(Getty Images photo)
The Olympic Club is renowned for its U.S. Open villains, usually culled from its playing ranks (Jack Fleck, Billy Casper, Scott Simpson). On Saturday, it apparently identified one in the broadcast booth.
NBC's Johnny Miller was eviscerated in the Twitter world throughout the telecast of the third round, criticism coming from all quarters -- fans, players, counterparts, even a player's wife.
"How does Johnny Miller have a job when he speaks such nonsense???" Geoff Ogilvy's wife Juli wrote on Twitter.
Peter Kostis, a CBS analyst, posted this when Miller called Graeme McDowell "a driving genius," who then drove it into the trees: "He's a driving genius! Whack, club hits ball, whack, ball hits tree, oops."
Colt Knost, who missed the cut, weighed in: "According to Johnny miller every bad shot is BC of nerves!! There is such a thing as a bad swing. Sorry for being human"
Then this from Tommy Biershenk, who must have missed Chris Berman's inane play on his name the day before, something to do with beer and shank: "Am I the only one that can do without Johnny Miller? #Mr.Negative."
One viewer wrote on Twitter that "If I ever see Johnny Miller I am going to follow him the rest of the day and criticize his every move."
The criticism began with Miller talking about the unusually nice weather in the San Francisco area this week: "It's always windy here half the time." He also drew viewers' ire by repeatedly noting how the course was softer than previous days, how Tiger Woods doesn't adjust well when green speeds change, and how Beau Hossler's swing reminded him of Colin Montgomerie's.
A Twitter handle called Quorum Sports brought some needed perspective to the discussion: "I get worn down by Johnny Miller but he sounds like Adel (sic) to me after 48 hr Chris Berman self indulgence." He meant Adele, but point well taken.
'A groove low'
Miller was ridiculed on Twitter when Tiger Woods hit his second shot at the sixth hole and Miller said that he could tell by the sound that he'd "hit it a groove low."
The fact is that Miller called it a thin shot a split-second after Woods hit it and the ball, indeed, came up short. He got it right, as he so often does, notwithstanding his critics.
'Tiger actually gagged'
Miller's appeal over the years evolved from his steadfast reluctance to pull his punches. He still has it, evidence of which came in this analysis of Woods early in Saturday's telecast:
"He goes to the Masters and really fell apart, from pressure. The first time in his whole career I can say that Tiger actually gagged just a little bit because he wanted it so bad. He's going after Nicklaus's record, 18 majors."
Laying up? Really?
When Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, one of the longer players in teh game, laid up on the 268-yard par-4 seventh hole, the crowd voiced its displeasure.
"Nice layup," one fan yelled.
Then the crowd booed.
"The longest hitter maybe in the world, on any tour, and he's laying up," Miller said, chuckling.
Where's Sean Foley?
Instructor Sean Foley has been missing from Woods' side during his warmup. Where's he been? NBC's Gary Koch had the answer.
"I was talking to Sean early in the week," Koch said. "He said Tiger approached him right before the Memorial Tournament and said, 'I don't want you watching me warm up any more. I don't want you walking around with me in practice rounds.'
"I asked Foley, 'how do you interpret that?' [He said] 'I love it. It means that Tiger is back to thinking about playing golf and not worrying so much about his swing before he goes out.'"
Foley has been working with Woods post rounds.
Massacre at the Olympic Club?
It has become an article of faith in golf that when a U.S. Open is won with an under-par score that is unacceptable to the USGA, it enacts revenge the following year with its course setup (see the Massacre at Winged Foot in '74 following Miller winning the '73 Open with a final-round 63 at Oakmont).
Lawrence Donegan cited this in the (U.K.) Guardian in writing about Rory McIlroy's early exit a year after winning the Open with a score of 16-under par.
"Golf can be a humbling game, though this is clearly not enough for the masochists who run the US Open," Donegan wrote. "They demand humiliation, complete and in public, and they got it on a Friday of carnage at the Olympic Club in San Francisco which saw the scoring head north and Rory McIlroy head to the airport.
"Not that the US Golf Association would be so impolite as to say as much in public but McIlroy's epic effort on the east coast provoked them into serving up a brute on the west coast."
-- John Strege