Chirkinian passes away at 84 « The Tour Report

Remembering Frank Chirkinian

Legendary golf television producer Frank Chirkinian passed away on Friday.

Frank Chirkinian, the legendary golf and sports television producer, passed away at his North Palm Beach, Fla., home Friday evening after a long battle with lung cancer. Chirkinian, who was selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in February, was 84 years old (click here for a video tribute of Chirkinian).

Under his 39-year watch as CBS’ lead golf producer, the network was the first to use high-angle cameras in blimps, trees and cranes. He also put roving reporters on the ground, painted the cups white and created the IFB device that allows producers to talk to their announcers during a telecast.

In 1960 he was the first to list a player’s score relative to par instead of their total strokes for the tournament.

In all, Chirkinian produced 38 Masters telecasts.

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem issued the following statement:

“Frank Chirkinian was a visionary in every sense of the word,” Finchem said. “He was an artist. The sport of golf was presented on television to generations of fans in innovative, imaginative and entertaining ways because of Frank. Our sport has lost a friend and a true pioneer.”

The World Golf Hall of Fame issued the following statement:

Jack Peter, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum: “Golf lost one of its giants with the passing of Frank Chirkinian. Like everyone in the game, the World Golf Hall of Fame family is saddened by this news. We will be honored to celebrate his life and impact on the game with his induction into the Hall of Fame in May. He will forever be remembered as a pioneer and truly deserving of being known as the father of golf on television.”

CBS Sports issued the following statements Friday:

Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports: “In his 38 years with CBS Sports, Frank Chirkinian’s remarkable innovations and contributions have become the industry standard for the way we watch golf on television. Frank has left a legacy of excellence and creativity in golf broadcasting that will never be equaled and is a true Hall of Famer in all of sports television.”

Jim Nantz: “He was a friend, a mentor and a father figure to me. I was blessed to have his guiding hand extended to me at the age of 26. I am comforted knowing, as long as there is golf being televised any where in the world; Frank Chirkinian lives.”

Lance Barrow, Coordinating Producer of Golf and the NFL on CBS Sports: “The golfing world lost a great ambassador to the game today in the passing of Frank Chirkinian. He did as much for the game as anyone who has ever been associated with golf. His legacy will live on forever.”

CBS Sports will honor Chirkinian throughout the day on Saturday. Nantz will deliver a special tribute to Chirkinian during halftime of the Kansas-Missouri game that begins at Noon, ET.

A great loss.