Celebrity Car: Jim Nantz - East Valley Tribune: Business

Celebrity Car: Jim Nantz

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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007 12:00 am | Updated: 6:01 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Even for one of TV’s most recognizable sports broadcasters, watching Tiger Woods at play in the splendor of the Monterey peninsula in California, the home of Pebble Beach, is rarely an easy assignment. “He’s just an amazing talent, with such extraordinary mental resolve, it’s often difficult to put captions on what he achieves,” says Jim Nantz.

Even for one of TV’s most recognizable sports broadcasters, watching Tiger Woods at play in the splendor of the Monterey peninsula in California, the home of Pebble Beach, is rarely an easy assignment.

“He’s just an amazing talent, with such extraordinary mental resolve, it’s often difficult to put captions on what he achieves,” says Jim Nantz.

“Like the Pebble Beach scenery, Tiger is just remarkable, and I’ve been lucky enough to document his amazing wins at this very special golf course. After a while though, your reservoir of superlatives dries up. What can I say about another virtuoso Tiger performance?”

Woods might occasionally tongue-tie him, but Nantz is never at a loss for words when describing his love for that California playground. Entranced by the waves pounding against the rugged coastline, the pines and cypresses, and by the dramatic scenery and curves, which make the 17-Mile Drive on the peninsula a challenge behind the wheel, he longs to call Pebble Beach home.

“There’s definitely a pull, a magnetic force that attracts me to this American treasure,” says Nantz, taking a rare break from his hectic schedule to talk with Celebrity Car Magazine.

“I’ve been all over the world, and there’s nothing like Pebble Beach. I feel amazingly alive when I’m there, at peace. It’s Mother Nature’s finest creation. One day I will live there.”

It’s understandable why Nantz still lives in Connecticut, only an hour outside New York City. It makes sense for him both for his work and his family life. Rather than turn into a frazzled, jet-plane commuter, the sportscaster understands that, “most of my workload is east of the Mississippi, plus I have a responsibility to be in the studio. Pebble Beach will have to wait.”

But even in Connecticut, Nantz is driving his own version of California dreaming. Deciding to become more of a tiger behind the wheel, he purchased a Lexus SC 430, an Azure Pearl hardtop convertible with an all aluminum 4.3-liter V8 that’s trumpeted as the Pebble Beach Edition.

Only 400 of these eye-catching 300-horsepower convertibles (a button raises or lowers the roof in 25 seconds) sprint along American highways, and Nantz delights in this exclusivity. Feeling it’s a privilege to own such “a classy automobile,” he says the SC 430 symbolizes his love affair with Pebble Beach.

“I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful moments on the Monterey peninsula, it’s impossible to catalogue all of them,” insists Nantz, who, at the time of our visit, also owned a Range Rover and a Mercedes-Benz SLK320. “The good times, the revelry, the frivolity of the Crosby [now called the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am] is certainly special. And of course there’s Tiger’s storming back with seven holes to play to win the U.S. Open [2000]. He’s a special guy. I can’t imagine any rock star being under more pressure and still keeping his life in such balance. He has such incredible inner strength, and certainly seems headed to be the greatest player ever.”

Nantz is also a talented golfer. Customarily shooting in the 70s — near par depending on the course — at many of America’s most renowned clubs, he played for the University of Houston, Tex., and has since gone on to broadcast for CBS every Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., since 1988.

Golf is certainly part of that Pebble Beach love affair, and as he sits in the Lexus, it becomes obvious why this limited-edition car is one of his favorite toys. Besides flaunting a state-of-the-art DVD navigational system, radiant aluminum-alloy wheels, and an elegant interior with black bird’s-eye-maple trim, the convertible sports several reminders of Pebble Beach.

“Pebble has a beautiful presence in this car. There’s a Lone Cypress console badge in the rear. And the doorsill scuff plates are illuminated by a deep blue light. When I lodge myself in here I feel very good about myself; it is very comfortable.”

Clearly scoring a hole in one with this car, Nantz quickly adds, “This Lexus is pure entertainment. I might not have that Pebble Beach home, but this convertible is a start. One day it will be navigating the curves of 17-Mile Drive.”

Celebrity Car is produced by Wheelbase Communications in conjunction with quarterly publication Celebrity Car Magazine and the duPont Registry.

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