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Opinion & Analysis

A Quick Nine with Johnny Miller

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Johnny Miller is one of the few people who has been a Hall of Famer on the course and in the broadcast booth. After a stellar playing career that included a U.S. Open win for the ages in 1973, Miller has gone on to be an award-wining commentator for NBC. His relentless, sometimes withering honesty about PGA Tour players set the bar for commentary in televised sports long before Sir Charles Barkley started his act in the basketball world.

We sat down with Johnny for a timed 9-minute interview, what we call a “Quick Nine,” about golf, broadcasting and life.

What do you think people like the most about your on-air work?

It’s the honesty. That’s what they want, right? I’ve been on the air for 27 years so I guess that means I didn’t screw up too bad.

Do you enjoy it now more than you ever did?

Yes, and Dan Hicks is so easy to work with…he’s fantastic. But I’m trying to relax now because I’m near the end of the run.

In addition to broadcasting you are working on a new golf glove product. Did you have a hand in it, pun intended?

It’s my second year with Zero Friction, and they have a glove that is one size, but it fits 90 out of 100 guys. It stretches in all different directions and it’s a fantastic glove. Just a little while ago, (Zero Friction founder) John Iacono who started the company thought, “What would it be like if we put a GPS right on the glove?” So they did and it’s hooked up to about 36,000 courses.

Johnny Miller at the 2017 PGA Show with Zero Friction.

Johnny Miller at the 2017 PGA Show with Zero Friction.

It’s very light; you can’t really tell it’s on the glove. It gives distances to the middle and back of the green; it’s really accurate and that gives the player confidence. The battery lasts for about 400 rounds, which should cover most golfers for a while.

Do you prefer GPS over laser?

Yes. I have a laser, but sometimes I shoot it and I don’t know if I got the pin or the tree in back, so I have to keep punching that button. With GPS you just look at it and go. My iron game was pretty good; I felt like I could hit it to within one of two yards of the number that I got. Heck, I don’t know what I would have shot if I had one of these.

In my day there was no laser, no GPS, no nothing. Your caddie had to walk it, but he has one stride, you have another stride, and so you get to a par-3 and you can have totally different numbers. So we’ve come a long way in that regard. 

Who is the golfer that you wanted to be like?

Growing up, the Big Three, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, had a big influence on me. When I was just starting out my father loved those guys. I copied a lot of the positions they used in the hitting zone. But once I got on Tour, I gravitated toward Jack Nicklaus for some reason. I liked the way he was a family man; I liked the way he played golf, how he handled pressure.

Why are so many guys shooting 59 now?

There are probably 10 reasons but on top, recently, it seems like the Tour is eliminating a lot of the rough so that’s one thing. Number 2, the greens are so much better than they’ve ever been before, taking the grain out of them. Number 3, the fairways are flawless. So when you have no rough, flawless fairways and perfect greens…and with the new equipment the guys are hitting it so darn far…they have laser yardages.

You know, we could go on and on but the guys are in better shape, too. I’m not saying that they are any better than Jack Nicklaus or Lee Trevino or even myself in my prime, but there are more good players now and when you have the distance they are able to hit it combined with perfect conditions they can really go low.

Which would you rather win: the Grand Slam, an Oscar, a Nobel or a $100 million lottery?

Well, I don’t need the money. If I won the Nobel Prize they’d think it was an accident or a mistake, so I’ll take the Grand Slam! I’ve had a great run. I’ve got a great family. Twenty-three grandkids. Six kids. So that’s my legacy; those are my majors.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. jimbo

    Feb 13, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    weirdest thing about these comments.. theres people that actually like johnny miller lol?

  2. Moses

    Feb 11, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I’ve been a Johnny Miller fan since the 1970s and IMO he’s in the top 3 for best golf announcers of all time. Not only that he is a great human being.

  3. Dave R

    Feb 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Miller everyone is intitled to his opinion . Loud mouth ,brash,honest,what else would you expect At least says what’s on his mind , and a shank is a shank not a lateral .

  4. Tom54

    Feb 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Johnny Miller is the best announcer for sure. I realize how much he’s missed just watching the last 2 US Opens on Fox I’m sure many would disagree but he does add a very frank opinion when he’s in the booth

  5. Messico 9

    Feb 9, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Love the Miller

  6. JustTrying2BAwesome

    Feb 9, 2017 at 9:13 am

    “I’m trying to relax now because I’m near the end of the run.” Can’t come soon enough. Get. The. F***. Out.

    • birdie

      Feb 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Couldn’t disagree more…and whether you like him or not, you sound like a miserable person.

      If we’re kicking announcers off the course can we at least start w/ McCord

      • The dude

        Feb 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

        Bingo!

        • Double Mocha Man

          Feb 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm

          McCord’s the only guy that keeps things interesting. The rest are bland.

    • Chris

      Feb 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Will you go first?

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Opinion & Analysis

More Distance Off the Tee (Part 1 of 3): Upper Body Training

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If you read my previous story, Tour Pro’s Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up, you are well aware of the fact that improving your upper body power is one of three sure ways to increase your distance off the tee. If you have not, I strongly suggest you check it out to gain some context about what is to follow and what is critical for your golf game.

