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.