Welcome to another edition of the Hot Mic, GOLF‘s weekly media column dedicated to the people (and stories) behind the action you watch each week.
Jim Nantz knows What he will do next week. He knows when he will do it. But as to the question of or? Even for the ubiquitous man of sports television, it’s a bit of a mystery.
The main CBS Sports broadcaster has had its schedule set for a while now, and the week of January 23-30, 2022 is a doozy. In just seven days, Nantz will anchor two sports spread across three events and four TV shows. By the end of the week, between the NFL playoffs and the PGA Tour, he will have had more than 12 hours on national television. Naturally, Nantz will be spending one of his days off working on a second gig – shooting a March Madness commercial for Capital One on Monday alongside legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.
And, if all that wasn’t enough for a 62-year-old with one of America’s most visible day jobs, he’ll start the seven-day marathon with no earthly clues as to where he’ll end it.
Is he terrified of what awaits him? Worse. It is ecstatic about that.
“It’s a new challenge, so I’m excited,” Nantz said on a media call describing CBS’ 2022 golf season. “You know, there aren’t many things you do that are so different from year to year. I’m pretty much used to the Final Four stretch at the Masters – I’ve done it 36 times. So it will be something that I will relish being able to do.
A “challengeis Nantz’s parlance for what the rest of the waking world (and surely more than one CBS employee) calls “a logistical nightmare.” But for sports television’s most recognized voice, this challenge is also a necessary evil. With CBS’ broadcast of next week’s Farmers’ Insurance Open sandwiched between its coverage of the AFC divisional round and the conference championship, Nantz is at an impasse. Forced to choose between the AFC Championship match and the Farmers’ Insurance Open, he will instead rely on modern technology in a bid to pick the two – calling on Farmers from the stadium for the the AFC.
Here’s, in his own words, how he plans to navigate the week.
“Well, we have the Sunday night game in Kansas City – Buffalo and Kansas City – which is an incredible game and a repeat of last year’s AFC championship game,” Nantz said. “Monday, I’m in New York to shoot an ad for Capital One. On Tuesday, I’ll be home in Nashville — I’m swinging between Tennessee and Pebble Beach these days — and spending family time here. I might even have a home game. If the Titans beat Cincinnati, the game would be there. Otherwise, I will be in place on Wednesday when the AFC Championship game is played, because the tournament will start on that day. So I want to watch the coverage – every minute of it on Wednesday and Thursday – and be in constant contact with [CBS Golf coordinating producer Sellers Shy] and some people on the ground there with the storylines that are starting to develop.
Somewhere in the middle of that we will have production meetings with the two AFC finalists,” he continued. “I’m going to have to work around those times – it’s not like they’re going to adapt their times to what I’m doing. So it’s going to be player interviews, interviews with head coaches and coordinators, and then we’ll have a production meeting to set up our biggest game of the year We just had the Super Bowl last February 7th This year is an NBC Super Bowl year but the AFC Championship will be the show most-watched on the CBS television network for the calendar year 2022 – by far – so it’s extremely important to broadcast. I’ll be ready for that. I’m not the least bit worried about it.
Once the production meetings are over, Nantz will go into golf mode, where he will stay for the first part of the weekend. He will call the tournament remotely, using a setup of monitors and equipment to get a near-instantaneous stream of video and information – a setup not quite unlike what he’s currently using in the 18th round.
“Friday and Saturday — our two days of airing on CBS — are at 5 p.m. ET,” he said. “So I’m just going to go with the single seed at the moment and say we’re going to be in Nashville because they have a home court. It might not be that way, but it will be a 16-a-side broadcast. h CT starting here I’m sure we’ll be having a check in with the vendors at some point – I’d say around 2pm, two hours before the broadcast – to make sure the signal is clear and everything is up to speed. time and that there is no lag and we are coordinated.
Nantz will have regular contact with Shy and the rest of the CBS production team from his location, which will be somewhere near the next day’s AFC Championship broadcast.
“I will be at the stadium,” Nantz said. “In all likelihood, I won’t be directly in the broadcast booth where we call the game on Sunday, but we will probably be in a production truck inside the stadium itself. And we’re leaving…”
We leave indeed, and not only on the nomadic week of Nantz. Monday’s call found the famed broadcaster in an introspective light, noticing the passage of time as he enters his 36th season as the helm of CBS golf coverage.
Whatever the apprehensions, Nantz always love his job, and at the heart of that devotion is golf. It was the first sport that captured his heart and, after an introduction to legendary CBS Golf producer Frank Chirkinian, the one that launched his career.
“I find that after all these years, the anticipation for the next season is part of your life,” Nantz said wistfully. “I think we can all relate to that – at the end of the school year, at the end of the fall semester, or whatever it is in my world. I’m coming to the end of some seasons and can’t wait for the next one to begin. But my desire for golf to come back into my life is what I feel the most. I didn’t want to miss being part of it with my teammates.
All of this helps explain in part why Nantz is prepared to endure next week’s chaos. Even four decades later, it’s still fun for him.
Wherever “it” is.