Sunday, April 15, 2012

CBS again omits Gary McCord from classic Masters footage

I recorded the recent CBS special Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: The 1987 Masters which included footage from the final round of the original telecast. Once again, CBS went out of its way to ignore/hide the involvement of Gary McCord on the CBS broadcast team that day. In 1987, McCord was the CBS announcer on hole 14. The footage that CBS used in this special featured action from every back 9 hole including #14. However, these clips contained audio from every hole announcer on that telecast with the exception of McCord. Instead, CBS superimposed music and Jim Nantz narration over the footage it showed from the 14th.

In 2006, the inaugural Jim Nantz special covered the 1986 Masters on which McCord had also been the CBS announcer on the 14th hole. But on that special, the same thing happened as CBS showed some original footage from hole 14, but included no audio or mention of McCord who was last part of the Masters TV coverage in 1994.

In both cases, it seems obvious that the omission of McCord was intentional. What is unclear is whether CBS edited McCord out of the footage to avoid ruffling feathers with the Green Jacket Establishment or whether CBS did so under orders from the Lords of Augusta as a condition for approval in replaying this footage.

The 1987 Masters went to a playoff on holes 10 and 11. Interestingly, for its coverage of the playoff, CBS used the originally assigned hole announcer (Bob Murphy and Steve Melnyk respectively) along with main analyst Ken Venturi. Lead announcer Pat Summerall who was in the 18th hole tower was not part of the playoff coverage. Venturi called the playoff action from the fairway as he talked about getting club selections from the caddies.

The 1987 playoff coverage also leads to the intriguing question as to how the CBS Jim Nantz special would have handled this footage had McCord been the assigned hole announcer on one of these playoff holes, especially on the deciding hole. Or had a critical shot or memorable audio moment (along the lines of Verne Lundquist with "Yes Sir!" or Nantz with "The Bear has come out of hibernation.") from either of these Masters tournaments occurred at hole 14.

Non-broadcasting side note: I found it very interesting that some players had a caddy attend the flagstick on much shorter putts than you see today.

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