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Prayers Answered (For A Week): 1986 Masters Re-broadcast Live!

If you heard us talking about the 1986 Masters on ShackHouse, or have read the many great stories from five years ago on this very website, or you're just looking forward to Tuesday's Golf Channel doc, you probably know that the 1986 Masters is quite possibly modern golf's greatest (three) hours.

I think there is a case to be made that it was also the greatest broadcast moment in Masters history, and maybe sports history. Every announcer spoke from the heart with amazing, Hollywood-scriptmaster succinctness.

There's life in the old bear yet!

The bear has come out of hibernation!

Maybe? YES SIR!

The camera crews captured every key moment. The light was perfect. The protagonists were brilliant, clutch (at times) and diversified.

Producer Frank Chirkinian stuck to his love of leaders hitting shots until caving, even breaking away from key moments to show something live, and finally showing Nicklaus live from the 11th on. It's a masterpiece in every way.

But whether it's Melnyk (Melnyk!), Murphy, Wright, Nantz, Verne or Kenny and Pat, with a 14th hole cameo by McCord (McCord!), the actors all ad-libbed, accentuated and called this historic round to perfection.

So boycott NetFlix for a few days and prep for the 2016 Masters by streaming the greatest Masters of them all courtesy of Enjoy the full 3 hour broadcast for one week.

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Reader Comments (32)

I thought the showing was going to be unique. Like a lost tape or something. But then I look on YouTube and find the whole thing can be watched any time by anybody. It's been available for years. I google and find pages of results. It's been documentaried, magazined and newspapered to death.

And yet, if I find myself in front of the TV on Tuesday and think of it, I'll watch again. It's "The Wizard of Oz" of golf--timeless and inspiring.
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterEric the Red
So glad I had the VCR rolling in 1986 โ€“ since converted to DVD.
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGolden Bell
A re-broadcast is considered Live! ???
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Good to see Gary Player was annoying all the way back in '86
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGolfin' Dolphin
What was annoying was the talk about all them damn "foreigners" treading on "our" good earth. Also too, those guys just weren't any good. Crenshaw using lumber to reach the 15th. Jack hitting driver about 250 around the corner on 13 and having 200+ left to the middle of the green. Weak.
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
"Every announcer spoke from the heart with amazing, Hollywood-scriptmaster succinctness."

I didn't get that feeling at all...if anything, I thought the announcers were a bit unscripted and overwhelmed, stumbling to find words to describe the events as they unfolded. Definitely not Hollywood.
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterFlathead Lake
Wow. All I had seen before were the YouTube clips, but they edited out so much of the other players and the sound / picture quality was not as good as this. Random thoughts:

- The sound of forged metal and persimmon squashing balata was sublime.

- Ben Wright on 15 was such an artist with his words.
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterHennie Bogan
Not every key moment was captured - Ballesteros' and Kite's two hole-outs for eagle on 8 were mysteriously missed. I've always wondered why, since the 8th has always been televised before and since when the final three or four groups passed through.

As for announcing, we here in Sweden got the BBC feed through Sky Channel with Peter Alliss and Tony Jacklin, and they too were magnificent, although Jacklin's Seve bias showed through when Jack's charge and Seve's meltdown happened simultaneously. Anyway, I wore that tape thin and laid the foundation for my English education in the process - I can still do the play-by-play commentary for long stretches the way my dad can quote The Godfather!
04.3.2016 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Great fun to watch. It's the first time I've revisited the 86 Masters and I was amazed at how much it still stirred my heart. Riveting golf!

A couple of observations.
1. So much more enjoyable to see the greats hitting long irons into the par fives.
2. As much as we talk about the modern ball, I've got to believe the real talent was hitting those persimmon woods. My god they were small!
3. I agree with Hennie B...the sounds were so much better, to my ear at least.
4. Loved how Jack and Greg were able to keep their heads on the 18th tee and hit 3 woods taking the bunker out of play. (Pat and Ken commented on Greg, but not on Jack, to my eye Jack looked to hit three as well).

