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June 14, 1994

Johnny Miller


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 the Open.

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 '73?

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 or ...

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 Miller?

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 good luck.

JOHNNY MILLER: Thank you very much.

LES UNGER: Look forward to seeing you next year anyway.

End of FastScripts....

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