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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Johnny Miller Rains on Justin T's Parade

Perhaps it comes with the territory; I don't know. But it seems that a few great players possess an extremely healthy ego. We saw history made on Saturday at the U.S. Open when Justin Thomas shot an incredible 63. At nine under par, it was the lowest anyone has ever gone in a U.S. Open. 

It was a phenomenal round. Unfortunately, another great player in the form of Johnny Miller, who had himself fired perhaps the most incredible final round ever played--a 63 at Oakmont--couldn't resist saying that his round was better. 

Johnny's round of 63 at Oakmont was better. Although it was eight under Oakmont's par of 71, that 63 was shot in the cauldron of the final round to win the most prized Major for an American. It was also shot at a tougher course. And context is everything. Just like last year's 63 by Henrik Stenson to win the Open in that incredible duel with Phil was in reality a better round than the one Thomas shot. This is because the final round trying to win a Major adds an element of pressure that can only be imagined by all but a few who have actually been there. I suppose you could compare it to shooting the record score in your club championship on the first day to have the lead, to shooting it on the last day for the win. There's a big difference that no real golfer would dispute.

The sad thing is that Johnny Miller couldn't resist saying the truth, even if it effectively stole, or at least tried to steal, a bit of Justin Thomas' thunder. If it was just because he was being honest, I guess Johnny deserves a pass. But, unfortunately for Johnny, his honesty when it comes to telling us how good he was is sometimes a bit hard to listen to. Most of us prefer a bit more humility from our champions. We like our champions to be modest enough to just let us talk about how good they were.

Anyway, kudos to Justin Thomas. He's in the record books for a nine under par round at a U.S. Open. It's never been done before. I hope he enjoyed it. And I hope he always looks back on it as one of his best rounds. But you can bet Thomas has bigger fish to fry. He won't think that round means anything more than a footnote in U.S. Open history if he doesn't close the deal and get his first Major at Erin Hills. 

That's why Johnny didn't need to state the obvious. We all know that Johnny's round was better. But JT's round was pretty damned good and it wouldn't have hurt to just let him enjoy it without any controversy. Sometimes it's best to be just a little less honest; especially when it comes to blowing your own horn.