Height: 6 ft 2 in
Born: April 29, 1947
Birthplace: San Francisco, CA
College: Brigham Young University
Turned Pro: 1969
There was a period in the mid-1970 when Johnny Miller was the dominant player in an era that included Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Certainly, Miller lacked the sustained consistency of both Nicklaus and Watson, but there were stretches during that time period where Miller separated himself from two of the greatest golfers who ever lived.
Born in San Francisco and a devout Mormon, Miller became the top junior player on the prestigious Olympic Club’s golf team. Miller captured the San Francisco junior title as a 16-year old. The next year, he captured the U.S. Junior amateur.
Miller decided to attend Brigham Young University. During his freshman season, he qualified for the U.S. Open which was being hosted that year by his home course, Olympic Club. Remarkably, Miller tied for 8th place which earned him entry into the 1967 Masters. Miller earned All-American honors and graduated in 1969.
It was a foregone conclusion that Miller would turn professioanl out of college. Miller won his first PGA title in 1971, beating future PGA commissioner Deane Beman by five shots. He won again in 1972 at Hilton Head. Still, for as storied as him amateur career was, Miller had just two wins after four years on tour.
Things changed dramatically in 1973, Miller made history at Oakmont Country Club. In the final round of the U.S. Open, Miller began the day in 12th place, six shots back of the leaders. Miller would shoot 63 that afternoon to win the championship by a single shot. Miller hit all 18 greens in regulations and needed only 29 putts to complete his round.
Miller almost made it two Majors in a row at the Open Championship. He finished in 2nd place and began a streak of 5 consecutive top tens at the Open. The hot play continued, Miller won eight times in 1974 and four times in 1975. In 1976, he won his second Major title, defeating Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros by six shots to capture his only Open Championship.
Injuries and poor putting plagued Miller in the late 70’s. After a brief return to form, he essentially retired and has gone on to become one of golf’s leading TV analysts for NBC sports.