Johnny Miller: Tiger’s Masters Drought and Modern TV Commentary

Johnny Miller: Tiger's Masters Drought and Modern TV Commentary 1
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GOLF CHANNEL AND NBC SPORTS HOSTED a media conference call on Monday. Analysts Johnny Miller, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing previewed this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions and kicked around 2014 golf story lines such as the Ryder Cup, possible first-time major winners, Tiger’s and Phil’s chances in the majors and more.

With a lot to choose from in the 12-page transcript, following are a couple of exchanges with Miller that you might enjoy or hate, depending on how you feel about the NBC analyst.

Q. What is it about Augusta that’s kept Tiger from winning since ’05 do you think?

JOHNNY MILLER: I think you guys hit it on the head. I think he just wants it so badly, and he knows Augusta was made to order for him. He’s such a phenomenal putter. Again, back to Mark’s and Frank’s comments, his irons came in so high, that the first bounce was more up than out, so he was able to stop it. He was able to hit it longer, he was able to stop it better, his chipping was phenomenal, and of course his choke factor was off the charts. He had all those things going for him, but now he’s getting shorter every year, I think he’s hitting it 293, which doesn’t sound like it’s short, but he’s not able to get three, four clubs less into holes like 15 like he used to when he was a young guy. 

So the playing field is a little bit more level than it ever was before between guys like a Dustin Johnson, who’s like I hit it past Tiger. He’s lost a lot of the fear factors. He needs to finish strong at Augusta on the weekend, and of course he had the rules brouhaha, and all those things, they knock your confidence down. Golf is about your psyche and your confidence, and I had about 10 minutes where I was probably the best player in the world, but it was a very interesting time, and the confidence was sky high. That’s one reason why I was able to do so well. 

Q. Do you sense at all that the players today are more sensitive about what’s said about them on television than they were during your era, and when you were playing did anybody on TV ever say anything that annoyed you?

JOHNNY MILLER: You have to know in my era nobody said anything. Nobody ever said anything that would make you upset. As Dave Marr said, we were just gilding the rose back then, just about making everybody look good, which is not all about, you know, and I think there’s a certain amount of announcing that you do want to compliment them. But golf has gotten to be a bigger sport, it’s not just a cute little sport or an awesome game, now it’s sort of a world sport, and in the public view they want more than that was a fantastic wedge shot 30 feet right of the hole. That’s not what they want to hear. We saw it. Great shot. He hit it there. Don’t tell me that. 

I hate to say it, but I’m probably the guy that got announcing a little bit more real, sort of an X Games type of announcer, and sometimes I wish I wasn’t the way I am, but that’s the way I talk about my own game, so it’s just the way I viewed it. I wasn’t trying to rip anybody, but I have a high standard, and I feel like the best players in the world should perform, and if they don’t, I’m not going to just say, oh, that was a bad break or something.

I think Johnny’s analysis about Tiger at Augusta is solid. No matter what Tiger says, his confidence and psyche can’t be the same. It’s been a long dry spell.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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