Jim Nantz and the Masters: Just the Facts, Jim

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIApril 14, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  A Masters logo is seen during the green jacket presentation after the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As Jim Nantz watched Phil Mickelson stride up the 18th fairway on Sunday of the Masters, he couldn’t help but gush out, “It’s a win for the family.”

Seems like an innocent thing to say, right? Seems like something he has every right to say.

True, it was a clear and unabashed jab at the whole Tiger Woods mess, if not at Tiger himself, basically saying, Here now, look at this real family man. This man who doesn’t cheat on his wife. Doesn’t visit prostitutes. This is the man who should win this tournament.

“A win for the family”—seems like something old Jim had a right to say.

But just for a second, let’s think about those comments. Were they really appropriate? Does family have anything to do with who deserves to win a golf tournament, or a basketball game, or a chess match, for that matter?

Do we need to applaud the so-called family man over not only Tiger, but anyone else who messed up too? John Daly wasn’t in the field, but did Phil deserve to win more than Daly would have, with his past?

How about Fred Couples? Wouldn’t we have to say Phil is a better family man than Freddie, with his past?

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Maybe they should start keeping “Family Stats.” Can you just imagine Verne Lundquist, perched atop his viewpoint at the 16th hole on Sunday, telling us the greens hit in regulation stats, the long drive stats, and the divorce stats? Should they tell us how many infidelities each player has had—season-long and career?

These were my thoughts while watching this on Sunday. Then, when I saw Nantz’s comments he made on a radio station on the day after the Masters, I really started putting two and two together regarding old Jim.

On WFAN radio station in New York, Nantz had a few choice things to say about the world’s best golfer and, possibly, worst husband.

First, Nantz said he’d be “fired” for using those kind of expletives at work: “I can’t say anything I want when I’m on a live broadcast.”

Jim, do I really need to tell you this? YOU ARE A BROADCASTER.  You are paid a lot of money to talk on TV and not swear; Tiger Woods gets paid for golfing well. Tiger Woods doesn’t work for CBS.

He went on to say, “Guess what? Phil Mickelson had a camera in his face all weekend. Did you ever hear him come close to approaching that? Have you ever heard Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus use that kind of language?”

Hard to say, Jim, because no athlete, maybe no person in the world outside of a U.S. president has ever had more cameras in his face than Tiger Woods, including family man Phil. How many mics did Arnie have eight feet away from his every shot? Every shot...

And another thing, Jimmy—I’ve heard tell stories about Jack’s fondness for a four-letter word here or there in his younger days. It’s just that we didn’t have a mic on him for his entire round. Does that make Jack less deserving to have won, too?

Jim has also forced me to mention something here that should not even need to be discussed. It is not a secret that Mr. Palmer was said to have been quite the ladies man himself back in the day. But then again, that shouldn’t need mentioning, because Arnie was a golfer, and that is what mattered.

Part of Jim’s problem apparently came in the fact that Tiger had claimed he was going to be a better person. Apparently, Mr. Nantz didn’t used to have problems with Tiger swearing and tossing a club a couple of feet into the air. But now, because Tiger told us he would change, Jimmy has a sudden problem with it.

Guess what, Jim—people are people. Some are better than others. Some go to church, some don’t. Some people swear, some don’t. Some people smoke, some don’t. Every person has flaws and inner battles to try to overcome to become better people.

The Pope has inner battles. Jim Nantz has inner battles. John Doe has inner battles. I have inner battles. Most of us—almost all of us, in fact—just don’t have to do it on national TV with a camera and microphone recording our every move.

Most of us don’t have overpaid sports announcers ($4 million a year from CBS reportedly; wonder how much of that he owes to Tiger Woods?) policing our every word. Oh boy, Tiger swore. How dare he? How dare he not change overnight into the person we want him to be? What right has he?

I think the real question here is, what right does Jim Nantz have to give his biased opinions during a nationally televised golf tournament?

“A win for the family.” Sorry, Jim, but give me a break.

Shame on CBS for letting him use the 18th tower at Augusta for giving us his political views.

I could mention at this point some of Mr. Nantz's recent family problems himself, but that, of course, would be inappropriate. This wouldn't be the place to bring something like that up.

“A win for the family."

A tradition unlike any other. Right.

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