When CBS Sports kicks off its 66th consecutive year televising the PGA Tour next week, Jim Nantz will do so in a most unusual way.
Nantz, 63, will be in his 38th season at CBS and at the helm of The Eye’s golf coverage with a new sidekick as Trevor Immelman takes over for Nick Faldo beside him in the 18th-hole tower. But for their debut at the Farmers Insurance Open, they will start out as if in a long-distance relationship, with Immelman on site in San Diego and Nantz at a still-to-be-determined location depending on how things play out this weekend in the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
It’s less than ideal and makes one wonder why Nantz’s backup, Andrew Catalon, doesn’t pitch hit at Torrey Pines as he will do from time to time during the network’s coverage of 23 tournaments during the FedEx Cup season. Good thing that Nantz is the ultimate pro’s pro.
“You’d be surprised how easy it is,” Nantz said when asked the biggest challenge to announcing a game from a remote location.
Nantz noted that this will be the third year in a row that he has relied on modern technology and call the Farmers without being on site in San Diego. In 2021, during the height of the global pandemic, the tournament fell between the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl and network executives didn’t want to risk Nantz being exposed to COVID and having to miss the big game.
“So I did it from a studio in Monterey (California). Then last year I did it from the AFC Championship game (at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City),” Nantz said. “Sellers (Shy) and Steve Milton, our director, have this ability to set up a bubble for me. And I get lost and I get in trance. I feel like I’m there. It feels so similar to me. Unless I turn around and look and realize where I actually am, I feel like I’m sitting right behind the 18th green. So, it’s going to be fine.”
Ahead of the Masters in April, Nantz, who has called the NFL, NCAA men’s basketball and golf with equal aplomb, will call his final March Madness, and give himself as he put it, “a little bit of a chance to catch my breath.”
“I’ve been on the golden hamster wheel for a long time,” Nantz said. “There are very few people that are fortunate enough to have a major property that that they get to be a part of, two is rare, I’ve had three, as far as being the lead voice of three different properties. I can’t think of anybody else. But to have two is very, it’s rare. And it still means I’m working 40-something weeks a year. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you know, I know you’re really cutting back,’ yeah, I’m cutting back to one of the most demanding schedules in the business. So, I know my kids are going to appreciate it. I’m very excited about it. Sean (McManus) and I had discussed it for years, when would be the right time to step away from college basketball? And as always, the stars were aligned, we knew years out that Houston would be the right place to do it with it being the gateway city to my career.”
CBS Sports’ schedule gets underway from Torrey Pines Golf Course with a special Saturday final-round conclusion. The third round on Friday, Jan. 27 (5-8 p.m. ET) and final round on Saturday, Jan. 28 (4:30-8 p.m. ET), will be broadcast on CBS and streamed live on Paramount+.
For now, where Nantz will call the game is as big of a mystery as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. All we know for sure is not in San Diego. But Nantz could be in Kansas City, Atlanta (a neutral site if Kansas City faces Buffalo), Buffalo, or, if there are two upsets, possibly Cincinnati.
“It still feels new,” he said of another season of calling golf. “And there’s always new wrinkles and challenges.”