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In Final Masters for Sean McManus and Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports Aims To Provide a Grand Sendoff

11/04/2024

In Final Masters for Sean McManus and Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports Aims To Provide a Grand Sendoff Coverage will once again feature drones, a FlyCam, walk-'n-talk interviews, and more By Jason Dachman

Thursday, April 11, 2024 - 3:04 pm

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Although the storied 69-year partnership between Augusta National and CBS Sports predates both Sean McManus and Verne Lundquist, it's hard to imagine The Masters without either of them. All things must end, however. This week, the revered chairman of CBS Sports and the iconic CBS golf announcer - both Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famers - are working their final outings at Augusta National before bidding adieu to a tradition unlike any other.

For McManus, now in his 28th year heading CBS Sports' Masters efforts, it's a moment of not only celebration but also validation following nearly three decades at the helm.

I think we have reestablished ourselves as the network of record for golf in the U.S., he says, and I couldn't be happier with the quality of our presentation and some of the innovations we have established. If you were to [look at] a tape of our coverage of The Masters even five years ago, [today's is] dramatically different. I am amazed at the job that our team has done both in front of and behind the camera, and it gets better every single week.

Plenty of Camaraderie in the Truck, Epic Aerials on the Course CBS Sports' coverage of The Masters will be produced by Sellers Shy (in his third year as coordinating producer) and Jim Rikhoff and directed by Steve Milton (lead director) and Bob Matina. Andy Freedman and Chris Svendsen will serve as replay producers. Freedman will produce and Cory Fishman will direct the Masters Highlights shows.

To have all these people around you [provides] a sense of great pride, says Shy. We feel like we have the best team to cover the best event.

Viewers can expect plenty of grand aerial views from Augusta, thanks largely to an arsenal of live drones covering the course and the return of a FlyCam point-to-point wired system at the 16th hole and covering the green at No. 15. McManus also hinted that Shy will deploy additional aerial cameras for this year's coverage.

I think one of the biggest additions to our coverage at Augusta National is the live drones, says McManus. They have provided for the last few years a look at Augusta National that was never seen before, which is from above. All our cameras were either on platforms or on towers, but you never got that panoramic view from high in the sky. I think the reaction people gave to that was extraordinary.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery Shy has also brought back several CBS Sports innovations that have become commonplace across the industry, including a transparent constant leaderboard graphic, the Super Tower housing the on-air talent, and a rules official in the booth.

We're very proud of what we've done over the last three years, he says. It begins with the constant leaderboard in the bottom right that is now a mainstay not only with us but, frankly, in all golf coverage. Our Super Tower, where all the announcers are in one place, has become very popular at other networks, and we're very proud of that, [as well as] the rules official.

We're focused on what we're doing working, Shy continues, and I'd like to think that we have - so far - a pretty good three-year r sum . We'll continue to look to enhance not only our two major championships [The Masters and the PGA] but also the PGA TOUR [coverage].

CBS Sports also plans to deliver walk-and-talk interviews with players on the course, which have become mainstays across its golf coverage. That level of access to players is just one of many major leaps in its coverage of The Masters over the past three decades.

I don't think I anticipated how different our coverage would be in 2024 as compared with [my first Masters in] 1997, says McManus, from coming on much earlier for full 18-hole coverage on Saturday and Sunday to aerial coverage of the golf course to the opportunity to have [Lead On-Course Reporter] Dottie Pepper' inside the ropes, which we never had before.

Listen, we could have kept our coverage in 1997 the same for 27 years, he continues, and people would've thought it was still the best golf tournament coverage in this country. But [former Coordinating Producer] Lance Barrow and now Sellers have taken it to a new level, [along with] Steve Milton, who has directed every one of those Masters that I've been involved with. They are constantly trying to challenge themselves and working hand-in-glove with Augusta National on camera positions, new audio [opportunities], and aerial coverage.

Going Out on a High Note Of course, McManus's history at Augusta National goes well beyond his nearly three decades at the helm of CBS Sports. His late father, Sports Broadcasting Hall of Famer Jim McKay, anchored The Masters for CBS until 1960, when he departed for ABC Sports to launch what would become The Wide World of Sports with Roone Arledge. So, although this may be McManus's last year in an official capacity at The Masters, his love for Augusta National will live on long after his retirement.

One of the great privileges of my life and my career, McManus adds, is the opportunity to be so closely associated with Augusta National and The Masters. When I look back on my career, I think I will do so with the most pride around Augusta National and the Masters. Fairly early on Sunday morning, I will do my traditional trip down to Amen Corner to soak it all in - and have a nice conversation with my father, who loved Amen Corner almost as much as I do.
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/04/11/in-final-masters-for-sean-mcman...
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