Jim Nantz hits back at Phil Mickelson 'shadow-ban' claims at The Masters

Jim Nantz on Phil Mickelson coverage: "There was no effort at all by anybody at CBS to treat anyone any differently."

Andy Roberts's picture
Sat, 15 Apr 2023
Jim Nantz responds to Phil Mickelson 'shadow-ban' at The Masters

Lead CBS commentator Jim Nantz has hit back at claims of an intentional 'shadow-ban' of Phil Mickelson and his fellow LIV Golf players at The Masters last week. 

There had been uproar from a number of golf fans on social media, particularly LIV Golf fans, that Mickelson had been hidden from the CBS coverage at Augusta National.

But according to Nantz, who was speaking to Sports Illustrated's Jimmy Traina, that was most certainly not the case. Or the intention. 

As Nantz puts it, Mickelson's charge came late in the final round, and he was only ever a contender for the green jacket when he stuffed his approach to an inch on the 17th.

CBS showed coverage of Mickelson on the final few holes. 

Lefty was playing alongside Jordan Spieth, who was also making a late rally. 

Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, would birdie five of the last seven holes for a stunning round of 7-under 65 and he would set the clubhouse target of 8-under par. 

Jon Rahm was still two strokes clear of Mickelson by the time he finished, and the Spaniard went on to run out of a four-shot victory on 12-under par.

LIV Golf's Brooks Koepka, who was leading just about all week until the early stages of the final round, finished in second alongside Mickelson. 

Nantz said: 

"If you went back and looked at the full coverage on Sunday, including Sunday morning, the finishing up of the third round, our guys were really on Phil.
"Part of it is optics, when you look at the leaderboard at the end and you see that Phil’s tied for second, you think, ‘Well, my gosh, they must have been on him all day.’
"With two holes to play, he was tied for fifth with eight other guys at six under par, and he happens to be facing two holes that you’re lucky if you come through there unscathed in 17 and 18. 
"The odds are, if you had to make a prediction on it as you stood on the 17th tee, he’s probably going to make bogey on one of the last two holes and he’ll finish in the top 10.
"To Phil’s enormous credit, he knocked it to an inch in 17 and made birdie. We showed his entire playing of 18, and all of the sudden he finishes birdie-birdie, and it was a tremendous close by him."

The legendary commentator added: 

"At the end, the leaderboard looks like, ‘Well, he should have gotten that much coverage because he finished second.’ But you don’t know how it’s all going to play out in the end. There was no effort at all by anybody at CBS to treat anyone any differently.
"Phil has been a buddy of mine for a long time. There was no effort to conceal him or hide him at all."

Earlier in the week, Nantz hit back at claims he was taking a cheap shot at LIV Golf League players at The Masters.

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