Johnny Miller Open and Honest


Editor's Note: Johnny Millers the rare commentator'more famous than most of the players he covers and often times as entertaining. He announces the same way he played. He attacks the flag stick. In a GOLF CHANNEL special presentation, 'Johnny Miller Open and Honest,' premiering Tuesday, June 12 at 9 p.m. ET, Rich Lerner sits down with Johnny to tackle a number of subjects. Below are some excerpts from the 30 minute interview.
RL: Fair to say, Johnny, that you dont measure or plan your commentary?
JM: I absolutely have no clue I am on the air. Sometimes I have to remind myself, Dont say that! If you really analyze the way I announce, if I was on all the time I think it would be too much. I dont mean to be that way and Ive tried to be a little mellower, but I really dont try to do anything when Im on the air. I mean the perfect announcing syndrome for me is that I get so interested in whats going on that I dont even know Im announcing and thats probably why Im as candid as I am because in my mind Im not even on the air. Im just talking to you.
RL: Ill hear from players that Johnny never spends any time on the range or that Johnny never walks in the locker room or Johnny doesnt talk to me.
JM: The way I announce Im not going to be real chummy. The gallery loves my announcing. The people in the home like my announcing because they know they are getting the real truth. You know the one thing about me is that Ive never been a chummy guy. Hall of Fame players are not chummy guys. Ninety percent of Hall of Fame players are lone wolf-type guys. Tiger is not going to be walking into locker rooms and chumming with people, Trevino didnt, Floyd doesnt, Irwin doesnt and Nicklaus doesnt. I mean its just not in the makeup of a Hall of Fame player to be the regular chummy guy. Thats all there is to it.
RL: Are there things youve said that you later regretted?
JM: Oh, yeah. I would say in 16 years of announcing probably five were pretty blatant. You know saying, 'Craig Parrys swing would make Ben Hogan puke,' well I could have said, 'It would have made his stomach upset.'
RL: Was Tiger upset with your critiques of his swing?
JM: I know he doesnt love me.
RL: A lot of writers and broadcasters get un-nerved if theyve learned that Tiger doesnt like them.
JM: Ive tried to be fair with his career and what hes done. I was the first guy to say, You know the guys unbelievable with his guts. Hes got that quality that makes people wilt. Ive also said he doesnt drive it too well. Ive noticed the players hate it when I give them a lesson on national TV. Ill say, Watch Tiger; he squats his thighs down and then he pops his left shoulder up and the hip comes up and he blocks it right or flips it left. What am I supposed to say, Oh, well, its just a bad day?
RL: Tiger or Jack?
JM: Man, I think it would have been awfully close. Tiger had a big advantage with the chip shots around the green and the bunker shots. That one part of the game might be a little better than Jacks. I love Jack and we are good friends, but the short game of Tiger is like cheating. I mean, come on; hes phenomenal.
RL: Who had the stiffer competition?
JM: I always said if you put Tiger Woods on a lie detector test and asked, 'Have you been a little cheated by whats happened in the last round of your career by the competitors,' I really believe youd have to say hes been a little disappointed that guys have not pushed him a little more on Sunday. I think the Nicklaus era was the greatest in the history of golf. Vijay Singhs a phenomenal player and, of course, Ernie Els, and Furyks awfully good, and Mickelsons amazingly good, but I dont think they are quite as tough on Sunday as that group---the Floyds, the Irwins and the Watsons and even a Hubert Green.
RL: You had a memorable Sunday at Oakmont in 1973 with an incredible 63, yet you thought youd blown the U.S. Open with that Saturday 76?
JM: For sure; I thought I was done. But it was weird because as I was finishing my warm up I heard the clearest voice you could imagine telling me to open my stance way up and I was thinking, 'Why would I want to do that,' because Id never done it before. Still I thought Ill try it.
RL: So the lesson is, listen to the voices in your head?
JM: Yeah, I do it all the time. And it was sort of a magical round in that I felt that I was almost getting help. Every shot was going right where I was aiming it.
RL: It almost brings you to tears to talk about it.
JM: Well, it was sort of my career you know. I appreciate if somebody up there helped me and I think thats why it brings me a little bit to tears.
Great time. But thats competition. That was the fun of it.
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