1 shot at Masters to tell story right

The Baltimore Sun

Unfurling another week's sports media notes while trying to convince my wife that the plastic shopping bags lodged in our bushes and trees are just as aesthetically pleasing in their own way as the azaleas of Augusta National:

If Ian Poulter earns himself a green jacket Sunday, you can count on Jim Nantz telling you something about Poulter that you didn't know.

(Of course, being that I don't know Ian Poulter from Ian Hunter, it wouldn't be hard to tell me something I didn't know about the golfer. Now, about Ian Hunter, on the other hand: Did you know the big hit by his band Mott the Hoople, "All the Young Dudes," was written by David Bowie? But I digress.)

Nantz, whose broadcasting demeanor is perfectly suited to his role as CBS' voice of the Masters, said he has material in his pocket that he saves up for the winner at Augusta.

"I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to put the right caption and the right story and the right description of what this means within that player's heart," Nantz said in a conference call last week. "They have dreamt of that moment since they were a little boy and they wanted to go to Augusta and win there.

"And I do feel like I owe it to them to be on top of my game and be able to tell their story in an accurate fashion, to be able to reflect exactly what they are feeling at that moment. I have stories about certain players, anecdotal stuff that I've never used. I'm holding it back for the thought that one day they might win the Masters, and if that moment arrives on Sunday, I'm going to tell a story that has never been told before."

Speaking of captions, Nantz's on Monday for Kansas' NCAA title was "Rock, chalk, championship." That was certainly better than Jack Edwards' "Mine eyes have seen the glory" for a U.S. soccer victory in the 2002 World Cup, but it wasn't exactly "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" either.

Back to golf: CBS' good humor man, David Feherty, was back on the air starting with yesterday's CBS-on-ESPN Masters coverage, calling the action from No. 15, despite injuries he suffered last month. On March 14, Feherty was hit by a truck while bicycling near his home in Dallas, leaving him with three broken ribs and a punctured lung. But Feherty, though sore, had recovered enough to return to the job.

Masters coverage has expanded via streaming video accessible at masters.org and CBSSports.com. Coverage of Amen Corner (the 11th through 13th holes) debuted two years ago, with Masters Live (an hour of overall coverage before CBS goes on the air) added last year. This year, Amen Corner and Masters Live are joined by video from the 15th and 16th. The Webcasts start at 10:45 a.m. today and 11:45 a.m. tomorrow and Sunday (15 and 16 begin an hour after Amen Corner). Telecasts this weekend air at 4 p.m. today on ESPN and 3:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS (WJZ/Channel 13 and WUSA/Channel 9).

ESPN has started accepting nominations for "Titletown, U.S.A." Fans are being asked to submit essays via e-mail explaining why their towns deserve the honor. (Go to espn.com and search for "titletown.") I'm guessing my being born in Wilmington, Del., won't be enough to help that town make the cut.


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