Through our testing and the testing done of many of the industry leaders in golf performance, we have found that the ability of golfers to generate “push power” from their upper body is critical to maximize efficiency and speed in the swing. The way that you can test your power is simple. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your back on the chair, chest pass with both hands a 6-pound medicine ball as far as you can. When you compare this to your vertical jump as described in More Distance Off the Tee (Part 2 of 3): Lower Body Training Plan, the number in feet you threw the ball should be relatively close to your jump in inches.

If you threw the ball and it went 5 feet, you have an upper body power problem. If you threw the ball 25 feet and jumped only 14 inches, your upper body is not the problem — you probably need to focus on your lower body. It’s not rocket science once you understand what you are looking for. What can be challenging is knowing how to improve your power once you identify a problem. That is where the rest of this article comes in. What I am going to outline below are three of the most common upper body power exercises that we use with our amateur, senior and professional golfers.

The key with any power training exercise is to make sure you are as rested as possible between sets so that you can be as explosive as possible for the repetitions. Try not to do more than 6 repetitions in a set to assure that each one is as fast and explosive as possible.

Med Ball Chest Pass on Wall

This is one of the most basic exercises there is for developing upper body push power. Make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your legs to help maximize the punishment you deliver to against the wall!

Med Ball Wall Ball

Watching the video, you may be scratching you head and wondering why this is in the upper body power article when clearly the athlete is using his legs. The reason is that in the golf swing, power starts with the legs.

Med Ball Sky Chest Throws

This one is simple. Laying on your back, all you need to do is push the ball up as high as you can, catch it on the way down and the explode it back up into the air as high as you can. If you incorporate this exercise into your routine even once a week, you will see huge gains in your ability to swing faster if this was a problem area for you.

That being said, power creation requires not only speed but also strength development. It is also important that you have a solid strength program to increase your ability to generate more force. While this is beyond the scope of this article, finding yourself a solid golf fitness expert will help you create your ideal program.

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Podcasts

GolfWRX Forum Member dpb5031 talks about the TaylorMade Twist Face Experience

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Forum member dpb5031 (aka Dewey) joins TG2 to talk about his Twist Face Experience at The Kingdom. Recently, him and 6 other GolfWRX Members went to TaylorMade HQ to get fit for new M3 and M4 drivers. Does Twist Face work? Dewey provides his answer.

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Inside the Ropes: 5 things you didn’t know about playing on the PGA Tour

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Golf finds a way to take a hold on you… whether you become entranced by the skill of the world’s best professionals, fall in love with the feeling and beauty of a well-executed shot, or simply enjoy getting outside and having fun — the game is addictive.

I started playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros on TV dreaming what it would be like to play golf on the PGA Tour. When I earned my PGA Tour status for the 2014 season, that dream became a reality. And like anything, it’s not until I actually experienced that life did I have any idea what it entailed.

For those of you who are curious what it’s like to be on the PGA Tour, here are 5 things to describe it.

1) The Culture

Traveling the world to various cities can be fun, and it’s an underrated part of the Tour lifestyle; you get to see new landscapes and taste the cuisines that define different regions across the country and the world. Unlike some other professional sports, where players stay in one place for maybe a night or two, we get to stay in places for a week or more, which allows for plenty of time away from the course to see the sights and get a feel for what the cities and their cultures offer.

2) The Show

The setup and time that goes into planning an event — the grandstands, concession stands, volunteers, and the whole network that makes these tournaments run — is beyond impressive. We see the finished product at the event in the epicenter of it all, but the planning goes on behind the scenes all year. When it’s game time and the golf ball gets teed up, it’s time for us players to block all of that out, but we certainly appreciate all of the hard work that goes into putting on an event. It may feel like being in a circus at times, but performing in the show is a thrill.

3) The People

The game of golf in general brings people together, but especially so on the Tour. Thousands and thousands of fans come to watch the golf action and enjoy the festivities. The Pro-Ams are a great way for the fans to get an up-close look at what goes on at a Tour event, and they’re also a great way for us pros to interact with fans and maybe provide some helpful swing tips, too. In my opinion, one of the best events of the year is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am — a gathering of pro golfers, athletes, musicians, actors and other celebrities. It’s a testament to how the game can bring people together from different walks of life.

4) Inside the Ropes

The Tour is almost like a private school of sorts. It’s a select group of a couple hundred guys traveling around playing these events. The jocks, the nerds, the geeks, the loners; you see a little of everything. As much as there’s a sociable aspect to traveling on Tour and getting to know these people, it’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone is playing for their livelihood and playing privileges.

5) The “Pressure”

A season-long race can come down to a single shot making the difference — for some it’s between winning and losing a tournament, and others it’s between keeping and losing your card. The cameras, the grandstands, the noise… it can all be quite distracting. The idea is to block all of that out and pretend you’re playing like a kid, focusing with pure imagination for the shot. All the extra attention can help heighten the focus further, adding inspiration to “give the people what they want” and hit even better golf shots.

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