What a toonament!
04.4.2016 | Unregistered Commentermeefer
For some reason I left the VCR running even though I made it home in time from golf to watch it live. So glad I did. I doubt the tape is worth a hoot any more but it is a treasure of mine nonetheless. I just wish the mike on 16 had caught the interchange between father and son when Jackie said "be right" and Jack says "it is". I get chills just typing it. Man oh man that guy was good.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterTaffy
A few comments. With all the great lines, "The battle is joined!" May be the best one.

Of the interplay between Nantz and Weiskopf on 16, which has perfect timing to boot, Kenny V would say "Jimmy, you could not go back in time and script that any better. No way, no how."

After Seve eagles 13 and before Jack does on 15, Seve has 4 on him. The screenshot of the leaderboard shows how unlikely a Jack victory was.

This was one of golf's greatest moments. The stage, the players, the story. Chills to this day. Still wild to see how close Jack was to an ace on 16, and he almost holed his bomb on 18. The man was on a heater.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
I really enjoy it now and see it for what it was, but at the time I remember being very disappointed. I was pretty young and had started following and playing golf at the time of the Open 1983, after the glory days of Nicklaus; I knew he had been pretty amazing, but he meant literally nothing to me. I wanted either Ballesteros to win, or Norman to start writing a new chapter.

I couldn't buy into the fuss about the rather tubby has-bean in a canary-yellow shirt and too-tight trousers. Also, the Butler Cabin presentation was even more oleaginous and creepy than usual - and I remember being pretty fed up by the Butler Cabin embarrassment in 1987 when, as I saw it, Larry Mize's heroics were all-but forgotten as they oiled on about Nicklaus's win in 1986.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered Commenterbs
This all happens..because the ANGC OWNS the tape. No suit in NYC can say "the picture looks fuzzy..thats not 'CBS's Values'" Or other Corp. BS. Its just BP saying, "Hey, we all watch that tape all the time...tell CBS to put it up for free on the internet"

The announcers sound confused...because they were overwhelmed. when is the last time that happened? Usually we get Joe buck yelling at us about "history!!!! the first 7-0 first inning since 1973"
04.4.2016 | Unregistered Commentersmails
IF I were to watch it again, I would still be rooting for Tom Watson....
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterSilly Bodkins
I bought the highlight tape back around 1990 but that is just pieces of the original broadcast edited together. I watched this last night and enjoyed every minute. Televising golf has come a long way in 30 years, most of it for the better but not all of it. You have to take this in context of the times. In '86 a NBC golf broadcast was nearly unwatchable by comparison. CBS was considered the gold standard in such things. ABC did an OK job on their 2 majors but their regular tournaments were not as well-done.

Having said all that, the CBS crew was not infallible. Musburger was not suited to the host role and many of the camera positions on-course were not as ideal as they are now. ANGC did not allow as much hole coverage back then and the broadcast was limited to 3 hours. Chirkinian seemed in love with switching camera angles frequently over a shot which I found distracting. Some other shots seemed to be missed. But I did like the lack of talking over shots and when most of the announcers did talk they we good to listen to. Ben Wright was still in his prime at that time and was a treat to hear. Venturi was not a great announcer but in covering 13 he imparted some interesting info. Lundquist was the star of the announce crew that day and a young Jim Nantz showed what he would become. Summerall was still pretty good. And the last hour or so of the tournament was electric. Loved watching this again.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.
Masters Week. Woke up with 5" of new snow on the ground. Bah humbug.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterSilly Bodkins
Funny how media people focus on the "broadcast" and the "calls" more than the golf. The leaderboard was incredible, the storylines and plot twists were so good that anyone in any of the booths would provide "historic commentary". This was about golf not broadcasting, except to the media.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterConvert
I noticed how much faster the pace of play is than today.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterOdd Job
I still don't understand why more of these complete round/tournament packages are not made available for sale / download. The compilations are fine, but you lose all the drama and most of the announcer details from the real thing. I'd easily pay $25 or so for a complete major DVD or download or whatever if I could pick the ones I was most interested in. Money on the table by the major orgs as well as the PGA Tour.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
What gets lost in all the drama was Norman birdieing 13-17 to get back into it (including a ridiculous shot from under the trees on 17), only to flare his 4-iron to the right on 18 when par would have meant a play-off, birdie to win.

