- August 30, 2021
Ben Wright, who broadcast golf and other sports for CBS for 23 years, died on August 29, 2021 from complications post-surgery.
Ben Wright was a broadcast golf announcer and other sports for CBS TV for 23 years. He was born to Reginald Arthur Wright and Gwendolyn Fraser Rose of Luton England. He was educated at Felsted School, Essex, England and at London University. He graduated in English and Russian. He served as a Russian interpreter in the British Army. In 1954, he became a sportswriter, then golf correspondent of the Daily Dispatch in Manchester and for the Daily Mirror in London before becoming a freelance writer and broadcaster in 1961.
Wright penned weekly columns for The Observer and Sunday Times national newspapers, contributed regularly to Time magazine and Sports Illustrated, broadcast for BBC radio and television, and ITV (the British commercial network. He was a founder and associate editor of Golf World (UK), and joined The Financial Times as its first ever golf correspondent in 1966, penning a weekly column until retiring in 1989.
In addition to serving as an announcer for CBS TV Sports from 1972, Wright commentated on golf for the BBC, ITV, Australian television, and in New Zealand. For four years (1993-96) he hosted the world feed of the Sun City Million Dollar Challenge, and broadcast the World Cup from Cape Town, South Africa in 1996.
Wright was a member of the CBS golf team that won the EMMY award in 1980-1, has been nominated for further EMMY awards on a regular basis, and was also a member of the CBS team awarded the coveted Peabody Award in 1992. He was an award winner in the MacGregor golf writing contest in 1982 and 1989.
Wright has written books on golf, cricket and soccer in Great Britain, and in 1992 published the highly acclaimed “The Spirit of Golf” with illustrations by the renowned American impressionist painter, Ray Ellis, and a lengthy foreword by Herbert Warren Wind, the doyen of American golf writers.
Wright, who attended the world’s major golf events since 1954, announced the Ryder Cup matches for the USA Network for several years. The 1995 Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club was the 23rd in succession and last Wright broadcast for CBS, where since 1974 he announced the 15th and later the 16th hole as well.
He was Editor at Large for Links magazine, formerly since their launch in 1988, and for 20 years through 2008.
In 1994, he designed and built his first golf course in America, The Cliffs Valley G. and C.C. in Travelers Rest, S.C., which opened on October 2nd, 1995 to rave reviews. Wright was featured in the very successful golf film, Tin Cup, which starred Kevin Costner. His autobiography, “Good Bounces and Bad Lies”, was published in August 1999, and was followed by “Speak Wright”.
After leaving CBS in 1999 Wright contributed to CTV (Canada) on major golf events, served as a writer and sole commentator on several productions of the World Club Championships for the golf channel, and in June 2003, he anchored the prime time special, “People against the Pros”, again on The Golf Channel starring John Daly and Lee Trevino in Lake Las Vegas. He is a regular contributor to radio sports shows nationally, in syndication and locally throughout the United States.
Wright was deeply involved working for charity. The Ben Wright International Challenge Cup has grossed over seven million dollars in its first 25 years for Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, S.C. Inc. He has also been an active supporter of Arizona Children’s Charities in Greenville, SC. He is survived by his wife, Helen (Litsas), his daughter Margaret (Taylor) Lanier, and grand children Stella Jane, Bentley, Wesley and Andrew (Greensboro NC), and sister Susie (Roger) White of Epsom, England.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, S.C. .