Golf Talk Live - Byron Nelson Transcript Segment 2
A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD SAY THAT THE THREE GREATEST GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTS WERE TILLINGHAS, DONALD ROSS, AND ALISTER MCKENZIE. I KNOW OF COURSE WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING AT THE TILLINGHAS DESIGN, RIDGEWOOD, AS
A PROFESSIONAL AND WORKING THERE BEFORE YOU REALLY WENT OUT ON TOUR, YOU GOT A CHANCE TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIM. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT TILLINGHAS?
WELL HE WAS REALLY A SCOTS, AN OLD SCOTS PRO LIKE, AND I SHOULDN'T SAY PRO BECAUSE HE WAS A GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT BUT WHEN HE PLAYED GOLF, WHY HE WORE A LOOSE, TWEED COAT. I NEVER, AND I DON'T THINK I EVER SAW HIM HIT A SHOT THAT DIDN'T, WHEN HE
PLAYED GOLF THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE THAT TWEED COAT ON AND HE HAD WHAT I CALL A WAX MUSTACHE, HE HAD A LITTLE MUSTACHE AND IT'S WAX HERE, AND THEN STUFF, AND VERY VERY WELL ORDERED AND STUFF, BUT HE REALLY KNEW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO ON A GOLF COURSE. JUST ALMOST, HE COULD JUST LOOK AT THE HOLE... LOOK AT A
PIECE OF PROPERTY, THERE'S A HOLE THERE, AND TELL YOU, HE'D JUST TELL YOU, JUST SEE RIGHT THERE IN HIS OWN MIND WHAT HE WANTED TO DO TO THAT HOLE. HE DIDN'T HAVE TO SAY WELL I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS, I'M GOING TO DO THIS, BUT HE BOOM. BOOM. AND I, I THOROUGHLY
ENJOYED RIDGEWOOD AND, AND MY ASSOCIATION WITH HIM THERE. I DIDN'T SEE A LOT BECAUSE HE WAS STILL WORKING IN THOSE, THOSE DAYS, BUT I DID SEE HIM AND PLAYED GOLF WITH HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES AND WATCHED HIM PLAY SOME AROUND THERE BECAUSE OF
THE NAME OF TILLINGHAS, EVEN THEN, WHEN I WAS YOUNG STARTING OUT, IT WAS VERY PROMINENT.
WAS HE A LITTLE BIT OF A CHARACTER WOULD YOU SAY?
YES. YEAH, VERY, NOT A, NOT A MEAN CHARACTER. A GOOD CHARACTER. HE WAS A FUN SORT OF A GUY. HAD A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR AND, BUT HE WAS, WHEN YOU'D START TO SAY SOMETHING, WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING TO HIM ABOUT A GOLF COURSE, I DIDN'T OF COURSE,
BECAUSE I, I'D JUST STAND BACK IN AWE, BUT PEOPLE, PEOPLE TALKED TO HIM ABOUT A GOLF COURSE WHY, THERE WAS NO ARGUMENT TO IT. HE DID IT, AND HE DIDN'T SAY, HE SAID WELL DO YOU THINK WE OUGHT TO PUT A (??UNINTELLIGIBLE) OVER THERE?
HE DIDN'T SAY 'DO YOU THINK' . WE PUT A (??UNINTELLIGIBLE) THERE, WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS, WE'RE GOING TO THAT AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.
HOW IMPORTANT DID RIDGEWOOD TURN OUT TO BE IN THAT, IT WAS THE LAST PLACE THAT YOU REALLY WORKED ON YOUR GAME BEFORE YOU WENT OUT AGAINST THE OTHER GREAT PLAYERS OF THE WORLD, IN THAT IT WAS A GREAT TEST OF YOUR SWING AND A GREAT TEST
TO EXPOSE POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE.
