Johnny Miller is NBC’s lead golf analyst, and something of an acquired taste. He’s rightly praised for being unafraid to speak his mind, and for doing his homework. Miller never mails it in, which is a nice contrast to CBS’s Nick Faldo.
But Miller is also openly critical to a fault, and while those who know what he’s getting at can get to the insight contained in his words (when he says a thirty-foot par putt is a putt a player should make, he means relatively speaking) it’s fair to note that maybe a lead analyst shouldn’t require a Golf Curmudgeon Rosetta Stone in order to understand what he’s saying.
Today featured an all-time Johnny Miller moment, though, as Miller took a sideswipe at longtime target Phil Mickelson in a moment that had nothing to do with Sunday’s round.
As Jordan Spieth hit a shot from a fairway bunker on 10, NBC analyst (and longtime Mickelson caddy) Jim “Bones” Mackay noted the similarity to a legendary Phil moment from the 2007 Players, which Mickelson won. NBC was ready with the highlight, because modern golf broadcasts take any excuse to not show live golf:
It was a moment clearly designed to tee up Bones for a little retrospective commentary on the moment, which he delivered. But Johnny couldn’t help himself at the end:
Off the top rope! Mickelson did indeed miss the cut this week, which is obviously what Miller was referring to, but my goodness, what an interjection.
screaming at Johnny throwing cold water on that Phil retrospective highlight.
Bones: He had about the size of a car window to play that shot through
John: “Well he took his car back to the airport on Friday though.”
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) May 13, 2018
It was a very awkward silence, broken by Gary Koch’s professional segue of “All right, back here at 8…”, but that’s not enough to erase the moment. And, keep in mind, Miller didn’t do this in just any moment, he did it in the wake of Mickelson’s ex-caddie and friend delivering a story NBC obviously wanted on the air.
Never change, Johnny Miller. (He won’t.)