ELMSFORD, N.Y. (Nov. 15, 2013) – The Metropolitan Golf Association is pleased to announce that longtime CBS Sports broadcaster, Jim Nantz, will receive the 2013 MGA Distinguished Service Award. Nantz, 54, is being recognized for his impressive charitable work, especially on behalf of golf in the Met Area. Nantz has helped organizations like the MGA Foundation and The First Tee raise millions of dollars to grow the game and provide countless opportunities for young people.
The MGA Distinguished Service Award was created in 1973, and is presented annually to a candidate who has contributed “distinguished service to golf and its related activities, consistent with the valued standards and honorable traditions of the game.” Some of its past winners include Joe Dey, Harry Cooper, David Fay, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Dave Anderson, Rees Jones, P.J. Boatwright, and Charlie Robson.
Nantz spent much of his childhood in New Jersey and started at CBS Sports in 1985. He is currently the network’s lead play-by-play announcer for NFL football and NCAA basketball, as well as the lead anchor for golf coverage. Though he currently resides in California, Nantz spent most of his accomplished career in Connecticut. His accolades include three Emmys, five National Sportscaster of the Year awards, and he’s the only person ever to call the Super Bowl, Final Four and Masters in the same year (he’s done it three times). In addition to hard work and good fortune, the sportscaster credits golf for teeing up his drive to professional success.
“Golf was a vital part of my life that opened up all kinds of avenues to me in my professional career,” says Nantz, who was introduced to the game by his father, also named Jim. He worked during summers at Battleground Country Club in Manalapan, N.J., and was recruited to play on the golf team at the University of Houston where he earned a degree in radio/television in 1981. “Golf really set the course for my life, and because of it, I feel indebted to the game.”
A longtime member at Winged Foot Golf Club and The Stanwich Club, Nantz has used his celebrity status to be a visible advocate for the game in the Met Area and beyond. In 2001, he lent his voice to the MGA Foundation’s Capital Campaign video, a valuable tool which raised $5 million. The following year, he acted as master of ceremonies at the groundbreaking for The First Tee of Metropolitan New York at Mosholu Golf Course in the Bronx and has been a consistent supporter of this national youth initiative.
“Jim has assisted and provided overwhelming support for our work and that of our chapters, for which we are very grateful,” says First Tee CEO Joe Louis Barrow Jr. “Our ability to positively impact young people throughout this country and beyond is stronger because of people like Jim.”
Nantz learned much about giving back from President George H. W. Bush, who became a surrogate father, an incredible friend and mentor to Nantz, while his own father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
“Jim is an outstanding broadcaster who knows the game of golf, and he’s good at it too, but above all he’s a wonderful man and a dear friend,” Bush said.
And while Nantz follows the lead of “41” as he calls him, he also believes that giving back through golf is just part of the game’s culture.
“More than any other sport, golf has a heartbeat that cares about people,” he says. “It’s the basic nature of the game: etiquette, kindness, playing by the rules and doing good things – golfers are people that care for other people and it’s one of the tenants of the sport to give back and be caring for others.”
As was the case for D.J. Gregory, who was able to achieve his dream with Nantz’s assistance in 2008. Gregory has cerebral palsy and hatched an idea to Nantz: he wanted to walk every round of every PGA Tour event and write a book about his experience. Gregory didn’t know how to go about it so Nantz, along with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, helped secure sponsorship opportunities for Gregory, which led to what Nantz described as “one of the most magical behind-the-scenes stories in PGA Tour history,” as Gregory walked every PGA Tour event from the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
“It was a tremendous accomplishment,” says Nantz. “D.J. took his cause and brought great attention to it and raised a lot of money.” In 2009, Gregory received the Metropolitan Golf Writers Mary Bea Porter award, and Nantz was there to introduce him and be a part of Gregory’s special night. He has been a great supporter of that group, as well, and frequent host, guest speaker and award recipient at one of the biggest awards dinners in golf.
Nantz continues to promote and give back to the game his dad introduced him to. His contributions and vigorous advocacy of the game will help ensure that the game and its values are passed on to the next generation, which makes Jim Nantz most deserving of the MGA’s Distinguished Service Award.
“Jim and I have been friends and partners for many years, and he is as genuine a person as you’ll find,” says MGA President Jeff Holzschuh. “His passion for the game is matched only by his commitment to giving back, and he has been a true friend to golf in the Metropolitan Area.”