- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NEWPORT, WALES (AP) - You can count on Johnny Miller to be impartial at the Ryder Cup as an analyst for NBC Sports.

American or European, he can get under anyone’s skin.

As great as he was as a player _ Miller will tell you that himself _ he only played in the Ryder Cup twice. Still, he has managed to become a big part of the event through commentary that is always blunt, sometimes shocking, usually accurate.

Even some of his victims agree with that.

“I like a lot of what he does,” Justin Leonard said last week. “It can be a little too critical. I’m sure most guys on tour would say the same thing. We don’t want anyone saying we choked. We know we did. We just don’t want to hear anyone else say we did.”

Leonard says he is not a “Johnny basher,” even though few other player were bashed worse.

“My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television,” Miller blurted out in 1999 when Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match Saturday afternoon at Brookline.

That remains among the most famous of the “Johnny moments,” and there have been plenty over the years. Like the time he said Craig Parry’s swing would make Ben Hogan puke. And remember, Miller is the first analyst to introduce the word “choke” into the golf broadcast, a word players don’t even like hearing in conversation.

And there might be plenty of that going on this week at Celtic Manor.

Miller will be in the booth for the 10th straight Ryder Cup, and he began warming up last week during a conference call. That’s when he said Tiger Woods hasn’t been able to lead the team, neither has Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk has been “less than so-so.”

It’s the Miller way. It’s all he knows.

“Not a lot of announcers are willing to let it go,” Miller said. “When you let it go, like in car racing when you push down on the accelerator, you’re going to spin out a few times. The bottom line is I’m not a careful announcer. If I have a legacy when I retire, it’s that I really was the first announcer willing to say a few things that make people go, ‘Wow.’”

Ian Poulter didn’t exactly say, “Wow.” He used a British euphemism that can’t be repeated here.

Poulter was finishing up a 69 in the third round of the BMW Championship to stay in contention when Miller noted, “You know, he’s not a very good ball-striker.”

The spunky Englishman fought back on Twitter.

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