Johnny Miller

For other people named Johnny Miller, see Johnny Miller (disambiguation).
Johnny Miller
Personal information
Full name John Laurence Miller
Born (1947-04-29) April 29, 1947
San Francisco, California
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)
Nationality  United States
Residence Napa, California
Heber City, Utah
College Brigham Young University
Turned professional 1969
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 35
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 25
European Tour 1
Japan Golf Tour 1
Other 8
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters Tournament T2: 1971, 1975, 1981
U.S. Open Won: 1973
The Open Championship Won: 1976
PGA Championship T11: 1977
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1998 (member page)
PGA Player of the Year 1974
PGA Tour
leading money winner

John Laurence Miller (born April 29, 1947) is an American former professional golfer. He was one of the top players in the world during the mid-1970s. He was the first to shoot 63 in a major championship to win the 1973 U.S. Open, and he ranked second in the world on Mark McCormack's world golf rankings in both 1974 and 1975 behind Jack Nicklaus. Miller won 25 PGA Tour events, including two majors. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.[1] He is currently the lead golf analyst for NBC Sports, a position he has held since January 1990. He is also an active golf course architect.

Early years and education

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Miller was invited to join the Olympic Club in 1963 as a Junior Golf Section member, and became the top player on its junior team. He won the San Francisco city junior title in 1963 at age 16, and the following year won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur. After graduation from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1965,[2] he enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

In the spring of his freshman year of college, Miller qualified for the 1966 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. His intimate knowledge of his home course helped him to finish in a tie for eighth place, the low amateur by three strokes, and earned him an invitation to the 1967 Masters.[3] He won the California State Amateur Championship in 1968.

Miller was an All-American at BYU and graduated in 1969 with a degree in physical education.[4][5]

PGA Tour

Johnny Miller joined the PGA Tour in 1969 at age 22, and won his first tour event in 1971. He made a double eagle or albatross in the 2nd round on the fifth hole at Muirfield during the 1972 Open Championship.[6] He won two major titles: the 1973 U.S. Open and the 1976 Open Championship.[7]

1973 U.S. Open

Coming into the U.S. Open at the challenging par-71 Oakmont, Miller was a 26-year-old with just two tour victories in four years, but had done well in several majors. He tied for second at the 1971 Masters, and had top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open in 1971 and 1972. Miller had yet to win in 1973, but by mid-June he had recorded eight top-10 finishes, which included a tie for 6th at the Masters.

Miller played the first two rounds at Oakmont (near Pittsburgh) with Arnold Palmer and his "Army" gallery, at its largest in Palmer's native western Pennsylvania. Miller was two-under par (140) after the second round, but shot a five-over 76 on Saturday to settle at three-over (216) for the championship. Miller played the front nine without his yardage book on Saturday until his wife Linda retrieved it.[8]

Miller began the fourth and final round in 12th place, six shots behind the four co-leaders, including Palmer. Teeing off at 1:36 pm, about an hour ahead of the final group, Miller shot a scorching eight-under 63, considered one of the most remarkable rounds in major championship history. He passed the leading players of the day, including future hall-of-famers Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Palmer, who was in the final pairing with John Schlee.[9] Miller's 63 remains the lowest final round to win a major championship.[10]

Miller birdied the first four holes and hit all 18 greens in regulation. He got five more birdies with only one bogey (a 3-putt on the 244 yard par-3 #8), and needed only 29 putts during the round.[11][12][13][14] Ten of his approach shots finished within 10 feet of the cup. In 2007, Miller said: "It was the greatest ball-striking round I've ever seen and I've been around a little bit."[15]

Miller wound up at 5-under (279) for the championship, beating the runner-up Schlee by a single stroke, who shot a 1-under 70. Only six players, Miller included, shot under par in the final round. Miller earned $35,000 for the victory.

After Oakmont

Miller followed that triumph at Oakmont by finishing in a tie for second at the next major, The Open Championship at Royal Troon a month later, three strokes behind winner Tom Weiskopf.[16][17] This was the first of five consecutive top-10 finishes for Miller at The Open.

In 1974, Miller was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour with eight victories, which considerably outpaced the rest of the field. He amassed a then-record $353,201 (not exceeded until 1978), and unseated Nicklaus as the Tour's leading money winner for a season.

Miller began 1975 with three more victories, winning two of them in remarkable fashion. He won the Phoenix Open by 14 strokes, which included a second round 61 for a 24-under par cumulative score of 260, the lowest on the tour in 20 years. He also won the Tucson Open by nine strokes, with a final round 61.[18]

Miller later said of his peak period in the mid-1970s: "When I won at Tucson by nine shots in 1975, I would say the average iron shot I hit that week was no more than two feet off line. It was unbelievable. When I was at my peak, I would go into streaks where I felt that I could knock down the pin from anywhere with my irons. I played some golf that I think is unequaled."[19]

Miller finished second to Jack Nicklaus at the 1975 Masters, and third at The Open Championship later in the year at Carnoustie,[20] just a single stroke from playoffs in both. He won his second and final major in 1976, a six stroke victory over Nicklaus and a 19-year-old Seve Ballesteros at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. The course had played hard and fast after scorching hot conditions in England that summer, during the 1976 United Kingdom heat wave, which saw record hot temperatures and several minor fires breaking out in the tournament.[21] Miller's final round of 66 at Royal Birkdale tied the course record.[22]

Following his 1976 Open Championship win, Miller, never known as an outstanding putter, lost the form that made him a frequent winner in his early career and failed to win for the next three years, due to a putting affliction widely known as the "yips".

Miller later said that he considered quitting professional golf during his slump in form between 1977 and 1979, but a passage in the Scriptures, "It's not what you accomplish in life, but what you overcome", helped inspire him to continue playing golf. Miller also said that Jack Nicklaus, whom he viewed as a father figure, was "amazingly supportive" of him during his bleak period in the late 1970s.[19]

In 1980, Miller notched his first win in almost four years, the Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic.[23]

In 1981, Miller enjoyed one final spectacular season. His victory at the Million Dollar Challenge in Sun City, South Africa following an epic 9-hole sudden death playoff with Seve Ballesteros made him that year's leading worldwide money-winner after two earlier wins in the United States. Miller's return to impressive form in 1981 resulted in him competing in his second Ryder Cup. To date, the 1981 Ryder Cup at Walton Heath Golf Club in England remains the heaviest defeat that a European team has suffered at the hands of the United States and it is considered by many to be the finest American team ever assembled.[24]

Miller finished his career with 25 PGA Tour wins and 105 top-10 finishes. Miller finished runner-up three times at The Masters in 1971, 1975 and 1981. The only major championship Miller failed to have a top-3 finish in is the PGA Championship. He played on two Ryder Cup teams, 1975 and 1981. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.[25]

In 2012, Fred Couples described Miller as "probably the best ball-striker ever".[26]

Subsequent career

Although Miller became eligible for the Senior PGA Tour in 1997, he decided to forgo regular play on the senior tour in part due to the strain the sport puts on the knees of a player.[27] Instead, he has focused on his role as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports' limited golf schedule and other business ventures. This was despite his victory in the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, at age 46, after he had semi-retired in 1990 to take up broadcasting.[28]

As a commentator, Miller became known for his straightforward and sometimes blunt remarks, which sometimes earned him the enmity of players. One example came on June 16, 2008, when he referred to Rocco Mediate, during the broadcast of the U.S. Open's 18-hole playoff, as "looking like the guy who cleans Tiger Woods' pool." Miller said that "guys with the name of Rocco don't get on the trophy, do they?" Mediate, who has battled many physical problems throughout his career, nevertheless played superbly, and took the heavily favored Woods to an 18-hole playoff (and one extra sudden-death hole) before losing. Mediate later laughed off the remarks and Miller later apologized for his comments, saying: "I chose my words poorly and in the future will be more careful." He added that his intention was to "convey my affection and admiration for Rocco's everyman qualities and had absolutely nothing to do with his heritage."[29]

In 2012, Miller revealed that Tiger Woods once asked him to be his coach. Woods asked if Miller would give him lessons after Jack Nicklaus had told Woods that Miller was "the best short iron player ever". Miller said that he declined the offer from Woods because of his commitment to NBC Sports and a desire to spend time with his children and grandchildren.[30]

Miller has written a column for Golf Digest magazine for several years, offering insight into various aspects of golf, often featuring the professional game. He also wrote the book I Call The Shots, a look at the PGA Tour's personalities during his peak years, the Tour's current stars, as well as broadcasting insights. Known for his very weak grip, with both "Vs" formed by the forefinger and thumb of each hand pointing to his chin, he sought to eliminate the left side of the golf course as an area for missed shots.

An offshoot to his broadcasting career has been a string of movie and TV appearances as himself in the role of "beloved golf great". In one movie, The Associate, with Whoopi Goldberg, an aging billionaire is willing to transfer management of all his assets in exchange for the opportunity to play a round of golf with Johnny Miller.[31]

Miller is a partner in a limited partnership which purchased Silverado Country Club in Napa, California on July 1, 2010.[32] He also owns a golf design company and a golf academy and designed the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course in Lehi, Utah, host of the Champion's Challenge. Although Miller has helped design 34 golf courses, Silverado was the first course he redesigned himself.[33] In July 2013 it was announced that Silverado will again play host for a PGA tournament starting in October 2014 when it hosts the Open.[34][35] The renovation added over 300 yards, removed trees and repositioned bunkers.[36] Miller served as the unofficial face of the resort during the event, as he was a part of the telecast, which frequently referenced his role in the club. When he had to fulfill official club duties during the week, Miller's friend and NBC colleague Roger Maltbie filled in for him.


