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Augusta National seeking to trademark ‘A Tradition Unlike Any Other’

jim-nantz

Augusta National Golf Club is fiercely protective of its reputation, image and legacy. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the renowned golf mecca is attempting to trademark a catchphrase made famous by a broadcaster who established his own brand broadcasting the Masters.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell and Bob Harig report that Augusta National in September filed for two separate trademarks for the phrase, “A Tradition Unlike Any Other,” a now-classic quip believed to be first uttered by CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz in 1986, although the first trademark application asserts that it was first used in 1989.

The second trademark reportedly involves the club seeking to commercialize and subsequently profit from the phrase, slapping it on anything and everything, specifically various articles of clothing. A t-shirt bearing the phrase apparently is being sold this year in Augusta’s merchandising tent.

It’s interesting that Nantz has no ownership of a catchphrase he popularized so much so that it has become synonymous with the broadcaster and the subdued, dulcet tones in which he covers the esteemed tournament.

According to the contract terms between CBS and ESPN, who air the tournament, and Augusta National indicate the club owns the broadcast outright, meaning anything and anything said and everything that is televised is technically owned by the Augusta.

Sandy Montag, the agent for Nantz, indicated to ESPN that her client had no knowledge that the trademark requests had been filed, but ultimately it doesn’t matter as any potential claim by Nantz to the phrase would be rendered moot due to his contract.

“It’s the same language in every contract,” Montag said. “Whatever work you do for the network is owned by the network, not you.”

An Augusta National spokesperson told ESPN that Nantz would be allowed to use the phrase free and clear since he’s part of the broadcast, but it’s unclear whether he would be allowed to do so outside of his role as Masters announcer, say, for personal speaking engagements.

In other words, it would be wise for Nantz to get to work on a trademark filing for “Hello, friends” immediately.

(photo credit: CBS News)