Sean McManus (L) and Jim McKay. Sean McManus (L) and Jim McKay. (McManus photo from Paramount Press Express, McKay photo from IMDB.)

CBS Sports chair Sean McManus is retiring following the Masters, ending a long tenure with that network that started with him being named president of CBS Sports in November 1996. This year’s event will mark his 27th Masters, and the work he did at CBS to retain the event (which they’ve broadcast since 1956) and influence its broadcasts has been a huge part of the tournament’s ongoing appeal.

But that’s only part of the impact the McManus family has had on the Masters. In 1957, just one year after the first televised Masters broadcast (which only used six stationary cameras and covered only the final four holes in a two-and-a-half hour broadcast), CBS tabbed McManus’ father as their lead Masters announcer. That would be James Kenneth McManus, known professionally as Jim McKay, who had already been working for the network since 1950.

And as current CBS Masters lead announcer Jim Nantz noted on a media call last week, McKay got his biggest break over a call he made from a pay phone at Augusta National. That would be moving to ABC in 1961 to host the new Wide World of Sports, conceived by famed executive Roone Arledge. Nantz said McKay called Arledge from the 1960 Masters, the last one he’d host for CBS, and talked about how that ties into McManus’ impact on the tournament over the last two-plus decades.

“His father was the anchor of the Masters tournament up until 1960, which, 74 years ago, you think about the McManus family having their fingerprints on an event,” Nantz said. “And the symmetry of that being the last show that his dad ever broadcast for CBS… as the story goes, he got a telegram the week of the Masters to call this young, fledgling producer at ABC Sports named Roone Arledge.

“My understanding is there was a pay phone on one of the outer walls of the clubhouse, and Mr. McKay called and spoke to Roone Arledge, and he offered him the job to come and host this show idea that he had called Wide World of Sports. And Jim took that. It’s pretty cool to think, we’re talking three quarters of a century ago, and his dad had a mark on this tournament, and Sean’s had a giant mark on this tournament for 27 Masters now. It’s pretty amazing.”

McManus himself said on that call the Masters has been one of the most memorable events he’s worked on.

“One of the great privileges of my life and my career is to be so closely associated with Augusta National and the Masters. And I think when I look back on my career, I will do so with the most pride around Augusta National and the Masters.”

McManus announced his decision to retire last September (he’ll be succeeded by current CBS Sports president David Berson). He said the Masters was the obvious point for him to exit. And he said that like famed announcer Verne Lundquist, who is also exiting this year after working 40 editions of the Masters, he’s feeling plenty of emotions heading into this tournament.

“I’m approaching this with a lot of emotion also,” he said. “It was clear to me Augusta National should be my last event.”

He said despite the tournament only taking place for a week each year, it’s the event CBS Sports puts the most effort into year-round.

“There’s no event we put more effort into literally 52 weeks a year,” McManus said. “I would venture that somebody from CBS Sports talks to somebody at Augusta National at least once a week. and once we get closer to the tournament, it’s much more than that.”

McManus said that was his largest surprise when he started working at CBS (after previous stints at ABC, NBC, and Trans World International). But he said the work they put in year-round pays off.

“[Coordinating producer] Sellers [Shy, who’s held that role since 2021] spends a lot of time down there walking the course, trying to decide how we can get better angles. And it just keeps getting better and better. That would be my biggest surprise, just how much effort and how much time goes into making it the best golf telecast in the world.”

He said CBS has worked hard to keep innovating their coverage, and it’s come a long way from the start of his tenure.

“I don’t think I anticipated how different our coverage would be in 2024 as compared to 1997, which, you know, was my first Masters,” McManus said. “Everything from full 18-hole coverage on Saturday and Sunday, coming on much earlier than we ever have, to the aerial coverage of the golf course, to the opportunity to have [on-course reporter] Dottie [Pepper] inside the ropes, which we’d never had before.”

McManus said that wasn’t innovation from external pressure, but more from their own desire to improve.

“Listen, we could have kept our coverage in 1997 the same for the next 27 years and people would have thought it was still the best golf tournament coverage in this country,” he said. “But [previous coordinating producer] Lance Barrow [who held that role through 2020] and now Sellers have taken it to a new level. I’ll also mention Steve Milton, who’s directed every one of those Masters that I’ve been involved with. They are constantly trying to challenge themselves and working hand in glove with Augusta National on camera positions, new audio opportunities, aerial coverage.”

He said he doesn’t have any predictions for where CBS’ televised golf coverage will go from here, but he’ll be cheering for their group from the sidelines.

“I will leave that up to Sellers and his team, but I will be rooting for them full-time.”

And during this final Masters, McManus said he plans to think of his father (who passed away in 2008) on Sunday.

“I will do my traditional fairly early on Sunday morning trip down to Amen Corner to soak it all in like you do, and have a nice conversation with my father, who loved Amen Corner almost as much as I do.”

The 2024 Masters begins Thursday. The first two rounds are primarily on ESPN, but streaming coverage of featured holes and groups will be available all week on Paramount+, the CBS Sports app,, and CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports Network will also have coverage all week, and CBS will carry the third and fourth rounds Saturday and Sunday. Full CBS broadcast details can be found here.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.