Sympatico Column: Miller Time

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.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Robert, I think a case can be made for the following – Johnny Miller’s mouth sometimes out paces his brain.
    PS: I often wonder if there is something about golf and golfers that he doesn’t know.

  • Robert,

    I echo all of your words relating to the comments surrounding Johnny Miller. If it weren’t for a few nice words he says each year during the US Open on Sunday’s round (Father’s Day) I would think he is the complete version of a modern day ass.

    Miller’s golf game with the 63 at Oakmont and his British Open win notwithstanding, mark the futile efforts of a “could have been”… ironic given his words of Woods and the pursuit of 18 majors.

    I would have so much respect for a two time major winner if he had left the game and opened a chain of restaurants leaving behind only actual accomplishments on the course to speak, but we all know Johnny can’t keep quite that long.

    Kind regards,

    Scott McNichol

  • watching a bit of the Tour Championship and thought — why doesn’t NBC give Johnny more help with the broadcast. Think about it — Johnny only has Roger Maltbee, Gary Koch, Dottie Pepper, Dan Hicks, Mark Rolfing and Jimmy Rogers to help him. Example — Tiger makes a long one on 16 and all we get is Gary, Roger, Dan and Johnny chiming in to explain it to the viewers.
    PS: anyone know how Johnny can read the grain on the green from the broadcast booth? Does he have a super HD TV? Anyone?

  • Funny, I agree with you. How does Johnny do it? I thought a Tour golf course didn’t have any grain. At least the better ones do not.

    Johnny is just talking for the sake of talking. He really knows very little.

  • Johnny M. can’t announce a game without
    putting down the players, the average golfers
    and the public in general. He can spoil a TV
    game for me every time. I’m hitting the MUTE button
    when he is on !!

  • But where would Johnny be without Roger? 😉

    Johnny – “Roger — that breaks a little right doesn’t it?”
    Roger – “it does Johnny”

    Johnny – “Roger – the grain looks like it’s going to push this one a little left”
    Roger – “right Johnny”

    and so on and so on and so on

  • Reason Johny never won more had nothing to do with the strength of field during his era and entirely to do with his negative outlook on everything. His references to choking, where the trouble is etc etc gives a deeper look into himself and his glass half empty outlook. That’s why he likely developed the yips, had to quit and couldn’t play the senior tour. Media loves negativity so Johny is their perfect voice – though I can’t stand it.

  • according to Kelly, the hitter has no club face rottaion, or horizontal hinging?If that is the case, then the wrist cock of the hitter is through left wrist bowing (flexion), rather than radial deviation plus pronation? I can see how this works, keeps the right palm normal to the downswing plane, but I don’t think most could get more that 70-80 degrees of lag.

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