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A Quick Nine with Johnny Miller



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.



  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


        • 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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The Gear Dive: Discussing the drivers of 2020 with Bryan LaRoche



In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with his good buddy Bryan LaRoche. They chat on life and do a deep dive into the drivers of 2020.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: The 5 indisputable rules of bunker play



I received a particularly interesting question this week from Art S., who said he has read all the tips about how to hit different sand shots, from different sand conditions, but it would be helpful to know why. Specifically, here’s what Art had to say:

“I recently found myself in a few sand traps in multiple lies and multiple degrees of wetness. I tried remembering all of the “rules” of how to stand, how much to open my club, how much weight to shift forward or back, etc. based on the Golf Channel but was hoping that you might be able to do a blog on the ‘why’ of sand play so that we can understand it rather than memorizing what to do. Is there any way you can discuss what the club is doing and why you open the club, open your stance, what you’re aiming for when you open up, and any other tips?”

Well, Art, you asked a very good question, so let’s try to cover the basics of sand play–the “geometry and physics” at work in the bunkers–and see if we can make all of this more clear for you.

First of all, I think bunkers are among the toughest of places to find your ball. We see the tour players hit these spectacular bunker shots every week, but realize that they are playing courses where the bunkers are maintained to PGA Tour standards, so they are pretty much the same every hole and every week. This helps the players to produce the “product” the tour is trying to deliver–excitement. Of course, those guys also practice bunker play every day.

All of us, on the other hand, play courses where the bunkers are different from one another. This one is a little firmer, that one a little softer. So, let me see if I can shed a little light on the “whys and wherefores” of bunker play.

The sand wedge has a sole with a downward/backward angle built into it – we call that bounce. It’s sole (no pun intended) function is to provide a measure of “rejection” force or lift when the club makes contact with the sand. The more bounce that is built into the sole of the wedge, the more this rejection force is applied. And when we open the face of the wedge, we increase the effective bounce so that this force is increased as well.

The most basic thing you have to assess when you step into a bunker is the firmness of the sand. It stands to reason that the firmer the texture, the more it will reject the digging effect of the wedge. That “rejection quotient” also determines the most desirable swing path for the shot at hand. Firmer sand will reject the club more, so you can hit the shot with a slightly more descending clubhead path. Conversely, softer or fluffier sand will provide less rejection force, so you need to hit the shot with a shallower clubhead path so that you don’t dig a trench.

So, with these basic principles at work, it makes sense to remember these “Five Indisputable Rules of Bunker Play”

  1. Firmer sand will provide more rejection force – open the club less and play the ball back a little to steepen the bottom of the clubhead path.
  2. Softer sand will provide less rejection force – open the club more and play the ball slighter further forward in your stance to create a flatter clubhead path through the impact zone.
  3. The ball will come out on a path roughly halfway between the alignment of your body and the direction the face is pointing – the more you open the face, the further left your body should be aligned.
  4. On downslope or upslope lies, try to set your body at right angles to the lie, so that your swing path can be as close to parallel with the ground as possible, so this geometry can still work. Remember that downhill slopes reduce the loft of the club and uphill slopes increase the loft.
  5. Most recreational golfers are going to hit better shots from the rough than the bunkers, so play away from them when possible (unless bunker play is your strength).

So, there you go, Art. I hope this gives you the basics you were seeking.

As always, I invite all of you to send in your questions to be considered for a future article. It can be about anything related to golf equipment or playing the game–just send it in. You can’t win if you don’t ask!

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Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Task to target



In this week’s episode: How having a target will improve your direction and contact you have with the ball.

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