Berry Tramel

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U.S. Open: Already missing Johnny Miller

by Berry Tramel Published: June 18, 2014
Johnny Miller, left, and Nick Faldo, right, laugh while being introduced at the beginning of a Golf Channel broadcast during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii. Fox Sports is in as the broadcast partner for the U.S. Open starting in 2015. Miller appears to be out. In a surprising announcement Wednesday evening, the U.S. Golf Association said it has signed a 12-year multimedia deal with Fox network and Fox Sports 1 to be the domestic broadcast partner for the U.S. Open and other USGA championships. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Johnny Miller, left, and Nick Faldo, right, laugh while being introduced at the beginning of a Golf Channel broadcast during the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii. Fox Sports is in as the broadcast partner for the U.S. Open starting in 2015. Miller appears to be out. In a surprising announcement Wednesday evening, the U.S. Golf Association said it has signed a 12-year multimedia deal with Fox network and Fox Sports 1 to be the domestic broadcast partner for the U.S. Open and other USGA championships. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

I’m going to miss Johnny Miller on the U.S. Open golf telecasts next season. NBC has lost the contract to FOX, and Greg Norman takes over for Miller, who for 20 years called the U.S. Open and was less reverent than the average golf shill.

Miller wasn’t afraid to take on the golf establishment. Didn’t treat the courses on which the USGA played its tournament as some kind of holy of holies.

Even on his final day, Miller spoke harsh truth, saying Pinehurst No. 2’s turtleback greens were “over the top” and needed to be redone. He’s right, of course. The U.S. Open became in large pitch-and-putt, with players trying to keep their shots on greens that were tricked up by severe slopes front and back.

Such a fiasco didn’t decide the winner. Martin Kaymer played so much better than did anyone else, it wouldn’t have mattered. But the tournament was flawed. And Miller gently said so. Which puts him way ahead of the game.

The next time you hear someone at CBS say something bad about Augusta National, you’ll know they’ve been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda. Criticism of the courses or the USGA isn’t tolerated. That’s what made Miller a breath of fresh air. He would say what was on his mind. Not like Charles Barkley. But at least offer a few legit critiques.

But now NBC is out of the majors game, and we’re back to being told how great everything is, even when the greens play like one of those miniature golf ant hills.

 


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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