ESPN College GameDay’s Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit: Masters the show’s top host venue

Augusta National Golf Club holds a certain reverence in the sports world that few venues can compete with. Even those who aren’t golf fans can appreciate it for its beauty and history despite seeing it for just one weekend a year.

As Rece Davis said, Augusta National is “one of the cathedrals of sport” and “synonymous with excellence and tradition.” So it’s only fitting he’ll be hosting ESPN’s College GameDay live from the Par 3 course during the third round of this week’s Masters on Saturday morning.

While it might seem like a major golf tournament and college football preview show would go together like lamb and tuna fish, they’re actually the perfect pairing, like the Masters’ pimento cheese sandwich and egg salad.

“One of the strengths of this show is the ability to capture the unique opportunities of different venues, whether it be an aircraft carrier before I was on the show or Times Square when I was on the show, and now (Augusta),” said Davis, who praised the club’s hospitality and approach to welcoming GameDay down Magnolia Lane.

MASTERSThursday tee times | TV, streaming info

College Gameday first aired in 1987 and has become a fan-favorite program every Saturday morning. With Davis hosting alongside analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Lee Corso (the show’s lone original cast member), the group is known for hitting the road and hosting the show live from college campuses nationwide. When the pandemic pushed the Masters to November, Herbstreit wondered to himself whether GameDay at Augusta was possible.

“This is the one silver lining of 2020,” said Herbstreit. “This is going to be a historic moment for the show.”

“Because of the exclusivity, and also because (the Masters) normally doesn’t fall during football season, I’d say it’s got to be at the top of the list, right?” said Davis of where he ranks the Masters among past GameDay host sites. “In terms of pure venue, there are a lot of great ones, but this is, hopefully because we want things to return to normal, this will be the only opportunity to have a college football show while the Masters is going on. Because of the nature of that, it would have to go to the top of the list, not to mention the fact that it holds a certain mystique for so many people because they only get a glimpse of it over one weekend in the spring.”

That said, both men are no strangers to Augusta National. Davis has been twice, on two very different occasions – first in 1992 for work as the sports director of WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and second thanks to an invite from legendary football coach Lou Holtz. Herbstreit has been a patron at the last couple Masters.

“I told (fellow GameDay analyst Desmond Howard), maybe you’re not a big time golfer but you’ll be blown away when you walk on the grounds for the first time,” said Herbstreit.

In true 2020 fashion, what the pandemic gave, it also took away. Before this week was even a thought, a major trip was already planned for earlier this year. To start the season, the show was slated to be held in Dublin for the Notre Dame-Navy game.

“The backdrop and site they had set up in downtown Dublin was just spectacular,” said Davis of the previous plans. “Taking the show to a place like that would probably be next up, and hopefully we’ll be able to make that happen, but because of the unique situation we find ourselves in here with the Masters in November, I’d have to say this goes right to the top.”

Comments are closed.