Nobody knows Olympic Club better than NBC analyst Johnny Miller.
In a conference call Thursday, Miller was asked about a wide range of topics in preparation for Olympic’s hosting of the U.S. Open in three weeks, including his assessment of the chances of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, the three biggest names in golf today.
Miller grew up playing Olympic, his home course.
Here’s Miller on today’s triumvirate:
On Woods – “The one thing about Tiger, he knows Olympic Club, and it wouldn’t surprise me, if he can somehow get his game together . . . It fell apart at the Masters after winning Bay Hill, which was a shock to me. You could never say nerves ever had anything to do with anything his whole career, and all of a sudden at the Masters, he fell apart because of nerves, first time in his career. I don’t know what to think of Tiger Woods at the Open. I don’t know if that was something where he’ll learn from Augusta, or if that is just something he can’t control.”
On Mickelson – “The factor has been his driver. He has almost won the Open despite his crazy driving of the ball. If he would have driven the ball well in any one of those five runner-ups, he would have won at least one Open, and probably two or three Opens. You remember at Winged Foot, he hit like three fairways the whole last round and almost won the dang thing. The guy’s like a magician . . .
“This is going to be one of the hardest driving courses in the history of modern Opens . . . The thing I do like about Phil is his little, high draw really sets up great for a lot of the approach shots to the greens, but that being said, Olympic is a precision course . . . . So, he’s going to have to change his aggressive style of play and make it fit Olympic Club, otherwise, he won’t have a chance of contending.”
On McIlroy – “Last year, Congressional was a good course, but it was almost like a Tour course. This is a whole different ballgame. They are back to more being at a U.S. Open. He won in a more non-traditional U.S. Open setup, in my opinion. Now, we are going to get back to where, I believe, it’s not going to be so much fun and games out there. It’s going to be hard work. I think it’s a sterner test. I might be wrong, but probably 3, 4, 5 under par will win the championship, and there might be only three, four or five guys under par . . . So Rory basically won waltzing around like it was no big deal, and I just don’t see Olympic Club, with its hilly lies and tiny greens, I don’t see that being something easy for anyone going around. Rory is a good pick, by the way.”