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What did Johnny Miller say after his final U.S. Open broadcast?

What did Johnny Miller say after his final U.S. Open broadcast?

When Johnny Miller stepped down from the broadcast booth following the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, his body language seemed to convey that he understood this was likely the last time he’d call the national championship.

Miller, whose 1973 win at Oakmont is considered one of the most dramatic in light of a final-round 63 that saw him come from deep in the pack, was proud of the work he’d done on the event with NBC Sports. But since Fox Sports had inked a lucrative deal with the USGA, the 2014 event, which was won by Martin Kaymer, was expected to end NBC’s run with the tournament.

A Golfweek crew that included current senior writer David Dusek stopped Miller as he stepped down from the U.S. Open booth for the final time.

“The way I look at it, 20 years is a pretty dang good run,” Miller told Golfweek at the time. “I didn’t think we’d lose it because I thought we were doing really a good job, but money talks and Fox wanted to get into the golf business. It is what it is. We had a great run. If somebody would have said I could do 20 Opens I would have been very happy and I’m still happy.

“But I’m hoping Fox will do a good job of keeping it going.”

Fox did not, in fact, keep it going.

More: Q&A with former NBC golf lead analyst Johnny Miller

In 2020, the USGA announced that media rights for its championships moved back to NBCUniversal, breaking a 12-year deal with Fox Sports worth about $1 billion.

After COVID forced the USGA to move the dates of the 2020 U.S. Open from June to September, Fox Sports struggled to find the broadcast hours needed for the championship, USGA officials noted, given their additional commitments to the NFL, MLB and college football. Talks that began looking into how Fox Sports and NBC/Golf Channel might work together this year ultimately ended in NBC taking over entirely.

The current NBC Sports agreement runs through 2026, but Miller had already left the network in 2019 when the new deal was forged.

When pressed to recall some of his favorite U.S. Open moments in the booth, Miller talked about his first broadcast when Corey Pavin won the 1995 tournament at Shinnecock over Greg Norman, in which he called Pavin’s 4-wood approach on the 72nd hole the “shot of his life.”

And of course, Miller looked fondly back on Tiger Woods’ dominant victory at Pebble Beach in 2000. Miller knew Woods was clearly in his prime, but he told his NBC partner they were in for something even more special than anyone else…


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