Most golf fans would agree that Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are the two greatest golfers of all-time. But deciding which one is better than the other? Good luck making that call. But don’t feel bad because you’re not alone; even the sport’s biggest names can’t decide either.
Enter acclaimed golf broadcaster Johnny Miller, who will be retiring from the booth following the Waste Management Phoenix Open next week in Arizona. On a conference call on Wednesday leading up to his final event, Miller was asked about what it would mean in the golf world if Woods were to eclipse Sam Snead’s career PGA Tour victories record of 82, and how that would compare to the Golden Bear’s record number of 18 majors. So, in other words, who would you take: Tiger or Jack?
Well, even after almost 30 years of color commentating experience, Miller can’t say.
“It’s a close call between those two,” Miller said. “They’re both so consistent. The body of work has been amazing. They’re both right there at the best of all-time.”
While not saying which one was better than the other, the two-time major champion and 25-time Tour winner highlighted what he thought made both golfers great. It was the Golden Bear’s consistency that made him so special, Miller said.
“What was amazing about Jack’s majors was not so much the 18, but it was he had [19 seconds] and a ton of thirds,” Miller said. “It’s all about consistency.”
Meanwhile, Miller admitted no golfer has had that same killer instinct quite like Woods did in his prime.
“[Tiger] just used to scare everybody,” Miller said. “I think that’s the ultimate compliment of a competitor is that you intimidate the field and make them melt on Sunday. He did that better than Jack. So in that regard, making the key putts at the last minute, he’s got [Jack].”
But one difference between Tiger and Jack that Miller noted was in their personal lives with their families.
“To have the career that Tiger’s had, you know, could have been even better if some of his personal choices off the course would’ve been better,” Miller said. “Still, the body of work is pretty crazy by Tiger.”
“Jack spent a lot of time with his family,” Miller continued. “Highest priority was his family, where Tiger hasn’t had to do that quite with the same number of kids and time.”
Miller’s comments come amid Woods’ 2019 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open this week at Torrey Pines, where Tiger has won eight times in his career. Woods, who is only two Tour wins behind Snead and four major titles behind Nicklaus for the most all-time, was victorious in his last appearance on Tour at the Tour Championship this past fall. Woods, who last appeared in an event back in December at the Hero World Challenge, has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
The 71-year-old Miller’s last broadcast alongside Dan Hicks for NBC Sports will come during next Saturday’s third round at TPC Scottsdale. Much of the broadcast will be a look-back at Miller’s 29 years in the booth and dedicated tribute to him. His replacement, fellow golf broadcaster Paul Azinger, will make his debut during next Sunday’s final round. The move was made official this past October.