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“His devotion to the Open Championship is what inspired me to go over in 1960. I won the following year, and I’ve been credited ever since with “saving” the Open, but it was Frank who paved the way.”


MILLER TIME: No other golf announcer gets under a player’s skin like Johnny Miller, who has developed his own style _ and vocabulary _ in his 20 years with NBC Sports. Could the two-time major champion take it as well as he can dish it out?

Miller will never know.

He said on a conference call leading to the Tournament of Champions that he played in a different era of TV commentary.

“In my era, nobody said anything but namby-pamby stuff,” Miller said. “Nobody ever said anything that would make you upset. As Dave Marr said, we were just gilding the road back then, just making everybody look good.”

Miller does believe in compliments. He’s not afraid to praise. But he believes golf is much bigger than it was in the 1970s, and viewership expects more.

“It’s not just a cute little sport, or an awesome game,” he said. “Now it’s sort of a world sport, and in the public view, they want more than, `That was a fantastic wedge shot 30 feet right of the hole.’ That’s not what they want to hear.

“I hate to say it, but I’m probably the guy that got announcing a little bit more real, sort of an `X Games’ type of announcer,” he said. “And sometimes I wish I wasn’t the way I am, but that’s the way I talk about my own game, so it’s just the way I viewed it. I wasn’t trying to rip anybody, but I have a high standard, and I feel like the best players in the world should perform. And if they don’t, I’m not going to just say, `Oh, that was a bad break’ or something.”


GOLF CHANNEL ON RADIO: Golf Channel no longer will just be seen. Starting this year, it also will be heard.

Golf Channel is expanding to radio for the first time in a broadcast agreement with SiriusXM. Programming will start Monday on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio (XM channel 93, Sirius channel 208).

The programming that will be featured on radio includes “Morning Drive” hosted by Gary Williams, which is a natural fit. When “Morning Drive” began, its studio looked like it was built for a radio talk show. The only problem was it could only be seen on television.

“Radio is a natural extension as Golf Channel continues to expand,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel.

SiriusXM already has beefed up its programming this year with shows hosted by the likes of Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Ben Crenshaw.

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