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June 14, 1994
LES UNGER: With Johnny Miller about to play in his 22nd U.S.
Open, I have to ask the question; in view of recent television
developments, Johnnie, what happens next year if you qualify for
JOHNNY MILLER: Officially, I will be an announcer. So if I were
to win - one in a million win - we will talk about it. But otherwise,
I am really pumped to do my -- whatever it is, 30 hours of coverage
or whatever it is. It is hard to believe that you can do that
in the hours of coverage in the U.S. Open, but that is a lot of
time in front of the mic that I will have. I am looking forward
to it now that the NBC got the U.S. Open.
LES UNGER: You were a winner here. I am not sure how many times
you have played this course since then and whether you have had
a chance to practice, perhaps you can bring us up-to-date.
JOHNNY MILLER: Well, this is a little bit of serendipity just
being here. I really had no interest in qualifying. As you guys
know, I am sort of done as a player. I did win AT&T. This
is supposedly the time when I just play a couple of times a year.
I don't have any illusions about my play or what I might do this
week, but I have been playing well the few times I played lately.
There is a lot of difference between playing well at Silverado
club and Napa and playing out at Oakmont. I am here to have a
good time; keep my eyes open on what I might want to do as an
announcer or next year's open championship and really enjoy Oakmont
and the people. And I am sure they will appreciate maybe what
I did in '73 and I will be playing with the last three, you know
-- I am one of the last three Open champs here. Nicklaus won it
in '62, and I am '73, and Nelson won the last Open here; Larry
Nelson. So we have a nice pairing, so I am looking forward to
that. I am looking forward to playing with Jack. I haven't played
with Jack for awhile and I know he hasn't been playing as well
as he would like. Maybe he can turn it around here. Maybe I can
inspire him. I definitely won't intimidate him.
LES UNGER: Okay. If you have a question, please raise your
hands. We will get a mic in front of your face as soon as we can.
Q. Is it basically the same type of golf course as it was in
JOHNNY MILLER: I say to people, between this course and Shinnecock
are probably more Open-ready day in and day out when they are
-- when the weather is -- when it is Open, besides the winner
and more ready for an Open than any course in the United States.
This course -- the joke is, only greens that the USGA has to slow
down for the Open Championship, I don't know if that is true but
I have heard that is a little bit true how they get them Open
and ready all the time for the members. The members obviously
get great pride in the fact that their greens are pretty amazing.
So this course doesn't-- to answer your question, I think it is
always Open-ready and it doesn't change much from year to year.
I haven't seen 17, but they went back to the old tee at 17 which
should make it sort of interesting. Now it is probably what is
a 5-iron lay-up if you want to lay it up or 4-iron, but I am sure
there is going to be a lot of guys going for the green. That will
be a fun hole to match. If I was in the gallery I would be tempted
to sit up there on 17 and watch them watch them rip it. So I haven't
played the course to answer your question, so I am just speculating
on how much it has not changed. I took the red eye this morning,
so I am feeling pretty good.
Q. Johnny, do you get tired of talking about the 63 and if
you don't, can you reflect a bit about that day, that round and
how everything just worked?
JOHNNY MILLER: Well, I probably talked about that round as much
as, you know - especially lately - as much as anybody has talked
about any round ever. Of course, I can't complain about it. It
was a pretty good round. Most of you heard the story - it is in
a magazine this month - I'd say that if there was ever a round
that I played that felt like somebody helped me from who knows
where, up above or whatever, that was the only round that I felt
like I was sort of almost in the taking of but it wasn't all just
me. I had tremendous concentration level that day, and everything
just went right. It was just -- you just don't play Oakmont like
that. I mean, if you can go through the round and be with me,
you will probably realize that that round had some good potential
of being in the high 50s or around 60. I did not get a lot out
of the round. It is not like I was making chip shots and 30 footers
and I did miss several putts insides of eight feet. So, I am not
complaining - 63 - I played it well. It was just a pretty good
putting round; it wasn't a great putting round by any means. Usually
don't shoot 63 without a great putting round. It was really exciting
on 17 and 18. I really wanted to-- I wanted more strokes because
I thought if I got one more under after I birdied 15, it was definitely
my championship and I figured if I didn't birdie any after 15,
I probably would win, but I left the door Open a little. So the
putt I lipped out at 17 and then the violent lip out of 18, I
really wanted that putt at 18 really badly, and it wasn't like
I was trying to just cozy it up there. I was trying to attack
the whole way. I think that is the reason why the round went so
well, is that the last -- from 8 on when I had 3-putted 8, I was
in a definite attack mode. There was no lay-up; there was no trying
to be cozy. I was out there for one reason one reason only; that
was to win the Open. And I knew from there on in if I could keep
on pushing, I would have a shot at it. So a lot of people say,
well, you played early, and you didn't-- I didn't know what I
was doing, but after I birdied the first 4 holes, I went through
about a four-hole choke session inside because I knew I was 6
back and 4 under after 4 and I did the old arithmetic that you
guys do when you guys (indicating the media) have a chance to
shoot your personal best and couldn't choke quick enough. So I
had to get over that, and the 3-putt actually got me angry at
8 because I hit a great 4-wood as hard as I could hit it right
under the hole straight up to a putt; didn't even have a break
and left about that far short (indicating approximately 2 1/2
feet) and missed it like that. Anything else on that round?