Miller is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife Linda have six children and live in Napa, California and Utah.[37] His son Andy won a Tour event and played on the PGA Tour.

Professional wins (35)

PGA Tour wins (25)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Sep 12, 1971 Southern Open Invitational −13 (65-67-68-67=267) 5 strokes United States Deane Beman
2 Nov 27, 1972 Sea Pines Heritage Classic −3 (71-65-75-70=281) 1 stroke United States Tom Weiskopf
3 Jun 17, 1973 U.S. Open −5 (71-69-76-63=279) 1 stroke United States John Schlee
4 Jan 6, 1974 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am −8 (68-70-70=208) 4 strokes United States Grier Jones
5 Jan 13, 1974 Phoenix Open −13 (69-69-66-67=271) 1 stroke United States Lanny Wadkins
6 Jan 20, 1974 Dean Martin Tucson Open −16 (62-71-71-68=272) 3 strokes United States Ben Crenshaw
7 Mar 31, 1974 Sea Pines Heritage Classic −8 (67-67-72-70=276) 3 strokes United States Gibby Gilbert
8 Apr 28, 1974 Tournament of Champions −8 (75-69-67-69=280) 1 stroke United States Buddy Allin, United States John Mahaffey
9 Aug 25, 1974 Westchester Classic −19 (69-68-65-67=269) 2 strokes United States Don Bies
10 Sep 15, 1974 World Open Golf Championship −3 (73-63-73-72=281) Playoff United States Frank Beard, United States Bob Murphy,
United States Jack Nicklaus
11 Sep 29, 1974 Kaiser International Open Invitational −17 (69-69-67-66=271) 8 strokes United States Billy Casper, United States Lee Trevino
12 Jan 12, 1975 Phoenix Open −24 (67-61-68-64=260) 14 strokes United States Jerry Heard
13 Jan 19, 1975 Dean Martin Tucson Open −25 (66-69-67-61=263) 9 strokes United States John Mahaffey
14 Feb 9, 1975 Bob Hope Desert Classic −21 (64-69-72-66-68=339) 3 strokes United States Bob Murphy
15 Oct 5, 1975 Kaiser International Open Invitational −16 (68-67-68-69=272) 3 strokes United States Rod Curl
16 Jan 11, 1976 NBC Tucson Open −14 (70-69-67-68=274) 3 strokes United States Howard Twitty
17 Feb 8, 1976 Bob Hope Desert Classic −16 (71-69-73-68-63=344) 3 strokes United States Rik Massengale
18 Jul 10, 1976 The Open Championship −9 (72-68-73-66=279) 6 strokes Spain Seve Ballesteros, United States Jack Nicklaus
19 Mar 9, 1980 Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic −14 (70-68-66-70=274) 2 strokes United States Charles Coody, United States Bruce Lietzke
20 Jan 11, 1981 Joe Garagiola-Tucson Open −15 (66-64-70-65=265) 2 strokes United States Lon Hinkle
21 Feb 22, 1981 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open −14 (66-69-67-68=270) 2 strokes United States Tom Weiskopf
22 Jan 31, 1982 Wickes-Andy Williams San Diego Open −18 (65-67-68-70=270) 1 stroke United States Jack Nicklaus
23 Mar 6, 1983 Honda Inverrary Classic −10 (68-73-68-69=278) 2 strokes United States Jack Nicklaus
24 Feb 1, 1987 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am −10 (72-72-68-66=278) 1 stroke United States Payne Stewart
25 Feb 6, 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am −7 (68-72-67-74=281) 1 stroke United States Jeff Maggert, United States Corey Pavin,
United States Tom Watson, United States Kirk Triplett

PGA Tour playoff record (1–5)

1 1972 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am United States Jack Nicklaus Lost to birdie on first extra hole
2 1974 World Open Golf Championship United States Frank Beard, United States Bob Murphy, United States Jack Nicklaus Won with birdie on second extra hole
Murphy eliminated with par on first hole
3 1979 Colgate Hall of Fame Classic United States Tom Watson Lost to par on second extra hole
4 1982 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open United States Tom Watson Lost to birdie on third extra hole
5 1983 Phoenix Open United States Rex Caldwell, United States Bob Gilder, United States Mark O'Meara Gilder won with birdie on eighth extra hole
Miller and O'Meara eliminated with birdie on second hole
6 1983 Canadian Open United States John Cook Lost to birdie on sixth extra hole

European Tour wins (1)

Japan Tour wins (1)

Other wins (8)

This list may be incomplete.

