AKRON In the final year for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, one of the sport’s most-recognized voices will be part of the festivities.
Longtime CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz has been named the 2018 recipient of the Ambassador of Golf Award, which is presented annually by Northern Ohio Golf Charities to a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.
Nantz, who is best known for broadcasting golf, football and college basketball for CBS, joins two former CBS colleagues, his longtime producer, Frank Chirkinian (1989); and Ken Venturi (1998), his former lead analyst, as recipients of the Ambassador of Golf Award.
"I truly consider this to be one of the greatest honors of my career," Nantz said. "I've attended this celebration many times and will never forget being there to see how much it meant to Frank and Kenny. The game of golf has been a blessing in my life and to be able to live out the childhood dream of covering the PGA Tour, well, I'm a lucky man. There are no words to express the depth of my gratitude for this recognition."
Nantz will be honored during a presentation in the main dining room at Firestone Country Club at 6 p.m., on Aug. 1.
His ties to the sport of golf date back to before his career began, when he spent four years as a member of the University of Houston golf team in college, rooming with future PGA TOUR winners Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister. As a broadcaster, Nantz has been honored five times as the NSSA’s National Sportscaster of the Year (1998, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009), the most of any sports commentator in CBS history. In 2009 and 2010, he won the Emmy Award in consecutive years for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play and for his contributions to the game of golf, Nantz has previously been recognized with the Metropolitan Golf Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013 and the Golf Course Association of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
CBS, which has long broadcast the final two days of the WGC-Bridgestone each year, also carries The Masters, a tournament with which Nantz’s voice has become synonymous.
"CBS Sports has been instrumental in the evolution and growth of the PGA TOUR, and Jim Nantz as the legendary voice of Golf on CBS has played an enormously important role in bringing the PGA TOUR into millions of homes each week from his familiar perch in 18 tower," PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "It is truly fitting he receives the 2018 Ambassador of Golf Award, as there is no better ambassador we have in this game than Jim Nantz. Beyond golf, he has done tremendous work in the funding, research and awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease through the Nantz National Alzheimer Center in Houston. We are proud to call him a friend and we salute him on this distinguished and much-deserved honor."
In 35 years as a broadcaster, Nantz has also used his fame to support research into the discovery of early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease, of which his father, Jim Nantz Jr., suffered for 13 years. In founding the Nantz National Alzheimer Center in 2011, Jim Nantz sought to recognize his father’s legacy. He also honored his father by telling his story in authoring a New York Times bestseller, "Always By My Side," which was the highest ranked sports book in 2008. That book served as his inspiration to open the NNAC.
Three years prior, Nantz established his own production company, Jim Nantz Productions and serving as the executive producer, he has annually produced a Masters Sunday special. His 2007 show titled "The 1960 Masters" was nominated for the 2007 George Wensel Technical Achievement Sports Emmy Award after broadcasting an event in color that originally aired live in black and white.
Nantz and his wife Courtney live in Pebble Beach, Calif. Nantz has one son, Jameson, and two daughters, Caroline and Finley.