Hideki Matsuyama won his first major championship on Sunday, holding on just long enough at the Masters to get into the clubhouse with a final round 73 to post 10-under for the tournament and take home a green jacket. It was a momentous occasion, as Matsuyama became Japan’s first men’s major champion in golf, a sport the country has a great affection for but had never seen a man climb to the pinnacle of the sport.
The call from Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo on the CBS Sports broadcast was simple, as Matsuyama tapped in for a two-putt bogey on 18 to win by one.
Hideki Matsuyama – 2021 Masters champion. #themasters
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 11, 2021
It was to the point, and then the two stepped out and let it breathe, allowing the cheers from the crowd and Matsuyama’s celebration with his caddie to tell the story for itself. It is the same manner in which they handled the incredible Tiger Woods win in 2019, when he likewise cleaned up a bogey on 18 and after a quick call of the win, Nantz and Faldo went silent for 2 minutes and 45 seconds to allow the celebration greenside to say everything that needed to be said.
This was apparently unacceptable this time around to some, however, as Bill Simmons went on a bizarre cancel culture rant on his podcast about how Nantz was somehow scared of making a cheeky pun (which he has been known to do at times in the past) as Matsuyama won (h/t BroBible).
“We were hoping for one of his classic pre-baked one-liners when Matsuyama won The Masters. I think he was scared off,” Simmons said. “He felt nervous to me the last twenty minutes, um, cancel culture, I don’t think Nantz wanted to go near anything. He kept kind of throwing it to Faldo and then when Matsuyama hit the…Nantz basically said, ‘Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese golfer to win The Masters.’ I’ve never heard him put less thought, energy, creativity, anything into one of his calls and it was a scared Jim Nantz, let’s be honest.”
He then went on to offer his own suggestion, which unsurprisingly was a 1980s pop culture reference that definitely would’ve gotten the people going (h/t The Big Lead).
“So I had it. I had the savvy one. ‘Heat of the Moment,’ which was a song that won like five Grammys by a band called Asia in the 80’s. I think Nantz could have gone stealth and done, It was the heat of the moment, Hideki Matsui is our Masters champion. Something like that and then it just would have been really underground. Nobody really would have gotten it. But he just played it chalk. You know what? You just signed a new contract Jim Nantz. We don’t want a scared Jim Nantz. Come up with some sort of line. Anything? Disappointing.”
It was actually worse than either of those. pic.twitter.com/Z5UFuDRDxe
— Ian (@EinLeigh) April 12, 2021
If nothing else, Simmons’ best effort at a clever quip being a reference to a 40-year-old song by the band Asia might be the best argument for why Nantz didn’t dial up a pun in this situation because, well, there wasn’t a really easy one to do — also confusing Matsuyama with former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui really puts the icing on the cake.
Nantz simply pointed out the history of the moment and let it breathe, which is never a bad idea. Also, the thought that Jim Nantz, who as Simmons notes just inked a monster new deal with CBS and is arguably the most powerful play-by-play announcer in all of sports given how he bounces from NFL to NCAA to The Masters each year, would be scared in this moment is rather incredible.
On top of all of that, making sure you don’t do some casual racism is probably a good way for everyone to operate and isn’t a cancel culture thing so much as a respect thing. This was a massive moment for golf and particularly golf in Japan, and Nantz is certainly aware of that and wanted to be respectful of the moment and what it meant. He did all the traditional Jim Nantz things on the call, there was nerves talk as things started moving quickly for Matsuyama on 15 and the win became in doubt, as always he nailed the family tree on the walk up 18 once it was clear the win was there, and when there wasn’t an exclamation point on the round as he just got it over the line with a bogey, Nantz gave it a solid call and stepped out.