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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

What does it really take to play college golf?

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Much has been written and speculated about this question, both in popular media and by junior golfers and their parents and coaches. However, I wanted to get a more definitive answer.

In collaboration with Dr. Laura Upenieks of Baylor University, and with the generous support of Junior Tour of Northern California and Aaron R. Hartesveldt, PGA, we surveyed 51 players who were committed to play college golf for the 2021 year.

Our sample was comprised of 27 junior boys and 24 junior girls. Most of our respondents were either white or Asian. As for some other notable statistics, 67% of boys reported working with a coach once a week, while 100% of girls reported working with a coach at least once a week. In addition, 67% of boys were members at a private club, while 100% of girls were members of a private club. Here are some other interesting findings from the data:

-The average scoring differential for a boy who committed to college golf was -1.48
-The average scoring differential for a girl who committed to college golf was 3.72
-The majority of the sample reported having played over 100 tournaments
-The average boy was introduced to the game at 7 years old
-The average girl was introduced to golf at 12 years old
-The average boy first broke par at 12
-The average girl first broke par at 17
-67% of boys and girls who responded reported having won at least 10 tournaments

One of the most interesting findings of the survey was the amount of competitive golf being played. The data shows that 67% of players report playing over 100 tournaments, meaning they have close to 1,000 hours of tournament experience. This is an extremely impressive amount given all respondents were teenagers, showing the level of dedication needed to compete at the top level.

Another interesting showing was that 75% of boys surveyed reported receiving “full scholarship”. At first glance, this number seems to be extremely high. In 2016, in a GolfWRX that I did with Steph Acosta, the data we collected estimated this number was between 5-10%. This number is seven times greater, which could be due to a low sample size. However, I would also speculate that the data speaks to the extrinsic motivation of players in the data set, as they feel the need to get a scholarship to measure their athletic success.

Finally, boys in the survey report playing with a mixture of elite players (those with plus handicaps) as well as 5-9 handicaps. On the other hand, no female in the study reported playing with any plus handicaps. It also stood out that 100% of junior girls report that their fathers play golf. In ongoing research, we are examining the reasons why young women choose golf and the impact their environments have on their relationships with golf. The early data is very interesting and we hope that it can be published by the end of this year. Altogether, we suspect that girls hold lower status at golf courses and are less able to establish competitive groups to regularly play with. This could impact how long they stay in the sport of golf as well as their competitive development.

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It is time to see who has the better WITB! Tursky and Knudson face off in a battle of golf clubs, seeing who has made the better setup. Take a listen and then let us know who’s bag you like better on our Instagram account, @tg2wrx

 

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Callaway Jaws Raw wedge review and Strackaline’s yardage and green reading books

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Review of the new Callaway Jaws Raw wedge and the new Z Grind sole on the lob wedge. Great spin and improved shape make it my choice over the Jaws MD5. Strackaline’s yardage and green reading books are highly detailed and catch all the slopes on the green.

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