It appears NBC’s golf coverage is heading for a big shakeup. As per a report from Golfweek‘s Forecaddie, Johnny Miller is going to retire after 29 years as NBC’s lead analyst, and Paul Azinger will replace him. What’s interesting, though, is that it sounds like Azinger will continue to work for Fox as well:
After 29 years, Johnny Miller is going to retire as NBC’s lead golf announcer and will be replaced by Paul Azinger, The Forecaddie has learned. In a fascinating twist that may have been inspired by Alex Rodriguez’s split time on ESPN and Fox baseball coverage this year, Azinger will remain on Fox Sports broadcasts of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open while taking the NBC seat vacated by Miller. An announcement is set for as early as Tuesday.
The 71-year-old Miller (seen at left above with Dan Hicks at the 2016 Ryder Cup) has been NBC’s lead analyst since 1990, so this is a big change for their golf coverage. However, the 59-year-old Azinger might be one of the more similar golf analysts out there, someone also praised by many viewers and someone willing to criticize players. He has plenty of broadcasting experience, serving as a lead analyst for ESPN and ABC golf coverage from 2005-2015 and joining Fox in 2016 (replacing Greg Norman). And it speaks to his skill that both Fox and NBC want him as a top analyst, and that they’re apparently willing to work out a shared arrangement like this.
According to the Golfweek report, Miller’s contract ends after the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Arizona (January 31-February 3), which NBC is broadcasting this year thanks to CBS’ Super Bowl obligations. And this also fits with recent remarks Miller made at the Safeway Open in Napa (where he lives now) earlier this month, as he said there “It’s been 50 years on the road, and part of me is saying, ‘That’s enough.'” Well, if this is in fact it for Miller, he’ll certainly be fondly remembered, especially for his willingness to always say what was on his mind at a time when that was rare in golf broadcasting. Here’s a 2016 conversation with him talking about his career as both a player and a broadcaster:
Miller will certainly leave big shoes to fill. We’ll see how Azinger does as his replacement.