Playing in an era when there was no shortage of superstars, Miller won eight times on the PGA Tour in 1974. For his career, he won 25 times on the tour, including the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when he closed with a 63 in the final round, and the 1976 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, when he carded a 66 on the last day.
But one of Miller’s most amazing wins came much later, in 1994, when he won at Pebble Beach at age 46; it was his first win since 1987.
Just how good was Miller? Jim McLean says:
I actually played two competitive rounds with Johnny during this time and saw his action up close. It was very, very special. It wasn’t unusual for Johnny to absolutely freeze two or three iron shots per day. That means he hit them so close you could kick them in. Nobody in the last 30 years has hit irons closer than Johnny miller did during his run. He was laser accurate. He even had his caddie, Andy Martinez, measure courses to the half-yard. Yes, you heard me right. Johnny wanted to know if it was 157, 157 1/2 or 158-yards to the hole. And he believed he could actually control his ball that well…
…Johnny Miller burned like a super nova for a short period of time. I believe his inquisitive mind, his devotion to his family, his building of his body mass and his early bouts with the yips all contributed to a shorter period of greatness. But my friends, what a brilliant time it was. I saw it in person. Miller had all the shots and he could hit a golf ball straighter than anyone alive. It was really something to see.”
Read the rest of McLean’s analysis of Miller’s golf swing (article is in cached form).
Characteristics of Johnny Miller’s Golf Swing
• Hands close to the body at address — arms are hanging straight down
• Neutral to weak grip
• Early setting of the wrists
• Steep shaft plane in the backswing
• Club goes past parallel at the top
• Big lateral move in the downswing
• Very big head dip in the downswing
Compare Johnny Miller’s Golf Swing To
• Ben Hogan (grip)
• Jack Nicklaus (steepness of the shaft in the backswing)
Video Vault of Johnny Miller’s Golf Swing
A look at Miller when he was at his peak:
Wayne DeFrancesco shows the head dip in Miller’s swing: