The Loop

Miller making a rare Masters appearance

April 07, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Johnny Miller can't remember the last time he was on the grounds of Augusta National GC for the Masters Tournament. One indication that it had been awhile was that he had to ask a writer where the pro shop was located. (He had to purchase some tees for the Par-3 Contest; Miller and Mike Weir are the first group out just before 1 p.m. EDT.)

Miller, who receives a Masters invitation (non-competing) annually as a former U.S. Open and British Open champion, this year decided to make a special trip to Augusta for the same reason so many other people have an interest in the 74th Masters: the return of Tiger Woods.

"I'm coming off however many weeks in a row for NBC, so usually the last thing I want to do is spend another week on the road," Miller, the lead golf analyst for NBC Sports, said Wednesday morning. "I felt like I wanted to be here, so that I can be as prepared as possible with the Players and the U.S. Open coming up for us to be able to talk about Tiger and get a sense for things going on in the game in relation to him."

Miller said he talked to Woods Tuesday afternoon. The exchange, he said, was interesting.

"I told him I was glad he was back, and he gave me an extra long look. He wanted to look into my eyes and see if I really meant it. And I did," Miller said. "He's a great player, and the game is a better game if he's playing. I think he's sincere when he says he's trying to change. I believe people can change, and he's got a strong enough mind and the determination to do it. Obviously, we'll see how it turns out, but we're all interested in how he does."

-- Dave Shedloski