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.