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It’s one of the most iconic catchphrases in sport. 

Now, Jim Nantz has detailed the inspiration behind his famous ‘Hello, friends’ call at the top of CBS live broadcasts.

Nantz, 65, first said the words 22 years ago on the Saturday of the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine. It has since become the acclaimed announcer trademark, following him to the Butler Cabin for the Masters to the Super Bowl.

What seems like a simple, almost innocuous introduction has a truly poignant backstory as Nantz revealed in a video on the Golf on CBS social media platforms.

“I get asked about a lot,” he explained. “‘Why do you say it?’ And it’s simply for one reason. It was a connection phrase with my ailing father, who had Alzheimer’s and struggled for 13 years before succumbing in 2008.

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“But in 2002, just days before I headed to Hazeltine and the PGA Championship, I sat next to my father and told him that this weekend, I’m going to say something when I come on the air.

“I’m going to look into that camera and I’m going to say ‘Hello, friends. Jim Nantz here.’ My dad’s name is Jim Nance, and I wanted to give him something on the air that let him know I was channelling him at that moment.

“I thought I would only do it once, but after that day’s show on the Saturday show, at the 2002 PGA, I had a few people say, ‘Hey, I heard you say hello friends. What was that all about?’

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“I told them the backstory and I was told, ‘You should keep doing that. That sounds like you’. So I continued to do it not knowing that people would pick up on it.”

Nantz added: “My dad’s been gone now for 16 years but every time I come on the air, whether it’s this weekend at the PGA, from the Butler Cabin at the Masters, the Super Bowl, I look into that lens – I don’t get any feedback in return, you just see a lens and like the first shot and golf there’s a little bit of nervous energy – but when I say ‘Hello, friends”, for that flicker of a second, I think of my dad and it relaxes me.

“It calms me and I’m able to kind of move into the show, feeling comfortable and confident and, more importantly than anything, connected to my dad.

“There are millions of people out there now that know the phrase and it goes all the way back to the real Jim Nantz.”


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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