Q. You referred to the magazine story. Have you yourself done
a lot of reading about that round; have you ever seen anything
in the kind of history that surprises you that is not correct
JOHNNY MILLER: It is quite accurate what they say. There is enough
of it on film. The accuracy of the round was -- I hit every green
in regulation. The longest putt was on number 16 where I did play
left of the hole. I didn't have quite enough club on 16 and played
left to the pin. It was about 45, 50 feet there. But I was playing
over there. They had the pin back right. I thought it was a bad
gamble and just got it left side of the green, front left, because
it wasn't enough club and 2-putted and next longest putt was on
number 4, which was about 20 feet and the other ones averaged
-- if you took those two out, what is amazing about the ball striking,
if you took those two puts out, my average birdie putt was average
six feet on the other 16 holes. I mean, there was a ton of them
that were, you know, from six inches -- six inch,-- had three
of them that were six inches on number 2, 9 and what was the other
one? I will remember it in a second. But I had 3 putts that were
basically gimmees, so that helped.
LES UNGER: The tape on the 1973 Open runs in the hospitality
room at the Raddison - not every shot, but a lot of them, so you
are welcome to see them in the evening. Anybody else for John
Q. How many times have you played here since then?
JOHNNY MILLER: Of course I played in '78 PGA with-- I played with
Tom Watson and it was in '78. I had a good chance. The PGA then--
I made of course in '83 and never really could in '78. I was right
in the middle of my slump. I mean, just dead center in the slump.
I couldn't even hardly beat anybody at that point. And then '83
I was coming out of a slump and so, you know, I was a lot different
golfer then. I am probably a better golfer now than I was in '78,
for sure. So-- sure isn't saying much.
Q. 1994 has been a strange year in United States golf with
only one repeat winner. Can you the put your thoughts on what
has happened so far?
JOHNNY MILLER: It is pretty amazing, isn't it? You know, it doesn't
-- I don't -- I know the caliber of players is really, really
high, but I don't know if it is a combination of players knowing
how hard it is to win, so that when they do win, they feel like,
well, I guess that is mine for the year. I just -- I wish there
was a way of getting inside all these players' heads and seeing
how much they really play to win or whether just if you played
to win every week it would wear you out so much that you just
couldn't live with basically yourself because it is so hard to
win; you understand what I am saying? We have players that obviously
always want to win, but there was a time when the fields were
weak enough; especially like Nicklaus would be first to admit
that the whole focus of the week was to get rested up enough or
prepared enough like Hogan did that you would go win, and now,
it is more, go through the motions of doing all the things you
are supposed to do with the hopes of maybe it might be your week
once a year or twice a year. So maybe it is just being realistic
for the players, because there is so many good players now. There
really is, but I can't believe that you don't get more multiple
winners; especially out of the talents of, you know, a Couples,
Norman and this year, we are not seeing that too much. Price is
the first double winner; is that right? Price is the first double
winner. So I think Norman is going to win 4, 5, 6, 7 events a
year. He has the ability. So does Price he, gets the most out
of his game, but maybe it is just coincidental that they haven't
had multiple winners. Somebody could break out this summer starting
about right now which Price can still have a monster year if he
finishes it off well.
LES UNGER: Anyone else? Why don't we call it off and wish you
JOHNNY MILLER: Thank you very much.
LES UNGER: Look forward to seeing you next year anyway.
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