Johnny Miller’s Greatest Hits

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In the run-up to the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club, Miller calls Tom Lehman’s U.S. team “probably on paper the worst Ryder Cup team we’ve ever fielded.” In retrospect, the put-down seems prescient, as the Americans get trounced 18.5 to 9.5. [Photo of Brett Wetterich, Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank at 2006 Ryder Cup opening ceremonies.]
2 of 12 Simon Bruty/SI
At the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, Miller, taking stock of Justin Leonard’s early struggles, suggests that Leonard should have stayed back at the hotel and watched on TV. Jumping to Leonard’s defense, Jim Furyk fires back: “What he said about Justin was just wrong. There’s no room for that . . .The flip side is he’s very popular with the viewers. People love hearing stuff like that, but people love going to NASCAR to watch wrecks, too. I don’t know what that says about us.”
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As Craig “Popeye” Parry contends his way into a playoff against Scott Verplank at the 2004 Ford Championship, Miller makes a near-cartoonish comment, saying that the Aussie’s unorthodox swing would make Ben Hogan “puke.” So much for appearances. Parry wins on the first extra hole by jarring his approach for an eagle “2.”
4 of 12 Al Tielmans/SI
As Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods go toe-to-toe at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Miller alludes to Rocco’s blue-collar bearing: “Guys with the name of Rocco don’t get the trophy, do they?” he says, before adding, “He looks more like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool.” Miller later apologizes, saying the comment was intended as a compliment but came out wrong.
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Jim Furyk fired a 62 in the second round of the 2008 BMW Championship, and Miller described the round as the “first time in history someone’s shot 62 and never smiled.”
6 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
At the 2010 Players Championship, Miller says of eventual winner Tim Clark: “There’s a reason Mr. Clark has finished second eight times.” He calls it “unbelievable” when Clark splits the 18th fairway with a driver in the final round.
7 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
At the 2010 Ryder Cup, Miller says of a scrambling Phil Mickelson, “If he couldn’t chip, he’d be selling cars in San Diego.” Mickelson reportedly was not amused.
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At the 2012 Shell Houston Open, Dan Hicks, Miller’s partner in the booth, brings up a recent injury to Jesper Parnevik, who nearly lost a finger in a freak motorboat accident, prompting Johnny to observe: “Well, if you’re going to lose a finger, the right hand index finger is the one to lose. . .That finger doesn’t serve much purpose in the golf swing anyway, and you could always change your grip if you lose that finger . . .so Jesper, you’re going to be okay.”
9 of 12 Kohjiro Kinno/SI
Tiger Woods a choker? Everyone has their breaking point, Miller says, after Tiger falters at the 2012 Masters. “He goes to the Masters and really fell apart from pressure. The first time in his whole career I can say that Tiger actually gagged just a little bit because he wanted it so bad. He’s going after Nicklaus’s record, 18 majors.”
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The site: the Olympic Club. The event: the 2012 U.S. Open, where big-bomber Nicolas Colsaerts lays up on the 268-yard par fourth-seventh hole. As the crowd boos, Miller chuckles: “The longest hitter maybe in the world, on any tour, and he’s laying up.”
11 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
A month after Tiger’s controversial drop at the 2013 Masters, he has another potential dust-up, this time at The Players Championship, where Woods finds the water on the 14th hole on Sunday, then takes what Miller sees a suspect drop. “That Tiger drop was really, really borderline,” he says. “I can’t live with myself without saying that.” Was he accusing Woods of cheating? Let’s call it borderline.
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Nothing makes Johnny mad like slow play. Consider this: Andrew Loupe was put on the clock for slow play during the third round of the 2014 Valero Texas Open, and Miller said, “If everyone on Tour played like him I’d quit announcing.”