Sounding off on the talking heads
In a recent equipment review (KZG U-Wood, I believe), I referred to former PGA Tour golden boy-turned-TV golf commentator Johnny Miller, “an insufferable know-it-all.” One of our fine readers wrote in, defending Miller’s honor.
The reader wrote, “Where do you get announcers that are more truthful and accurate than Mr. Miller? His sometimes dry and sarcastic approach is a breath of fresh air relative to the ‘cookie-cutter’ announcers that repeat the same golf lines over and over. And his knowledge of the game is unsurpassed.”
I will admit that Miller is knowledgeable, and truthful, indeed. So I revise my statement: Miller is a knowledgeable and truthful insufferable know-it-all.
Was I the only one who noticed two years ago when Golf Digest ran an issue in which nearly every article—on every topic from the majorless Mickelson to packing for a golf trip—was accompanied by a sidebar entitled, “Johnny Says”? What sort of ego-maniac would ever even consider being a part of such a thing?
I mean come on – Miller won a couple of majors and was an inhumanly gifted iron-player, but this in no way qualifies him to tell me how to pack for a golf trip.
And check out the latest Golf Digest. In it, former Ryder Cuppers are asked for their favorite memories. Miller’s contribution consists of whining, and I quote: “I was the U.S. Open champion in 1973, and I wasn’t on the team. You had to be on the tour for five years. I would have made it on two other Ryder Cups, just because I was a great player out of the box. Imagine being the U.S. Open champion and not being eligible for the Ryder Cup? How stupid was that rule?”
Stupid rule, sure. But I can only imagine the sigh of relief when the other team members found out he was ineligible and they didn’t have to put up with his preening. Hey Johnny, maybe you should see a urologist – at least he’d pay attention when you piss and moan.
Notice how Johnny boy will give everyone advice on everything…other than putting. I guess when a guy yips more than a hyperactive Chihuahua it tends to humble him a bit.
And while we’re (or rather I’m) on the subject, every Sunday I thank the golf gods that Ken Venturi retired. If I had to hear one more time how he nearly collapsed of heat exhaustion when he won the U.S. Open at congressional in 1964, I would have had to do catastrophic harm to my TV with my 9-iron.
Hey Ken, did you ever consider drinking some water during your round? If not water, you could have tried drinking something—anything—WITHOUT booze in it, for a change. When Venturi compared his dehydrated round with Casey Martin’s birth defect as a witness at Martin’s lawsuit against the PGA, he offended and belittled everyone with a non-self-induced disability. It was obscene.
So who do I like in the booth on Sunday? I have a soft spot for the guys from the Continent: Peter Oosterhuis, Peter Alliss (btw, the common taunt is, “Hit it Alliss,” not, “Hit it Alice”), and Renton Laidlaw. They are concise, honest, temperate, and clever, and they know when to shut up.
On the course, David Feherty, Gary McCord, and Judy Rankin are great. And Roger Maltbie is not only a good announcer, he’s a good guy to have a beer with. At the U.S. Women’s Open, he reminded us of how he got blitzed and lost his winner’s check for, I believe it was, the 1975 Pleasant Valley Classic in the clubhouse bar. They cut him a new one, and the original is still hanging in the bar.
You wouldn’t catch Maltbie preaching to you about the best way to fold your golf socks.
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Also, I saw Corey Pavin on a telecast once and he was fantastic. He was rigt on the spot where drives landed and gave info on the lie, distance and club selection.
A: Other know-it-alls who lack conscientiousness and love the sound of their own voice.
I prefer a more enlightened, self-deprecating type of announcer. Johnny Miller, please shut up.