This week’s Sympatico column looks at Johnny Miller’s remarks about Tiger Woods in a recent issue of Forbes:
Johnny Miller likes to hear himself talk. That isn’t shocking. Talking is, after all, what he does best since the yips got the better of his golf game a couple of decades ago.
And if you ask Johnny Miller, there are only a handful of players that were better than he was when he was at his prime. If his career hadn’t peaked in 1980, he’d be heralded as one of the great players of all-time, Miller told Forbes in a recently published article.
“Our era had six to 10 [great golfers],” Miller explained to the magazine. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but if I had played in the [Greg] Norman-[Nick] Faldo era, instead of winning 25 times with two majors, I probably would have won 40 times and had six majors.”
Miller is treading down a slippery slope when he compares historical eras in the game’s history. When was golf greatest? How about when Harry Vardon was at the end of his career and Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen were on the rise? Maybe during the mid-1940s with Byron Nelson winding down his career while Ben Hogan was on the upswing? Clearly the era of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer was the best “ wasn’t it?
What Miller is doing is trying to qualify his position so he can then pontificate on the game’s contemporary player “ Tiger Woods. There’s frankly little value in Miller’s remarks, beyond his need to extol the virtues of his own playing career, inflating them by ruminating on what might have been had he been born 10 years later. When Johnny isn’t talking up his own career, he’s often placing his own particular perspective on those currently playing the game, namely Woods.