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Enberg’s U.S. Open Work A Signature Part of Legendary Career December 21, 2017 | Far Hills, N.J. By Michael Trostel, USGA

Legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg was the lead voice of five U.S. Opens from 1995-99. (USGA Archives)

Sportscaster Dick Enberg was as versatile as he was talented. In a career that spanned six decades, he called 28 Wimbledon championships, 10 Super Bowls, nine no-hitters and eight NCAA Tournament title games. He was also the lead play-by-play announcer for five U.S. Open Championships in the late 1990s.

Enberg died on Thursday night at his home in La Jolla, Calif., from an apparent heart attack. He was 82. 

In a 2015 interview, Enberg explained the challenges that came with calling golf: “Of all the sports I’ve done, the most difficult of all is golf. The audience is the most knowledgeable – and critical if you make a mistake. At first, I wasn’t prepared for the shock of calling a sports event where you don’t see any of the action live.”

But from his perch in the 18th-hole tower, Enberg made it sound effortless, seamlessly guiding the viewer around the course with his descriptive storytelling as drama built on Sunday afternoons.

He was the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC Sports’ golf coverage from 1995 to 1999, calling five U.S. Open Championships with 1973 champion Johnny Miller as the lead analyst. Enberg’s understated, yet informative approach helped to enhance the viewer’s experience of the championship without becoming the focal point of the broadcast. 

His reaction to the conclusion of the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 – “Payne Stewart is the 1999 U.S. Open champion! Oh my!” – remains one of the iconic calls in the championship’s history.
 


Enberg also made the call when Justin Leonard sank a 45-footer for a birdie that would seal the USA’s remarkable comeback at The Country Club in the 1999 Ryder Cup Matches, punctuating his trademark reaction: “Oh my!”

Enberg was still broadcasting into his 80s, before retiring in 2016. “Sportscasting is a kid's dream come true, which is one of the reasons that I keep doing it,” he wrote in his 2004 autobiography, Dick Enberg, Oh My! “I can't let my dream go. I'm still in love with what I do.”

Enberg, a native of Mount Clemens, Mich., earned a host of honors during his illustrious career, including nine national Sportscaster of the Year awards and 13 Sports Emmy Awards. He is the only sportscaster to win Emmys in three categories – broadcasting, writing, and producing.

He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and UCLA recently named its media center in Pauley Pavilion after Enberg.

Michael Trostel is the senior content producer for the USGA. Email him at mtrostel@usga.org.

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