AUGUSTA, Ga. — Many people have found a new career simply by being in the right place at the right time, and that certainly applies to ESPN Deportes golf announcer Silvia Bertolaccini.
The native of Argentina will be calling the action in Spanish today as ESPN Deportes televises the second round of the Masters Tournament from Augusta National Golf Club from 3-7:30 p.m. ET. She also is contributing to Masters coverage on ESPNDeportes.com, and golf fans watching the Masters on ESPN in Spanish-speaking Latin America also will hear her voice.
Bertolaccini had no intention of becoming a television announcer, but a phone call years ago changed that.
In 1989, after 15 years as a player on the LPGA Tour, Bertolaccini had retired from the links. She was working in Boston at a marketing company with Jane Blalock, one of her former golf rivals, when she received a phone call.
“It was a person who said ‘I have to do golf for ESPN, and I don’t know much about golf, and somebody gave me your name,’” she said.
The caller had been told that Bertolaccini was a golfer and spoke Spanish, and asked if Bertolaccini would help with translations. But as the conversation continued, Bertolaccini said the person quickly realized a limited knowledge of golf would make the job impossible.
“She asked me, ‘Is the green the verde? Is a birdie a pajarito?’ And I said no, we use English names, and she said, ‘I can’t do this then,’” she said.
Bertolaccini was then asked if she would be interested in the job. One thing led to another, and she traveled to ESPN headquarters for an audition.
“They tried me and I’ve been there ever since,” she said.
Now, she works with analyst Francisco “Paco” Aleman and on-course reporter John Sutcliffe on major golf events. The Masters ranks as one of her favorites.
“Everything about this event makes it enjoyable from every aspect,” she said. “The mission [of Augusta National] is to make the event the best ever. So if last year was good, this year needs to be a little bit better, and they do everything for that to happen.
“We feel part of the event,” she said. “You’re not just coming to cover the Masters, you are part of the Masters.”