From Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods, Verne Lundquist explains his favorite Masters calls ahead of his final trip to Augusta National

Verne Lundquist has a plan next Tuesday night to hang around Augusta National Golf Club to say a proper goodbye to both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the longtime CBS announcer prepares to call his final Masters in 2024.

“Those two guys have had a terrific impact on my professional career,” Lundquist said on a call with the media ahead of the first men’s major championship of the year. “And I’m in deep gratitude to them both.”

Uncle Verne has been a signature voice at the Masters and will make his 40th and final trip down Magnolia Lane next week. The Masters is an event steeped in history, and Lundquist has covered nearly half of the tournaments. For a man who has seen so much action and drama among the Georgia pines, two of his calls come to mind as his favorites, and they’re Nos. 1a and 1b on his all-time list: Nicklaus’ putt in 1986 and Woods’ chip in 2005.

“I lean towards ’86, probably more so because of the fact that Jack is six months older than me, and I tend to remind him every chance I get,” he said with his signature laugh. “Jack hadn’t won in two years at that time and there are many stories about his championship run on Sunday.”

“(Jim Nantz) had a great call. First Augusta, 1986, he was working at 16 and I think the story is, when Jack hit his tee shot at 16, (his son and caddie) said, ‘Be good’ and Jack without looking up said, ‘It is,’ and the ball almost went in the hole. Jim said, ‘The bear has come out of hibernation.’”

Nicklaus was tied for the lead on the 17th tee after Seve Ballesteros found the water on No. 15. His drive went near the green on No. 7 and he then hit a pitching wedge about 12 feet above the hole. Enter Lundquist.

“I can remember thinking to myself as he walked up, ‘Keep it simple and get your butt out of the way.’ And I managed to do that,” Lundquist remembered of the famous putt. “I boldly predicted ‘Maybe’ when it was not that far from the hole, and then I reacted with what I said, ‘Yes sir!’ with slightly more emphasis than that. I think because I know Jack so much better than I know Tiger, I lean toward the Jack call.”

It will be an emotional week for the entire CBS crew as both Lundquist and CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus will be working their final Masters.

“He’s just the voice,” Nantz said of his good friend and colleague. “His calls are truly legendary. … Augusta’s a place that I feel like kind of comes to life every April. It’s not just because it’s a gathering of the greatest players in the world and there’s a golf competition, but it’s a week where history, where voices, they come back. We hear them again. We still kind of feel and have front of mind the legends of yesteryear. The Gene Sarazens, they make an earthly visit every year in April. Byron (Nelson), Ben (Hogan), Sam (Snead), of course Arnold (Palmer), there’s one week a year where they come back in our lives, back on our planet.

“What I’m saying here is Verne’s always going to always have a home in Augusta. He’s going to be a part of Augusta forever. Those calls that he’s made, they’re going to be played back 50, 100, 200 years from now,” Nantz continued. “He’s gonna have a home there, a permanent residence. I’m just really appreciative. I don’t know quite exactly how I’m going to say my goodbyes, but I’ll figure it out.”

When Lundquist and McManus discussed “the proper time to exit stage left,” the pair agreed that 40 Masters had a nice sound to it. He knows the emotions will hit when he arrives on site the Sunday before tournament week, but he’s going to relish every moment of every day at the course.

“I’ll be emotional and there’s a spot on my left thigh that I’ll be pinching to make sure I don’t shed a tear on the air, but it’s been a great run,” Lundquist said of his time calling the Masters. “Hey, I’m 83 years old and I’ve been blessed to have a sensational professional life and a wonderful personal life. I wasn’t the first to say this, but thanks for the memories.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek