Ranking the 10 Best Announcers in Golf
When the Golf Channel emerged as a major player in televising golf tournaments, there was an immediate jump in the number of job opportunities for golf announcers.
New voices, new outlooks, new personalities. For the most part, it’s been all good.
But as in any other business, more doesn’t mean better. The cream rises to the top and separates itself from the rest.
And the 10 gentlemen on the following list are one man’s opinion of who that cream actually is.
It’s a very subjective thing, obviously, but to me these are pretty clear-cut choices.
1. Jim Nantz
Jim Nantz is a multi-sport star for CBS, excelling in golf, college basketball and NFL coverage.
He's best known for his work at the Masters, where his very professional and calming manner of piloting the coverage fits right in with the atmosphere those at Augusta National insist on creating.
He is Mr. Smooth—so much so that he comes off to some as being sappy.
I prefer syrupy and find him very easy to listen to.
He delivers information unlike any other.
2. David Feherty
Without a doubt, David Feherty is golf’s most complicated character.
And, without a doubt, he’s golf’s funniest character.
Feherty has become a star with his foot soldier duties for CBS, his entertaining show, Feherty, on the Golf Channel and the writing and speaking engagements he does around the world.
His unique sense of humor (not to mention the endearing Irish accent) belies what’s going on below the surface.
Feherty battled addictions to alcohol and drugs, and that fight continues today.
John Garrity, an extremely talented writer for Sports Illustrated for many years, wrote a great behind-the-smiling-Feherty sort of story for Golf Magazine, shedding light on life’s darker side for Feherty.
If you're a fan of Feherty, it's a must-read.
3. Roger Maltbie
NBC’s main man on the ground, Roger Maltbie has walked the walk, and now he’s very good at talking the talk.
He’s able to size up situations on the course as they occur and relays that information to the audience in a wonderful way.
He’s insightful, knowledgeable and isn’t reluctant to call Johnny Miller on his silliness at times.
4. Gary Koch
Gary Koch is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour and has an abundance of knowledge—a very good combination for a golf analyst.
He’ll always be known as the guy who made the “Better than Most!” call on Tiger Woods’ famous putt at TPC Sawgrass’ 17th green in 2009, but there’s much more to Gary Koch than just that.
Koch does his homework as well as anybody in the game, and when he speaks, you know he's checked out what he's talking about.
5. Johnny Miller
He’s a major champion, and, even though that happened 37 years ago, he’s still full of himself.
He’s pompous to some, keenly insightful to others. Many times, his mouth starts rolling before his brain kicks into gear, but the masses seem to like him.
To me, he goes over the top in his criticisms, but if the audience buys into it, roll with it.
6. Verne Lundquist
His most famous call was in the 1986 Masters when Jack Nicklaus made the famous putt on the 17th hole in the final round, and Lundquist said, “Yes Sir!”
There’s nothing flashy about the work Lundquist does for CBS. He’s solid, gets his facts right and is well versed in the sport.
He’s one of the best college football and college basketball play-by-play guys, as well.
7. Dan Hicks
Dan Hicks is NBC’s top host, the network's answer to Jim Nantz.
He has done well in the network’s coverage of the Olympic Games, but there’s something with his golf commentary that I can’t get real comfortable with.
Maybe it’s putting up with all of Miller’s foolishness that throws him off.
8. Gary McCord
Oftentimes he is Feherty’s foil during telecasts, and he is very qualified to thrust and parry.
His always smartly groomed handlebar moustache is just icing on the cake for a man who makes watching golf entertaining.
OK, so maybe the folks at the Masters weren’t all that entertained by his bikini wax and body bag comments, but you can’t please everybody.
9. Steve Sands
Steve Sands is one of the guys on the rise in this field.
He’s been able to handle a variety of assignments for Golf Channel, from doing end-of-round interviews and handling studio hosting duties to calling action at a specific hole.
His work in that role has opened up the idea of him being there more often.
He’s good and appears to have a very bright future.
10. Peter Jacobsen
Peter Jacobsen is getting more and more comfortable in the broadcast booth and is a great addition for NBC.
He does wonderful impersonations off the course, has proven to be very funny in the booth and seems to have no problem playing well with others on the telecasts.
Oh yeah, and there’s his music group, Jake Trout and the Flounders.
He’s really good in the booth.