[Laughs] Unexpected. Let's put it that way. We've had a great run together. They actually first put Raf and me together for back-to-back weeks in 1983. [They've been permanent partners since 2000.] We called two South Carolina games. Billy and I had hit it off so great the first week that he suggested we bring our wives along for the second week. We became fast friends, and the reaction from New York [CBS Sports's headquarters] was that we sounded great together.
In addition to the Post, The New Yorker recently profiled you and Bill. Now SI. Why is this happening for two men with a combined age of 141?
I don't want to be self-aggrandizing, but one of the joys of working with Bill is seeing him interact with young people. I feel comfortable with young people as well. We are not talking about a generation removed—for Raf and me, it's two generations since we were in college. So it's a great honor to remain viable with the college kids. The rest of the audience too, but I think the joy for us comes from the interaction on campuses and with the players themselves. Somehow the comfort factor comes through the screen.
You must be asked to say "Yes, sir!" all the time by golf fans.
Yes, and now occasionally in airports, people come up to me and say, "In your life ... !" I take it in the way it is intended: It is a very nice recognition of the moments I have had at Augusta.
That call of the birdie by Jack Nicklaus at number 17 in 1986 is considered by many to be one of the great sports calls of our time. What were you thinking during the hole?
The back nine at Augusta that Sunday remains the single most thrilling sporting event that I have ever witnessed. I remember when he walked toward the green saying to myself, If he makes this putt, he is going to have the lead at Augusta at the age of 46. So my thought process was, Just get out of the way. We bounced around the course, and when we came back, Jack was about to line up for the putt. I thought to myself: Don't screw this up. So I said, "This is for sole possession of the lead." He hits the putt, and about a foot and a half [from the hole] I said, "Maybe." Then it dropped in and I hollered, "Yes, sir!" Because I have seen it 6,487 times [laughs], to me what makes the moment memorable, or maybe the call memorable, is when I said, "Yes, sir!" there is a synchronicity in Jack's reaction and my words. Exactly when I said, "Yes, sir!" he pumped both of his arms. He was giving an orchestra a downbeat.
You really wanted Nicklaus to make that shot, right?
Of course. I am a huge Jack Nicklaus fan. I just think he was a noble man in this sport. Tiger may ultimately surpass Jack, but Nicklaus for me will always be the guy.
You moved to the 16th hole in 2000 and called Tiger's famous chip shot in '05. We all love the call, but how did you come up with that?