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Tiger’s gravity-defying Masters chip immortalized by an audible

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Oh, how we love the anniversary points here at Augusta National, and there are plenty to celebrate at the 2015 Masters.

Notably, it was 40 years ago when Lee Elder became the first black golfer to play in the Masters. That year, 1975, also is remembered as the year Jack Nicklaus won for the fifth time in arguably one of the very best Masters.

Twenty-five years ago, Nick Faldo became just the second player to successfully defend the Masters, and 20 years ago a 19-year-old named Tiger Woods, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, shot 72-72-77-72 to finish as low amateur in his Masters debut.

Memory Lane has a lot of traffic and it is paved in green, but occasionally you discovered that an adjustment needs to be made, that you need to pull a “Paul Harvey” and tell the rest of the story. The 10-year anniversary of Tiger Woods’ fourth Masters’ win is toasted by some in various manners. Some can’t believe it’s been a 10-year drought, given that Woods won four green jackets in his first nine years here. Others choose to recall the playoff struggle over DiMarco, and still others will harken back to arguably the most fantastic shot in Masters history, the chip shot from long left of the 16th green that Woods deftly holed – much to everyone’s shock.

It remains a shining moment in CBS’ forever coverage of this tournament – brilliant TV – but it’s here where Verne Lundquist steps in. It is the ultimate bittersweet memory for him, but what soothes the pain is paying homage to a friend and colleague who was behind a Masters moment frozen in time.

Norm Patterson, who was behind the incredible TV shot that we had live of Woods’ epic chip-in, died of a heart attack nine months after that 2005 Masters.

“At 45, he was a very, very young man,” Lundquist said. “That shot (of Woods’ chip-in) is such a very pleasant memory save for the loss of our dear friend.”

It’s because of the anniversary angle here at the Masters that talk of the Woods win in 2005 has circulated and thus has Lundquist felt the urge to tell what went on behind the scenes. But it’s television, Lundquist reminds, and that means there are many voices calling for reaction to the action, tempers sometimes get going, and stress levels boil over. Yet in the face of all that, CBS hit a home run in the fourth round of the 2005 Masters, especially with its work at the 16th.

Leading by one over Chris DiMarco, Woods was long and left with an 8-iron, arguably the worst place to be. DiMarco was 20 feet for birdie and it was easy to envision a two-stroke swing – a Woods bogey, a DiMarco birdie. On TV, Lanny Wadkins, offering what everyone felt was a brilliant call, said Woods would be doing well to get it inside of DiMarco’s shot.

“Lanny (in the tower at the 18th hole, watching on the monitor) said that and I thought, ‘That would be pretty good if Tiger did that,’ ” said Lundquist, who was working the action from the 16th tower, his usual perch.

Here, Lundquist offered an explanation as to how things would be working in the truck, with Lance Barrow in charge, Steve Milton second in command, and Patterson third. When Woods, after much deliberation, finally lofted the shot into the air, hitting it well left of the hole and up on a plateau, it was left for the announcers to be quiet and let the visuals take over. The ball started to turn right, ever so slowly, and then trickle, trickle, trickle . . .

“Here’s where it became fascinating,” Lundquist. “The order was given to ‘Take 6,’ meaning switch to camera No. 6 and what would’ve happened is (the audience) would have seen a shot of Tiger’s facial expression.”

In so many ways it made sense, but something made Patterson “stay with 10,” said Lundquist. By staying with camera 10 (operated by cameraman Bob Wishnie up on the tower next to Lundquist) instead of switching to camera 6 for the Woods facial expression, viewers watched the entire meandering route taken by Woods’ Nike ball, down to the very list second it hung on the lip . . . until . . . it . . . finally . . . somehow . . . miraculously . . . disappeared.

“Let’s face it, the stars were aligned,” Milton said in the aftermath of that brilliant TV moment.

Milton knew the truth behind the story of that sequence, though it was several months before Lundquist knew, too. He said that when he got wind of how Patterson disobeyed a command and CBS benefited by his intuition and gutsy audible, he happened to be sitting in a trailer with just Milton and Patterson.

Lundquist asked about the details of that day and “Steve asked, ‘Verne, where are you going with this?’ ” When he turned to Patterson, Lundquist smiled.

“Norm was such a mild man, but he looked at me and said, ‘Now, Verne. At the end of the day we’re all family here.’ ”

It confirmed to Lundquist that he had been told the story correctly, that Patterson had made a split-second decision and helped capture one of the greatest moments in Masters history live. But what happened next only tightens the CBS family bond even more, because following Patterson’s death while the network was out working the tournament at Torrey Pines, Milton knew what he had to do.

“It was such a classy thing for Steve to do,” Lundquist said. “He insisted on going to the funeral to eulogize Norm. He wanted to share with Norm’s family the story of what went on that day in the truck, to make them aware of what a great contribution he had made to his profession.”

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