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Johnny Miller’s 1973 winning U.S. Open WITB…which includes a pre-war 4-wood

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In 1973, Johnny Miller shot a final-round 63 to win the U.S. Open. Miller said, “It was the oldest set of clubs [in relation] to the year it was played on Tour in the history of golf.”

A recent tweet from Brian Schneider gave an incredible insight into the clubs in Miller’s bag for that event. Including irons and a 3-wood from 1945, as well as a pre-war 4-wood.

Here is a look at what Miller had in the bag for one of the most memorable rounds in golf history.

Johnny Miller 1973 U.S. Open WITB

Driver: 1961 McGregor Velocitized Tourney (10.5 degrees) D9 swingweight
Shaft:True Temper Dynamic Steel, X Flex, 43.5 inches

270 yards

Miller: “I had to have everything just right, so I refinished my clubs and re-faced them. In ’73, they used persimmon that wasn’t the hard work, I wanted the heavier blocks that had a real tight grain. I wanted a little bit of movement, which means [wood] from the knotty area of the tree.” 

3-wood: 1945 MacGregor Tommy Armour (15 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Steel, X Flex

235-240 yards

4-wood:1941 MacGregor Tommy Armour (19 degrees)
Shaft:True Temper Dynamic Steel, X Flex

225 yards

Irons: 1945 MacGregor Tommy Armour 915T (2-7), 1972 MacGregor Tourney Custom (8-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Steel, Stiff Flex, +0.5″ shaft length

2-iron: 210 yards

3-iron:  200 yards

4-iron: 185 yards

5-iron: 175 yards

6-iron:  160 yards

7-iron: 150 yards

8-iron: 140 yards

9-iron: 125 yards

PW (10-iron): 115 yards

Miller: “I cut the irons and reground the bottoms [soles] and the top. You didn’t have much club left, so they had to have a lot of lead tape to bring them up [to proper swingweight numbers]. An extra wrap on the right hand made the grip not so V-shaped.” 

Wedge: 1959 Wilson Dyna-Power  Sand Wedge (58 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic steel shaft, stiff flex

85 yards

Putter: 1952 Acushnet Bullseye Old Standard (36″ shaft)

Miller: “No putter ever made feels better than a Bullseye, it’s so soft. The ones before the late ’60’s had a heavier brass alloy, which kept them from getting dinged up all over.” 

Ball: MacGregor Tourney

Miller: “In ’73, I switched to the Tourney ball that Jack [Nicklaus] was using. It was a heck of a ball. It was so hard [101 compression] that it wouldn’t spin and back up quite as much as the softer balata balls. When I switched, my scoring definitely improved.” 

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  1. Chuck

    Feb 19, 2022 at 11:41 am

    This was a fascinating read. Kudos to Matt Vincenzi, and especially to Brian Schneider for the original Tweet.

    It is all interesting, but what blew me away was seeing Miller commenting favorably on the MacGregor Tourney ball of that era. I’ve never seen much of anything that was kind to, or generous about that ball. Nicklaus, it is reliably reported, was ready to quit MacGregor over their lousy balls. Some of Nicklaus’ rivals think that Jack might have won even more, if he hadn’t been stuck with the Tourney. I think it is true, that MacGregor made some changes to the ball around the time that Miller speaks of. How very interesting to listen to Miller talk about that.

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm WITB 2022 (August)

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