Somebody at CBS Sports deserves a bonus after the network captured an all-time great golf TV reaction shot at the Masters tournament Sunday.
The scene was the 18th hole where Sergio Garcia had just dropped a birdie putt to win his sudden death playoffagainst Justin Rose. A camera operator captured both Garcia and fiancee Angela Akins behind him on a hillock beyondthe green.
As the putt dropped — and the Spaniard won his first major championship on his71st attempt— we saw both Garcia and Akins fall to their kneesas if in prayer. As their knees gave out in sheer relief,we saw thecrowd surge wildlyto their feet around them.
It was magnificent TV that capped off a thrilling final Sunday at the Master as Garcia rose, fell and finally rose again to capture his elusive first green jacket at age 37.
Sergio and his fiancee, Angela Akins, have identical reactions to the winning putt.
Just awesome. pic.twitter.com/bVAr3zOGXJ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 9, 2017
Sure, there were moments when CBS was overly obsequious toward Augusta National Golf Club. CBS announcers tripped over themselves to repeat theword "patrons" — Augusta's preferred word for attendees.
Yes, Jim Nantz dropped his usualcorny lines about the so-called magical qualities of Augusta. "These story lines and scripts. How do they happen time and again here?" he wondered reverently.
But that's what happens when Augusta keeps youon a one-year contractfor fives decades. You do as you're told if you're CBS. If that means booting announcers such as Gary McCord and Jack Whitaker for somehow offending the green jackets at Augusta, then you do it and don't ask questions.
There was one scary moment when Nantz reported that Augusta officials were checking whether Garcia's ball had moved on the pine straw after a drop on the 13th hole. If the Masters had turned on some fink TV viewer calling in a rules violation from their couch, I would have thrown a shoe at the screen. Thankfully, nothing happened.
I loved Nantz's line contrasting Sunday's more mature 37-year-oldGarcia with the cocky young phenom who could never get it done.
"These are different times. A different man," Nantz said.
As Mike Greenberg of ESPN2's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" Monday, Nantz is great at calling football and college basketball. But he's at his best during the Masters.
The velvet-voiced Nantz was "put on this earth to call the Masters," said Greenberg.
Meanwhile, Nantz's partner Nick Faldo brought it Sunday.The former Nick "Foldo" was in a unique position to analyzeSunday's Garcia-Rose duel.
Like the Spaniard, Faldo was known as the guy who couldn't win the big one early in his career.As Garcia and Rose moved into sudden death, Nantz smartly reminded viewers that Faldo won two of his three green jackets in sudden-death playoffs.So he was the perfect guy to analyze the mindset Garcia needed to finally win after so many near-misses.
"You switch off. You forget the tournament," Faldo said about his mental approach towinning two straight Masters playoffs in 1989 and1990.
Despite his reputation as a choker at the majors, Garcia is a killer in the Ryder Cup match play competition.As Sunday'sfinal round turned into a two-horse race, Faldo rightly noted it was advantage Garcia.
You could almost visibly see the momentum change after Garcia dropped his round-saving eagle on the 15th hole.Acharging Garcia realized the final round had turned into a match play competition, Faldo said.
"All I've got to do is beat Justin Rose. Game On," Faldo said.
Ultimately, what made Garcia's victory so satisfying, I think, was him finally shedding the choker label.Many TV viewershave come close to winning something in their lives only to fall short for any number of reasons. Garcia won Sunday's Masters for them.
As Nantz said about Garcia: "At19, everybody thoughthe was going to be one of the next world-beaters. And he’s had a great career. But you think of all the different times he’s had the close brushes.
"Then you get all the doubters who said he was never going to do it. Well guess what:You’re wrong again."