Johnny Miller doesn’t mince words. Dan Hicks knows when to respond to some of those comments and when to let well enough alone.
The NBC broadcasters have spent 16 years together in the booth as lead analyst and host of the network’s golf coverage. Hicks laughs when he reflects on some of the from-the-heart observations Miller has made over the years.
“That’s nothing that 10 or 15 seconds of dead air can’t solve,” Hicks said Friday before the second round of the Tour Championship. “I like to say I’m pretty quick and witty and clever and I can usually come up with something on the back end of it, but there are times that it’s so brilliantly out there that there is nothing that I can add to it. I’ll just say ‘Let’s go to 17 and Gary Koch.’”
Hicks and Miller are the longest-running golf broadcast tandem, surpassing 15 years of ABC’s Jim McKay and Dave Marr.
Miller was asked during a recent interview whether he believed Jordan Spieth was tired from a long season when he missed the cut in the first two events of the PGA Tour playoffs. The analyst uniquely began to describe a swing flaw that he believe has affected Spieth, still in contention to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup playoff title.
“He’s got a little fundamental flaw, his left elbow is coming through and he’s blocking to the right,” Miller said. “Those short irons, instead of sticking them he’s losing them to the right. … He was talking (following the first round) that he is not releasing his hands. Well, it’s not his hands. His elbow is bending more. I’ll say it on the air.”
“See that?” he said. “What Johnny just said to answer your question is the reason why he is the best. He sees these things. We’ll talk about it on the air. You don’t see anybody impress that. They might answer your question like, ‘It’s hard in this sport to keep it going.’ Johnny goes right to why he believes there have sometimes been some inconsistencies.”
As to how long the on-air marriage will continue, Hicks said he frequently tries to counter talk from the 68-year-old Miller of wanting to slow down. There is a pretty big carrot. NBC recently got the rights to the British Open for 12 years. The deal came two years after it lost the rights to the U.S. Open. Miller won two of his major titles at the 1976 British Open. Hicks wants to work with Miller at such a historic event.
They started together on Tiger Woods’ meteoric rise through golf that began with his U.S. Amateur titles. While the likes of Woods and Phil Mickelson are starting to fade into the background, both believe golf is in good hands with young players such as Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Speith.
No doubt, there is more to come for the broadcast duo.
“He is so good under pressure,” Miller said of Hicks. “I’m a person who focuses on pressure and how well people handle pressure. I think I admire him most because he’s so good under pressure. I was pretty good under pressure but I didn’t relish it. I always feel like I don’t have to worry when I go on the air. I don’t have to worry like some other guys that I sure hope he doesn’t screw up.”
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