Miller, Faldo offer thoughts on Masters


Golf Channel analysts broadcast quotes – 'Live From the Masters' Thursday, April 5

Golf Channel on NBC analyst Johnny Miller

On the nerves of walking to Augusta National's first tee on Thursday:

Johnny Miller: I think it’s the most nervous hour or two of your golfing life every year.  I think the fact that the PGA is in August and you are waiting all that time to get to the next major and you’re thinking about Augusta all the time to start the year.  By the time you get here, I think that is one reason why the scoring average is so high in the first round.  Not only that, but I think the Augusta officials and who sets up the course sets it up, I think, the toughest on Thursday.  I always thought that.  Sort of like to break the back of the players a little bit and not let them just have a cake walk.  Even for Tiger, he needs that first round to get off and going.  People say, ‘Who do you think is going to win the Masters Johnny?’  I don’t make an educated guess until after that Thursday round, because a lot of the guys just can’t handle the pressure of Thursday.  They just can’t do it.  So it is really important to see what a guy has got inside on Thursday.  If he can finish off that round and put himself in the championship.

On the great storylines to start the 2012 PGA Tour season:

Miller: The good news is that we had the great win by Tiger Woods, but we had a lot of great stuff going on prior to that win.  It sort of shows that golf will always survive a Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, whomever.  Golf is the real deal.  It is nice to have Tiger and Phil win, but there can be exciting golf without those two.  The future looks pretty darn good.  This year has had the best finishes I have seen any year so far without Tiger winning a bunch. 

On how tough it is to win that first major:

Miller: Majors are not necessarily geared for nice guys.  That is a funny thing to say I know, but the sweet guys like Steve Stricker and people like that, you have to be tough to win majors.  You’ve got to be really like a Gary Player, you’ve gotta be where you are almost crazy about the game of golf and your desire to win.  For me, it was too nervous at majors.  I had the game to win several majors, but I was a guy that liked to go fishing and enjoy my family.  Yeah, If I won a major, that was good, but these other guys that have won a lot of majors, they eat and sleep golf.  That wasn’t me.  I know that Luke Donald is trying hard to win, but it’s not for everybody…The first round is the key for the guys that are sort of nice guys if you want to put it in that category.  You can blow yourself out with nervousness that first round.

Why he didn’t ever win a Masters:

Miller: It was all about the putting for me.  Most of my wins on Tour, I was No. 1 on greens hit so I would do it more with my good iron play and shaking a few 4-, 5- or 6-footers.  I couldn’t do it like a Ben Crenshaw, where I had to do it with the putter.  I was really good with my putter, hitting it where I was aiming, but unless you can dial in the speed, you will miss it high if you hit it too hard, and miss it low if you hit it too easy.  So, not only do you have to hit it where you are aiming, you have to get perfect distance control.  I was a pop putter, and pop putting and Augusta National aren’t the best of friends.

Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo

On being paired with Johnny Miller for Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest:

Rich Lerner: I know you were excited to play the par-3 contest … just didn’t happen.

Nick Faldo: It was all Johnny’s fault.  Johnny and I decided way back at Kapalua to do the par-3 together.  So I booked the time, 3:25.  As the storm rolled in, I said jokingly, ‘Once this storm cloud sees Johnny’s swing.’ He didn’t even practice, can you believe it.  He didn’t even hit one warm up shot.  He was going to be a horrendous golf swing off the first tee.  I thought it was going to send the clouds away.  When in fact, the day got called off.  So, just blame Johnny, simple as that.