Amid a legendary career and life, Vin Scully was a fixture in golf
You can’t write the history of baseball — and sports — without mentioning Vin Scully, who passed away Tuesday at age 94.
The same, however, could be said about golf.
Scully, most famously known as the voice of the Dodgers for 67 years, called many indelible moments in sports. Those include Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, Bill Buckner’s error in Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit walk-off home run in Game 1 of the ’88 World Series and Dwight Clarke’s “The Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship game — plus so, so much more.
Amid all that, he was a part of many iconic moments in golf.
In 1975, Scully called his first Masters Tournament, broadcasting Jack Nicklaus’ historic victory, when the Golden Bear edged Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf for his fifth green jacket.
Scully, a native of the Bronx, New York, handled the Masters’ play-by-play duties until 1982.
“I was always on the tower, alone at 18 (at the Masters),” Scully told Forbes in 2020. “My duties were to do 9, which came down behind me, 10 which went away, down and off, and then 18 where the big guys came up at the end of the tournament and the story was going to be written.
“The big thing about being at the Masters, and unless you go there you don’t realize it, is the crowd noise. Augusta is a little bit like a bowl, you’re up on top of it and you tee off and go to the bottom and work your way back up.”
Scully was also on the call when The Players Championship moved to TPC Sawgrass in 1982. That year, Jerry Pate secured the victory by sticking his approach on No. 18 to 3 feet. Afterward, Pate pushed then PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and course designer Pete Dye into the water beside No. 18 before jumping in himself. Scully called it “perhaps the wildest moment in the history of sports.”
Scully left CBS for NBC in ’82 so he could call baseball nationally, as NBC Sports had MLB’s “Game of the Week” on Saturdays. But that move also came with opportunities to call PGA Tour golf.
“When [Scully] started broadcasting golf, it was a real positive for the PGA Tour because somebody of his stature did not do minor events,” Beman said, according to PGATour.com. “At that time, we were still a minor sport. I think it was a very subtle message to the public that when Vin Scully started doing golf, that golf was more important than they realized. I think Vin probably saw in the future that golf had the opportunity to become a major sport. It took a while, but that’s what it became. I don’t think Vin would have taken golf under his wing if he didn’t think golf was worthy of somebody of his stature describing the action.”
In 1990, Scully left NBC when CBS re-acquired Major League Baseball’s broadcast contract. Scully’s time broadcasting golf ended there, as he declined to call the sport for another two years and fulfill his contract with NBC.
He still, though, had a deep admiration for the sport as an avid player.
In 2016, Scully put a bow on a legendary broadcasting career. Yet, in an extraordinary life, the hardest goodbye may have been when he shelved his clubs for good.
“The most emotion I felt was when they were putting my golf clubs in the truck,” Scully told Forbes. “I did have a twinge that there goes a major portion of my life, because I played with my wife, Sandi, at home and all over the world and we had a wonderful time.”