Jim Nantz starts most every CBS telecast he does with his now signature welcome, “Hello, friends,” followed by an intro and some kind of setup for what’s about to unfold.
However, it’s not something Nantz has done his entire career. In fact, “Hello, friends” dates specifically back to the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine, when he chose to say hello to his father.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) February 10, 2017
“I said it on Saturday’s third round,” Nantz recalled on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “My father was deep in the throes of his battle that he would lose in ’08 to Alzheimer’s, and he had faint recognition of his son. The last thing I said to him earlier in the week in Houston was, ‘I’m going to say a little cryptic message to you on the air this weekend, and it’s ‘Hello, friends.” Because my dad had nothing but friends in his life.”
Eli Spielman, one of Nantz’s friends and a co-author on his book about his relationship with his father, heard the line and was curious where Nantz got the idea. Once he heard the explanation, Spielman suggested Nantz should open with the line again on Championship Sunday.
Nantz has done it on every show since.
“I love it because, for that little moment, I connect with my dad,” Nantz said, “and I feel like I’m talking to him.”