’m feeling really young. Got a couple of young kids who are 4 and 6 years old. That date is way too close for me to be talking about retirement. So I would like to push it out for another, who knows, several years at least.”
It makes sense, obviously, that Nantz wouldn’t be too eager to give up this particular post. He might be the voice of multiple sports for CBS, but Augusta National clearly has a special place for him, and golf maybe more than other sports allows for this possibility. And, hey, as McCarthy points out, there are plenty of octogenarian analysts still working today, too.
Why wouldn’t Nantz still be calling the Masters into his 80’s?
ESPN’s Hubie Brown is still going strong at age 87. Ditto for 85-year old Lee Corso and 81-year old Dick Vitale.
Nantz said he’s got the “same kind of intensity running” through his veins as he did when dreaming of the Masters 50 years ago.
“I don’t want to let go of it. So scratch the retirement talk in ’35. Let’s just see how long we can go,” he said.
Verne Lundquist is 80, and he’s currently working this year’s Masters once again; if something dramatic happens on the sixteenth green this Sunday, it will be Verne’s voice on the call. Nantz clearly envisions himself doing something similar, and for a few generations of golf fans now he’s the only Masters anchor they’ve ever known.
If Nantz has his way, that will be the case for as long as possible.