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May 3, 2014

For Jim Nantz, full schedule and family

CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz is in Charlotte to call the Wells Fargo Championship. He spoke with the Observer’s Jonathan Jones on Saturday about Quail Hollow, fatherhood and the Carolina Panthers.

CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz has covered golf and football for CBS for 29 years. He’s less than a month removed from calling the NCAA tournament and the Masters in back-to-back weeks while welcoming his newborn daughter. A Mount Holly native, Nantz is in Charlotte to call the Wells Fargo Championship. He spoke with the Observer’s Jonathan Jones on Saturday about Quail Hollow, fatherhood and the Carolina Panthers.

Q: You call the NCAA tournament, turn around and do the Masters. Have you been able to decompress since mid-April?

A: It’s been three weeks, and I haven’t had a chance to. I went straight to Hilton Head, and I had my family with me. I live in California, so it’s too long to go back. I went early this week to Houston for a senior event. I get home on Monday, I recreate a few football games on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Madden (video) game that will come out in August. But at least I’m at home.

Q: So your daughter, Finley, is 7 weeks old. What’s this dad’s life like?

A: I have an older daughter (Caroline), who’s such a joy in my life. To go through it again, it’s wonderful. I just can’t wait til little Finley grows up to get to know her older sister. She’s already been on five flights in her 50 days.

Q: What do you make of the changes at the 16th and 17th holes?

A: Earlier I went out to coach (John) Fox’s house, dropped off my wife and baby and I walked a little. I made the observation that just looking down the fairways here, it really does look like a major championship. It has a different feel than your week-in, week-out tour tournament. It’s so much bigger than that. They’ve done such a good job of making this feel like it’s the center of the golf universe… It’s a really neat thing they did there. They took maybe the greatest three-hole finish that you have on a PGA Tour event and decided they could still make it a little bit better. That’s a bold move to make, and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to play out under pressure.

Q: There was some concern with the lack of top-tier players in the tournament going into the week, but the big names here are near the top of the board. How do you feel about this field?

A: Before I saw Phil (Mickelson) hit his second shot at 14, they put up the leader board. It was Phil on top, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy. It’s pretty heavy stuff. I know Derek Ernst came out of left field and won this tournament last year, and good for him. But McIlroy and Fowler in a playoff here with D.A. Points. Sergio (Garcia) battling down to the wire with Vijay Singh. Tiger winning here. This tournament has a knack to not only draw a great field, but the best know how to prevail here after 72 holes.

Q: What’s the PGA Tour without Tiger Woods?

A: Well, we’ve gotten a little accustomed to it because he’s gone through these injuries before. I think the way he was playing was a reflection primarily of the fact that he wasn’t well. The thing about Tiger, you’re just waiting for him to come back, and I don’t expect we’ll see the guy who failed to finish in a couple of tournaments this year. I hear all these doomsayers claiming he’s never going to win again, and I don’t buy any of that. He’s 38 years old. Now, his body has broken down on him a few times, but he’s come back from that before. He’s won on one leg (2008 U.S. Open).

Q: You lived in Mount Holly for the first six years of your life before moving around. What do you do when you get to come back to the area?

A: I had a family gathering last night with some of the relatives. I have another with some others for brunch before the final round. And it’s wonderful to come back and see everyone. I lived in two homes when I was here—very, very modest. I always like to go by and see them, but I haven’t had a chance to see them yet.

Q: CBS gets Thursday Night Football this year, and you will be calling the Saints-Panthers game in Week 9. Are you excited for this change, and what do you expect to see out of the Panthers?

A: If you take a weekly schedule of doing 20 games in a season with the playoffs, and you now add a Thursday night game to it, the preparation that goes into these games is immense. But I’m very excited and I know CBS is thrilled about getting Thursday Night Football … Obviously, the biggest question mark for the Panthers is, who’s going to catch the ball? What kind of threat are they going to present on the outside? But a lot of things can happen in the next week, as you know. I’m going to see a lot of (former Panthers receiver) Steve Smith, though. He’s in our package with the AFC. I think he’s going to do really well with the Ravens. He could really help them.

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