Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller give emotional sign off after US Open (Video)

Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller gave an emotional sign off to close out NBC’s coverage of the US Open Sunday.

NBC loses the US Open to FOX Sports 1/FOX next year after a 20-year run. Though they still have the Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup, The Players, and more, they’re out of the major business, which means viewers won’t hear Miller providing his critical commentary on the US Open anymore.

Hicks gave Miller some special recognition.

“I’ve had the best seat in the house with the best analysis that has ever done this game,” Hicks said of his partner.

FOX VP of Communications Dan Bell was among those praising the NBC crew.

Dan Hicks Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller: Rory McIlroy is struggling because he’s in love for first time

rory-mcilroy-caroline-wozniackiRory McIlroy is still looking to find his stroke this season, and the British Open would be a good place to discover it this week. McIlroy’s recent performance has left little hope that he stands a chance at Muirfield. The 23-year-old has admitted he is still struggling to find the right clubs since his switch to Nike, but PGA analyst Johnny Miller thinks he is having other problems.

In addition to leaving his shoulder too open when he’s addressing the ball, Miller believes McIlroy’s ongoing romance with Caroline Wozniacki has had a negative effect on his play.

“I think he’s in love for the first time,” Miller said, via the San Francisco Chronicle (via For the Win). “It’s a wonderful feeling, and it’s distracting.”

Miller then went on to talk about McIlroy’s switch to Nike.

“Then I would say it’s one thing to change your driver or wedge, but you’re asking for huge trouble when you change all your clubs and your golf ball at the same time,” he said. “I did it with Wilson, and I went into an immediate slump for four or five months. …”

This is certainly not the first time we have heard someone blame McIlroy’s struggles on his relationship with Woz. There was recently speculation that he might be playing poorly because the two are going through a break-up, but they spent time together and put those rumors to rest.

Rory may not even know what the problem is, but the longer it persists the more the pressure builds. The important thing to remember is that McIlroy won three of the final six events on the PGA tour last year, starting with the PGA Championship in mid-August. It’s certainly possible that he could turn it on again down the stretch this season. Time will tell.

Johnny Miller questions Tiger Woods’ drop on 14

Tiger-WoodsTiger Woods was questioned for the second tournament in a row for a drop he took after hitting into the water.

Tiger went into the water on the par-4 14th hole during the final round of The Players on Sunday. He took a drop which led to some questions from NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller.

“That was really, really borderline. I couldn’t live with myself without saying that,” Miller said, via Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner.

Miller is known for being a controversial announcer, so this sort of thing is nothing new for him. This is also nothing new for Tiger, who was facing disqualification at the Masters after taking an illegal drop on the 15th hole at Augusta during his second round.

Woods took his one-stroke penalty for hitting into the water on 14 and double-bogeyed the hole. He won the tournament at 13-under, but the drop he took on 14 has left many questions.

Woods’ options after hitting into the water were: 1) play his shot from the original location 2) play from behind the water hazard 3) play where the ball crossed over the hazard.

Did Tiger do any of the three? The PGA Tour had his back by issuing this statement:

“Without definitive evidence, the point where Woods’ ball last crossed the lateral water hazard is determined through best judgement by Woods and his fellow competitor. If that point later proves to be a wrong point (through television or other means), the player is not penalized by Rule 26-1 given the fact that a competitor would risk incurring a penalty every time he makes an honest judgment as to the point where his ball last crosses a water-hazard margin and that judgment subsequently proves incorrect (Decision 26-1/17).”

Video via The Big Lead

Ian Poulter fires back at Johnny Miller over criticism

ian poulter windIan Poulter fired back at NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller who criticized how long Poulter was taking to set up his shots over the weekend.

Play at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, was cancelled three straight days because of strong winds. Poulter was among those who wanted golfers to tough it out despite the harsh winds.

“We need to try to put the show on,” Ian Poulter said at first. “Hyundai spent a lot of money. We want to play. Fans want to see us play. TV wants to see us play. We’re backed into a corner. I don’t think they understand how windy it really is. Now they’ve seen it.

“This is going to be crazy golf. You’ve just got to suck it up,” Poulter said via Reuters.

Though Poulter wanted to tough it out, he found golfing in those conditions to be extremely difficult. He had to back away six times on a 10-foot putt on the 11th hole Sunday, which irked Miller and Dan Hicks:

“He surely doesn’t have the Tom Watson attitude so far,” said Miller. “He’s afraid he’s going to hurt himself, probably set back the game 20 years. … He’s just taking way too much time. He’s being fairly dramatic here.”

Hicks shared similar thoughts.

“You have to give in to the conditions and the whole scene here to a degree or you’re going to drive yourself crazy trying to get set perfectly…”

Word of Miller and Hicks’ criticism got back to Poulter, who fired back via his Twitter account.

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