Unforgettable Run

Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Verne Lundquist says the 2024 Masters — his 40th — will be his last on the CBS broadcast

By Gary Baines – 2/15/2024

Thirteen years ago, in an interview with, longtime Steamboat Springs resident Verne Lundquist spoke about his broadcasting love affair with the Masters.

“They say that they used to have to hoist (broadcaster) Henry Longhurst into the (TV) tower,” Lundquist said. “Well, as long as I’m breathing I want to come back and sit at (hole) 16, even if they have to hoist me into the tower. An association with the Masters like this was totally unexpected for me. With what Jack (Nicklaus) and Tiger (Woods) have done there, I’ve got my name associated with the two greatest golfers ever.”

Well, it turns out Lundquist will come up a little short — but he hasn’t been shortchanged.

After helping call the Masters on CBS April 11-14, Lundquist will be done broadcasting the action from Augusta National Golf Club. At least that’s what CBS Sports passed along on Wednesday — that Lundquist has announced that his 40th Masters on the CBS crew will be his last.

Lundquist’s run at the Masters almost exactly coincides with his time as a Colorado resident. The 83-year-old started behind the mic at Augusta National in 1983 and moved to Steamboat in 1984. (The reason this year will mark his 40th Masters call for CBS is that he skipped the tournament broadcasts in 1997 and ’98.)

Lundquist has long been a fixture on the par-3 16th hole for CBS’ Masters coverage. It was there that he called one of the most replayed shots in golf history, in 2005 when Tiger Woods’ huge-breaking chip barely fell into the hole for a birdie. (What golf fan can forget the Nike swoosh on Woods’ ball being displayed so prominently just as the ball almost stopped before toppling into the cup?) Woods went on to win his fourth Masters that year.

“Oh my goodness,” Lundquist said as the ball trickled toward the hole. “Oh wow! In your life have you seen anything like that?”

Jack Nicklaus reacting to his birdie putt at No. 17 in the final round of the 1986 Masters.

But it’s hole 17 where arguably Lundquist’s most indelible moment came. There in 1986, he famously used the words “Yes Sir!” when Nicklaus lifted his putter to the sky upon sinking a birdie putt en route to his sixth and final Masters title in 1986, at age 46. Interestingly, ’86 marked the first time Lundquist handled the call on No. 17.

In the 2011 interview with, Lundquist fully admitted the ’86 Masters was the favorite call he’s made in his long and varied broadcasting career.

“I could be self-deprecating to the point of sickness, but I’m proud of (the ‘Yes Sir!’),” said the man who happens to have been born the same year as Nicklaus (1940). “It fit the moment. My favorite anecdote about it is Pat Haden (former NFL player, broadcaster and University of Southern California athletic director) told me about 15 years ago that when his regular golf group plays in L.A., and anyone sinks a long putt, inevitably they’ll yell ‘Yes Sir!’ That’s nice.”

In the final round in ’86, Nicklaus played the last 10 holes at Augusta National in 7 under par — with the birdie on 17 capping the surge — en route to becoming the oldest Masters champion ever.

“In my memory bank, that’s No. 1,” Lundquist, a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame said in 2011. “It has to do with the event, the fact that it happened at Augusta and that it’s Jack. If it were a lesser player, we wouldn’t be talking about it as much. There was an incredible buildup on the back nine, and because of the amazing drama this goes to the head of the list.”

When Nicklaus and his son Jackie were lining up the putt, Lundquist said he was well aware of the enormity of the broadcasting moment. He made a mistake estimating the length of the putt — he called it 18 feet instead of the 11 it turned out to be — but he certainly played the moment right.

“Simplicity is best,” he said. “I thought to myself, “‘Get out of the way. Don’t screw this up.’ But there was amazing synchronicity. Jack punctuated the words (by raising his putter to the sky).”

Although fellow broadcaster Ben Wright had said “Yes sir” not long before when Nicklaus eagled the 15th hole, Lundquist said he was unaware of that until Peter Kostis reminded him of the fact many years later. Whatever the case, the words hit the mark.

In fact, longtime CBS Masters host Jim Nantz once said Lundquist’s “Yes Sir!” is “the greatest call in Masters history.”

Said Lundquist: “Without reservation at all, that day in ’86 was the best sporting event I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t imagine what the people on the grounds thought, but it was scintillating for us on the telecast.”

Lundquist gradually has given up his other broadcasting duties over the last eight years, yielding his seat calling college football in 2016, college basketball and March Madness in 2017 and the PGA Championship in 2021.

And now it’s down to one more Masters for an octogenarian who has seen so much in sports — and golf — over his expansive career.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates