January 13, 2018

Broadcaster Keith Jackson dies; he was an avid golfer who at 80 broke his age at Los Angeles Country Club North



KEITH JACKSON RETURNS TO ABC SPORTS COLLEGE FOOTBALL -- ABC Sports, the network of college football, will employ a deep and versatile roster of announcers, that includes the return of Broadcast Hall of Famer Keith Jackson. The announcement was made today 6/15/99, by Howard Katz, president of ABC Sports. Mr. Jackson, who announced his retirement following the 1998 season, was coaxed back to ABC Sports by Mr. Katz, following his recent appointment at ABC. The two have been friends for 28 years. Mr. Jackson will cover Pac-10 games and the Rose Bowl, keeping him in close proximity to his Los Angeles home."I am thrilled that Keith has accepted my personal appeal for him to return to the broadcast booth. This new arrangement to cover Pac-10 games and the Rose Bowl will allow him to stay close to home and [his wife] Turi Ann. His return also gives ABC Sports great depth and flexibility in assigning the highest quality announcers to every one of our college football telecasts," said Mr. Katz.(Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)KEITH JACKSON

Photo by: Ida Mae Astute

Ida Mae Astute

Keith Jackson, a broadcasting legend, was an avid golfer, who at 80 was breaking his age on the exceedingly difficult North Course at Los Angeles Country Club, where he was a member.

“My wife and I play about three days a week and I play with a bunch of buddies over there that I call the mafia,” he told me in 2009. “Why? Because two days after I turned 80 I shot 78 and lost $70.

“I played the renowned North Course there for years. But now I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income with limited ability, so I play the South Course.”

Jackson, 89, died on Friday night. He was a fixture at ABC Sports and was best known for broadcasting college football, though he also called PGA Tour events for the network for a time. Two of his trademark calls were "whoa Nellie," and "the big uglies," as he called down linemen.

He was introduced golf as a boy growing up in Carrollton, Ga. “Several people were growing up at that time in the golf business,” he said on a Callaway Live episode. “Doug Sanders was just up the road. Louise Suggs and her family owned the golf course there in a little town [Lithia Springs] halfway between Carrollton and Atlanta.” Jackson said he used a first baseman’s mitt to shag practice balls there.

At his best, he said, he was probably a four handicap. In 2009, he still was a strong player, with an index of 10.8. He played in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic that year. “I played eight days in a row, including four in the Bob Hope,” he said. “I'm 80 years old, with artificial knees. That’s hard.”

Jackson, given his television credentials, was surprised that Los Angeles CC even allowed him to become a member.

“I have no idea how I got in, considering its history of excluding those from the entertainment industry,” he said. “We were members at Bel-Air Country Club, when Howard Lester, Jay McMahon and Manny Sheridan asked me if I'd like to join the Los Angeles Country Club. It is a great facility. ‘Of course,’ I said. That was 1980.

“We belong to Shoal Creek, down in Birmingham, Ala. Hall Thompson, who founded Shoal Creek, is a good old friend. I have a great fondness for him and respect him highly. All of a sudden at Thompson Cottage there’s a Jackson Suite and we became members.”

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