WELL I THINK IT WAS A TREMENDOUS STEP FORWARD. IT WAS MY FIRST BIG STEP IN GOLF. WHEN I WENT TO WORK FOR GEORGE DAKOVAS IN 1935 AND '36, AS HIS FIRST ASSISTANT, AND I TELL YOU THE FUN, I'LL MENTION THIS, JUST A PASSING
THAT MY FEE FOR WORKING FOR ME IN THE SUMMER, THE FULL SUMMER, GOING THERE FOR THE MASTERS THERE, WAS $400... $400. MAN YOU CAN'T GO DOWN AND BUY A STEAK DINNER FOR MUCH LESS THAN THAT NOW, BUT ANYWAY, THAT'S
BESIDE THE POINT, BUT IT, IT REALLY, THEY HAD THREE GREAT NINES THERE. THEY HAD EAST WEST AND CENTER, AND THE EAST AND THE WEST WERE CONSIDERED THE BETTER BUT THE WEST WAS, BUT THE CENTER, I MEAN THE EAST AND THE WEST WERE THE TWO MAIN ONES AND THE CENTER WAS A GOOD NINE ALSO,
BUT HAVING THAT IN THE BACKGROUND WHEN YOU PLAY AND LEARN TO PLAY A GOLF COURSE LIKE THAT WAS AND IS, THEN WHEN THERE, YOU WENT SOME OTHER PLACE YOU'RE NOT FINDING SOMETHING THAT'S MORE DIFFICULT TILL, SO TO SPEAK, YOU END UP LEARNING TO PLAY EVERY SHOT THAT YOU KNEW OF AT
RIDGEWOOD AND SO THAT WAS A BIG STEP TO ME AND ALSO, IT WAS A GREAT HELP TO ME, BECAUSE GEORGE ACOBAS WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE PGA ALL THE TIME I WAS THERE. HE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE
PGA FOR A LONG TIME, AND I LEARNED A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT RUNNING A GOLF SHOP OR RUNNING A TOURNAMENT AND DOING CERTAIN THINGS AND PETER, THE, THE THING THAT STARTED ME AND
THERE'S NEVER BEEN MUCH SAID ABOUT IT, BUT, IN 1935, THE RYDER CUP WAS AT RIDGEWOOD, IN THE FALL OF THE YEAR AND I WAS OF COURSE ASSISTANT THERE AND NATURALLY I WAS THERE, AND I HAD
PLENTY OF CLOTHES TO WEAR AND EVERYTHING BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN, NOW THEN HERE'S THESE GREAT PLAYERS. THEY GOT SLACKS ALIKE, SHOES ALIKE, CLUBS ALIKE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, THE GOLF BAGS ALIKE, AND THE, AND THEY HAD THESE PARTIES TO GO TO AND I
SAID SOMETHING TO CADDIE FRIENDS, SOME OF THE YOUNG PLAYERS AROUND THERE, I SAID, BOY, I'M GOING TO GET ON THAT RYDER CUP ONE OF THESE DAYS, AND FORTUNATELY I MADE IT IN '37 BECAUSE
I WON THE MASTERS IN '37 AND THAT WAS THE CLIMAX AND IT GOT ME ON, BUT THAT, THAT REALLY WAS A, A, AND FORTUNATELY FOR ME MY WHOLE CAREER, I GOT INTO THINGS WHEN I WENT TO WORK AT THE (UNINTELLIGIBLE) IT WAS A GOOD GOLF COURSE. MY FIRST JOB. THEN I WENT TO RIDGEWOOD,
AND WORKING THERE AND THEN REDDING AND THEN TO INVER... TOLEDO. WELL I, I WAS STEPPING UP IN THE, IN THE ECHELON OF, OF BEING CLUB PRO, ALL THAT TIME, AND THE START THAT I GOT THERE WAS TREMENDOUS.
