Frank Chirkinian will be added to this year’s inductees to the World Golf Hall of Fame, PGA Tour officials announced today.
The news should be cheered by anyone who loves golf and storytelling.
Chirkinian combined them both as TV’s master storyteller.
Though Chirkinian was officially titled executive golf producer at CBS, he believed his role in the production truck was to capture the dramatic theater that golf presented. He directed 38 consecutive Masters telecasts and was such a unique persona he played himself in the movie 'Tin Cup.'
With Chirkinian, 84, fighting advanced cancer, the World Golf Hall of Fame in an emergency meeting voted to add Chirkinian. The ceremonies are planned May 9 during the week of The Players Championship.
“I am humbled and speechless by this announcement,” Chirkinian said in a Hall of Fame news release. “This is one of the most distinctive honors of my life, and I am grateful to be enshrined with some of the legends I was lucky enough to work with over the years.”
Chirkinian, who retired in 1996, won four Emmy and two Peabody awards. He is credited with a number of innovations, including installing a camera on a blimp and audio enhancements, including the use of microphones on tee boxes.
'Frank has had a tremendous influence on the game,' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'The convergence of television, Arnold Palmer and The Masters in the late 1950s and early '60s sparked growth across every golf metric. Frank’s vision for presenting the game on television made a huge impact on that trajectory. His contributions make him most deserving of this honor.'
Chirkinian was voted in through the Lifetime Achievement category and will join a class of inductees that includes Ernie Els, Doug Ford, the late Jock Hutchison, Jumbo Ozaki and George H.W. Bush,
Tough, opinionated but colorfully gifted with a sense of humor, Chirkinian was nicknamed “The Ayotollah” and loved it. He once described himself as “probably the most brilliant and innovative son of a bitch that ever worked in television.” His gift was being able to say that in a way that made you smile and believe him.