Would players play Johnny Miller's tourney?
The concept of Johnny Miller taking over as host of his own PGA Tour event (as broached in this week's Golf World Monday) is an intriguing one, for a number of reasons: Miller has already been canonized as one of the great players of his era, he remains an outsized personality, and with his new part ownership of Silverado Country Club in northern California, he could deliver a golf course that the tour is already familiar with, having hosted a tournament there from 1968-1980.
So that is the upside. The downside is that such an event could be rife with complications. As Miller told Jaime Diaz in the December issue of Golf Digest, he would aspire to preside over a tour event much in the way Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer do with the Memorial and Bay Hill, respectively.
Both Nicklaus and Palmer have succeeded in producing an upper-tier tour event in large part because both are almost universally beloved or at least respected by today's players. In short, when Jack or Arnie asks you to play their event, you're rarely in a position to say no. But what if the person asking is a former player with whom few current players have a close relationship, and who has never been shy about pointing out their shortcomings?
While many players when asked about Miller will say they've learned to take his analysis in stride -- "Overall, Johnny is good for golf," Jim Furyk told Diaz -- it's hard to imagine them revamping their schedule for him. And that leads to another awkward dynamic: wouldn't Miller's analysis of players inevitably be influenced if they began snubbing him?
Sure, this is all premature, especially when considering an event at Silverado is little more than a brainstorm at this point. But it is something that might give the PGA Tour pause when it's time to consider going into business with Miller.
*-- Sam Weinman