Major championships

Wins (2)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1973 U.S. Open 6 shot deficit −5 (71-69-76-63=279) 1 stroke United States John Schlee
1976 The Open Championship 2 shot deficit −9 (72-68-73-66=279) 6 strokes Spain Seve Ballesteros, United States Jack Nicklaus

Results timeline

Tournament 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament DNP T53 DNP DNP
U.S. Open T8 LA CUT DNP T42
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament DNP T2 CUT T6 T15 T2 T23 T35 T32 CUT
U.S. Open T18 T5 7 1 T35 T38 10 T27 T6 CUT
The Open Championship DNP T47 T15 T2 10 T3 1 T9 CUT T57
PGA Championship T12 T20 T20 T18 T39 CUT DNP T11 T38 DNP
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T38 T2 CUT T12 CUT T25 T28 T42 DNP DNP
U.S. Open CUT T23 T45 CUT T4 8 T45 CUT DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT T39 T22 DNP T31 DNP CUT DNP T52 T49
PGA Championship T68 CUT T32 T30 WD CUT WD WD DNP DNP
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
The Open Championship DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP

LA = Low amateur
DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 3 0 3 4 8 19 14
U.S. Open 1 0 0 3 8 10 22 16
The Open Championship 1 1 1 3 5 7 17 13
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 5 16 10
Totals 2 4 1 9 17 30 74 53

U.S. national team appearances


See also


  2. Garrity, John (June 12, 2012). "Johnny Miller was just another golfer at Abraham Lincoln High School". Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  3. "Howstuffworks "Johnny Miller"". Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  4. "Hall of Fame – John L. Miller". BYU Cougar Club. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  5. "Johnny Miller's Official Profile". PGA Tour. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  6. "Trevino, Jacklin share British Open lead". The Wilmington News. Wilmington, North Carolina. UPI. July 14, 1972. p. 1C. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  7. "1976 Johnny Miller". The Open. Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  8. Lazarus, Adam; Schlossman, Steve (May 2010). Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont. New American Library. ISBN 978-1-101-18708-1. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  9. "Past Champions: 1973". Archived from the original on December 13, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  10. "Golf Today's A to Z of Golf: The lowest rounds in Major Championship golf (63)". Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  11. Anderson, Dave (June 14, 2007). "Johnny Miller remembers magical round". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  12. DiMeglio, Steve (June 13, 2007). "Miller listens well en route to 63 in 1973 U.S. Open win". USA Today. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  13. D'Amato, Gary (June 10, 2007). "U.S. Open – Miller's magical 63 in '73 still resonates at Oakmont". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  14. "Miller's magical 63 in '73 a round to remember". CBS Sports. June 12, 2007. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  15. D'Amato, Gary (June 10, 2007). "Miller's magical 63 in '73 still resonates at Oakmont". Seattle Times. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  16. "Results for 1973, Royal Troon". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  17. "Weiskopf's slow-motion triumph". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  18. "Miller Storms to Victory In Tucson Open Golf Event". Nashua Telegraph. Nashua, New Hampshire. UPI. January 20, 1975. p. 18. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  19. 1 2 "Golf Magazine Interview: Johnny Miller". July 19, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  20. "Results for 1975, Carnoustie". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  21. "Miller as hot as English weather, wins British Open by 6 strokes". The Daily Union. Junction City, Kansas. AP. July 10, 1976. p. 2. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  22. "Miller and Ballesteros battle for the Open title". Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  23. "Miller snaps slump with Inverrary golf win". Montreal Gazette. AP. March 10, 1980. p. 35. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  24. "Ryder Cup reunion at Walton Heath - Majors". GolfMagic. July 20, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  25. "Johnny Miller at WGHOF". World Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  26. "Sunday soundbytes: Best quotes from final round". April 9, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  27. Best, Neil (June 18, 2009). "Johnny Miller channels his inner Simon Cowell on NBC". Newsday. Archived from the original on June 25, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  28. Dorman, Larry (February 27, 1994). "Golf; Johnny Miller, a Sand Blast From the Past, Wins". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  29. Sandomir, Richard (June 21, 2008). "Miller Is Sorry for Comments About Mediate". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  30. Wacker, Brian. "Miller: Tiger asked me to coach him". PGA Tour. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  31. "Johnny Miller on IMDB". Retrieved May 5, 2008.
  32. Huffman, Jennifer (June 29, 2010). "Golfing great buys Silverado Resort". Napa Valley Register.
  33. James, Marty (August 30, 2011). "Miller, Harper honored by NorCal PGA at Silverado". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  34. James, Marty (July 4, 2013). "Silverado Country Club to host PGA Tour event". Napa Valley Register.
  35. James, Marty (July 14, 2013). "PGA Tour event will put spotlight on Silverado". Napa Valley Register.
  36. James, Marty (August 25, 2014). "Miller puts his touch on Silverado". Napa Valley Register.
  37. Lieber, Jill (June 13, 2002). "NBC's Miller keeps firing away". USA Today. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
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