September 29, 2008

Enough With 'Here's Johnny'

An overdose of Johnny Miller has the author in a tizzy

After a month of NBC golf telecasts, I've got peacock droppings all over my living room and an acute case of hives, which my doctor has attributed to a Johnny Miller overdose. He's still the king of analysis, but in these final weeks of the PGA Tour season, the needle on my Miller Meter ventured deep into the red zone. Perhaps Johnny wanted to see how far he could go before someone realized how outrageous some of his statements have become.

Last week, he said that if the clubface of a driver was a thousandth of an inch off square at impact, the result is a shot 20 yards off target. Sorry, Johnny, but I'm going to run that one past my local mathematician. Miller seemed subdued at the Ryder Cup, as if the U.S. squad's success neutralized his version of truth from the booth, although he referred to slight misses as a quarter of an inch fat or a groove too low, taking liberties only Miller would consider worthwhile to viewers.

For whatever reason, the entire NBC team has gotten preoccupied with the direction and amount of break on every putt, the subsequent chatter leading to overkill and the occasional testy exchange between analysts. Gary Koch came back hard at Miller Sunday—it's amazing what a few inches of left-to-right roll will do to a relationship. Forgive me for failing to see the importance of needing to know the exact line of a 15-footer long before it approaches the hole. Just one of those TV things, I suppose.

Without such meaningless detail, we would have an hour of dead air and less ammunition for Miller, who rarely neglects to announce whether an errant putt was misread or victimized by a slightly flawed stroke, in which case a thousandth of an inch can mean a few million bucks. Maybe the dude just missed it, Johnny. Maybe the guy is human, so let's go out to Roger on the 15th tee.