YOU'RE MENTIONING REDDING AND THE $400, UNRELATED, REMINDS ME TO ASK YOU THAT BEFORE YOU WON YOUR FIRST MASTERS IN '37, YOU HAD JUST GOTTEN THE JOB TO BE HEAD PRO AT REDDING COUNTRY CLUB AND
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SORT OF SPURRED YOU ON TO PLAY BETTER, AS IT ALWAYS SEEMED TO WAS, YOU NEEDED MONEY TO BUY MERCHANDISE FOR THE PRO SHOP BECAUSE IT WAS TIME TO OPEN IT UP.
RIGHT, AND I DIDN'T, I DIDN'T HAVE, DIDN'T HAVE, I HAD MONEY TO EAT ON AND STUFF BUT I HAD NO MONEY TO, AND I HAD NO CREDIT WITH THE, WITH THE COMP... CORPORATION, WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE CLUB MANUFACTURES SO I WON
15 HUNDRED DOLLARS AND MAN I THOUGHT I HAD, YOU KNOW, THAT SOON WENT TOO, BUT, BUT THAT GAVE ME SOMETHING TO GET STARTED ON AND, AND IT, I TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT NOW, SOME OF THE YOUNG PLAYERS AND IT'S
HARD TO BELIEVE THEY DON'T THINK YOU COULD EVEN EAT, YOU KNOW, WITH THE AMOUNT OF MONIES WE MADE, BUT THINGS WERE KIND OF EQUAL, AS THEY GOT MORE, WHERE YOU GOT MORE, YOU GOT MORE AND THEY DID MORE, SO THAT, IT, THAT BACKGROUND I HAVE, I WOULDN'T TAKE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD FOR IT, BECAUSE IT TAUGHT YOU
SOME THINGS AND, AND THAT TAUGHT ME, AND SEEING PEOPLE THAT GO BANKRUPT BUT PEOPLE THAT HAPPEN TO THEM, THEY GO... I NEVER DID, I NEVER DID. I STAYED OUT OF DEBT. I WOULDN'T BUY ANYTHING IF I COULDN'T PAY FOR IT, AND I LEARNED THAT DOING THOSE, IN THOSE BUSINESS YEARS WORKING FOR JAKOBIS,
WORKING AT REDDING AND THAT WAS A VERY BIG THING, HAVING THE FORTUNATE THING FOR ME TO GET STARTED UNDER PEOPLE LIKE THAT AND THEN WHEN I WENT TO REDDING, THERE WAS A MAN
NAMED STAN, I NEVER BEEN ABLE TO
MAKE A SPEECH, AND I HADN'T HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A SPEECH AND STANLEY JAWLS WAS MY BOSS' OWNER, ALMOST OWNER IN REDDING, PENNSYLVANIA, AND I WON THE, I SIGNED THE CONTRACT THE FIRST OF APRIL TO GO
TO REDDING IN 1937, GO TO AUGUSTA, WIN THE TOURNAMENT, I COME BACK. I'M THE TOP DOG IN AUGUSTA. I MEAN, REDDING, BECAUSE NO, NO CHAMPIONS HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE. SO, THERE WAS ABOUT TWO WEEKS TIME, WHY HE CALLED ME UP ONE DAY, HE SAID BYRON, ONE OF THE ROTARIES CLUB WANTS YOU TO GO IN
THERE, I SAID OKAY. SO I WENT OVER TO THE ROTARY CLUB, HE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE A SPEECH. WELL HE SCARED ME TO DEATH, I (LAUGHS).
I SAID I'VE NEVER MADE A SPEECH IN MY LIFE, STANLEY. HE SAID, WELL, MR. JAWS, I CALLED HIM AND I SAID, AND HE
SAID, I SAID, ALL YOU GOT TO DO IS TELL HIM HOW YOU WON THE TOURNAMENT
AND I SAID WELL I SHOT THE LOWEST SCORE (LAUGHS).
NOBODY DOES A CHAT BETTER THAN YOU DO NOW. YOU'VE DEFINITELY FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET IT DONE. DON'T GO AWAY.
Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup
Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.
His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.
After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.
"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."
After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.
"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."
Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller.
"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."
Love him or not, Miller's authentic style stood out
The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince.
Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job.
He just didn't say it like other golf analysts.
''The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who's about a 15-handicap,'' Miller said. ''It's just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn't look ... if Ben Hogan saw that, he'd puke.''
Parry got the last word, of course, holing out a 6-iron from 176 yards in a playoff to win.
Except that wasn't the last word.
''I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,'' said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. ''It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.''
Miller could make golf more fun to hear than to watch.
''He doesn't have a filter. That's why he's so good,'' Roy said. ''What he's thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.
''And it was worth it.''
Roy was in Wisconsin on Monday night for his first look at Whistling Straits for the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will be the first Ryder Cup since 1989 that doesn't have Miller in the booth weighing in on good shots and bad with thoughts that immediately become words.
He often entertained. He occasionally irritated. He was rarely dull.
Miller is retiring after three decades calling the shots for NBC. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open, the perfect exit for a Hall of Fame player once known as the ''Desert Fox'' for winning six times in Arizona. Miller was so good for so long that it was easy for younger generations to forget about that other career he had.
And to think that was nearly his only career in golf.
Miller said he wasn't interested when NBC first approached him, but then his wife stepped in and told him it would be nice to have a steady paycheck. Even then, it took time for him to realize his audience was in the living room, not the locker room.
He made his debut at the Bob Hope Classic in 1990 and it didn't take long for him to leave his mark. Peter Jacobsen faced an awkward lie to the 18th green with water to the left.
''The easiest shot to choke on,'' Miller said.
People thought about choking. Miller said it because that's what he was thinking.
''What came into his brain came out of his mouth,'' said Mike McCarley, president of golf for NBC Sports. ''He was the first to really talk about the pressure. It's the most important element of the game, especially in those really big moments. He was doing it at a time when others weren't.''
It wasn't just the word ''choke.''
Phil Mickelson was getting up-and-down from everywhere at the 2010 Ryder Cup when Miller suggested that if Lefty weren't such a good putter he'd be selling cars in San Diego. Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match at the 1999 Ryder Cup when Miller blurted out, ''My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television.''
During the 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods won in 19 holes over Rocco Mediate, Miller suggested that guys named ''Rocco'' don't get their name on the trophy, and that Mediate looked like ''the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool.''
It wasn't all bad.
Roy, who also has produced NBA Finals and Olympics, said he wants analysts who first-guess, not second-guess. The latter is for talk radio. First-guessing means sharing instincts, and Miller had plenty of them.
Woods was playing the final hole at Newport in the 1995 U.S. Amateur when Miller said, ''It wouldn't surprise me if he knocked this thing a foot from the hole.''
And that's just what Woods did.
McCarley remembers how retired NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol used to worry whenever Miller called because he thought it was about retirement. McCarley soon inherited that feeling.
''Every time I'd see Johnny's number pop up on my cellphone, my heart would skip a beat,'' McCarley said. ''Two years ago, he made that call I had been dreading.''
McCarley kept him working a slightly reduced schedule, but no longer. Miller is 71 and has been on the road for 50 years. His 24th grandchild was born on Sunday. He wants to teach them fly fishing in Utah, perhaps even a little golf.
Miller wasn't sure he would last a week when he started. He never imagined going nearly 30 years.
He leaves behind a style all his own.
Most loved it. Some didn't. But everyone listened, and that might be his legacy in the broadcast booth. Roy said what he has heard from viewers he knows is that 70 percent really like Miller, and 30 percent really don't.
''But they all have an opinion,'' he said.
CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats
The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.
Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.
Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.
Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.
TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Live streaming: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama
Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.
• This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia
• 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list
• The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)
• Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together
Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit
Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup
Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.
While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.
Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.
"It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."
In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Web.com Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.
"There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."
Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.
"The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."