Here’s how Johnny Miller says he would have called Koepka’s PGA swoon

May 23, 2019

After Brooks Koepka walked off the 14th green on Sunday at the PGA Championship, minds began to wander. Koepka had just notched his fourth consecutive bogey, whittling his lead over then-World No. 1 Dustin Johnson to just one shot.

The New York galleries grew raucous. Nerves reached a fever pitch. Suddenly, a tournament largely devoid of drama offered the possibility of one of the worst collapses in recent golf history.

And what would former NBC lead golf analyst and Hall-of-Famer Johnny Miller have said to viewers in that moment? Now we know.

“I wouldn’t probably say too much after two bogeys,” Miller said on the first episode of Callaway’s Real Golf Talk podcast on Wednesday. “But the third bogey, I know something’s haywire. And then with the fourth one, I probably would’ve said, ‘You know, that gasket is leaking oil right now, it’s coming out pretty good.’ He still has a decent lead, but Dustin is doing what to make it interesting, so it actually was great for the Championship. All of a sudden now, we’ve got a ballgame.”

That was, of course, the closest the margin would get between Koepka and Johnson. Johnson proceeded to bogey 16 and 17, widening the lead for Koepka to cruise home — eventually winning by two strokes with a final round 74. All the while, Bethpage fans were chanting “DJ” in hopes of maximal tension.

In the end, though it may not have felt like it on Sunday’s back nine, Koepka led wire-to-wire in the PGA. Miller theorized that might have played a role in the sudden momentary lapse on Sunday.

“To lead every day is very wearing on you — it really is wearing on you,” Miller said. “You’re right there, you’re thinking ‘I’m going to win.’ It’s just Thursday. Then Friday. And then Saturday. … Some people, including Jack Nicklaus, did not like a big lead. They were very uncomfortable with a big lead. Maybe it’s a feeling of embarrassment if you lose it.”

With the win, Koepka notched his fourth major championship in the last eight opportunities. From Thursday to Sunday, the story of the weekend was about securing his place atop the golfing world. Instead of embarrassment, Koepka stepped up to the podium after his round beaming with pride.

“It’s been so much fun these last, what is it, two years, it’s pretty close to two years. It’s incredible,” he said. “I don’t think I even thought I was going to do it that fast. I don’t think anybody did, and to be standing here today with four majors, it’s mind-blowing.”