Still the greatest Masters ever. So many protagonists..
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterSari
@My thoughts exactly, Brian S, I would buy them all if given the opportunity and I would definitely pay a lot for the 1975 final round... What's stopping them?

@Sari: Only 14-17, actually - he only parred the 13th despite having just a 7-iron in. But that punch on 17 was truly remarkable.

Not enough ever gets said about the quality of the leader board and the promising story lines going into the final round. You had the cbest player of the generation from five different continents (Norman, Ballesteros, Price, Watson and Nakajima) plus the defending champion and the reigning World #1 (Langer) all within two shots. It was one of the best Masters ever even before Nicklaus started his run, which of course made it the best tournament ever in individual sports.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
I must say, though, that one thing is different for the worse in this "new" broadcast - the sound. I don't know if it's been digitally treated or whatever, but the crowd roars were much deeper and the sound of ball striking impact much fuller when it was broadcast in ยด86 - everything just had more oomph, this sounds more flat (but probably more realistic). Look up the broadcast on YouTube and you'll notice the difference! Any sound buffs out there who can explain why?
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Can anyone ID the CBS staff announcer who did the voiceovers for the commercial sponsor graphics in the intro? He did CBS golf for years.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.
Greg I think you are talking about Musberger.

At one time he was one of the largest on air figures in sports broadcasting. I think getting bumped from the Masters was the beginning of his decline.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
I didn't start playing golf until '91. But I watched it from the early '70's onward. '86 was the first Masters I watched in my present home. Here in the UK, we would get the last round on Sunday around 9:00 in the evening on the BBC. I can't forget Jack's charge to victory. I found myself thinking of Watson taking down Nicklaus in '82 at Pebble with that outragous chip in on 17. Or that crazy putt on the 14th at Turnberry in '77. '86 seemed to make up for that somehow.
This year will be my last Masters in my present home, I'm moving at the end of the month. But I'll never forget my first Masters here. Must be the greatest Masters ever. To me anyway.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
@Tighthead, no, I recognize Musburger but I am wondering about the name of the CBS staff announcer who did the voice-over "From Augusta National Golf Club, CBS proudly presents the Masters, sponsored by The Travelers..." as the introductory graphics were shown.

After Musburger was bounced from CBS in 1990 after calling the NCAA Final Four I agree his career later was never the same although he did well with ABC and ESPN.
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.
I can't get over how much Musburger reminds me of Kevin Nealon!
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterManku
I long for the days when the pros didn't look like billboards along the interstate
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterThreeputtblues
Geoff, thanks so much for this link. Best detail by far, Tommy Nakajima wearing a Masters hat that he appears to have purchased at the merchandise tent. Ah the good old days . . .
04.4.2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Moore
I know this is silly, but I can't find out anywhere who does the opening guitar music on Sundays CBS opening broadcast. That music gives me chills of excitement as Brent Musburger sets up the final round. But no record of that music anywhere!

05.21.2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Jeff, hope you find this comment. I stumbled across Don Ross' song "Dolphins" on Spotify the other day. There's a riff that sounds almost exactly like the intro you mentioned.
10.25.2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Actually Mike and Jeff, the exact cut is here, from "Chiaroscuro by Mike Marshall and Darol Anger:

Somebody at CBS Golf back in those days must have spent a lot of time listening to the Windham Hill catalog for all their background and bumper music.
10.25.2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.

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