Johnny Miller will forever be linked to the NBC broadcast booh and will always cause fans to default back to his record-63 that he shot in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open. But there are many more layers to Miller, which is why he is being honored by the USGA.
The United States Golf Association has selected Johnny Miller as the recipient of this year’s Bob Jones Award, the association’s highest honor that recognizes character, respect and a commitment to sportsmanship in the game of golf.
“Johnny’s contributions to our game are significant, and honoring him with the Bob Jones Award reflects everything he means to the game and everything the game means to him,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA.
Miller, best known as a player, broadcaster and course designer, was known throughout his career for his commitment to fair play and excellence – the same traits embodied by the award’s namesake. Bob Jones was a nine-time USGA champion whose integrity and spirit are considered the gold standard in golf. The award has been presented annually by the USGA since 1955.
A man of deep faith, Miller shaped his career around hard work, integrity and the positive attitude that his father instilled in him from a young age. Those same core values led him to create the Johnny Miller Champ Foundation, inspired by the nickname his father, Larry, gave him and focused on nurturing junior golfers, fostering positive coaching and promoting the dreams and aspirations of young athletes.
In 1997, the National Golf Foundation honored the Millers with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family of the Year Award, which recognized families who have made significant contributions to the game and exemplified the ideals of golf and family.
For more than 40 years, Miller has been helping American Indian Services provide scholarships and educational programs to Native Americans in pursuit of higher education. In that time, he has participated in 140 golf fundraisers for American Indian Services that have raised approximately $20 million for students in need of financial support.
“This is such a great honor to receive the Bob Jones Award,” said Miller, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998. “It was always about the USGA events for me. Growing up at The Olympic Club was such a privilege because it was a U.S. Open course and my father always told me that’s the one I needed to win, the U.S. Open.”
Miller did so in remarkable fashion, producing one of the greatest rounds in major-championship history at the 1973 U.S. Open, when he shot a final-round 63 to come from six strokes back and win by one at venerable Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.
Miller, a San Francisco native who played collegiately at Brigham Young University, also became the first player to win both a U.S. Junior Amateur (1964) and U.S. Open title, an accomplishment since matched by Tiger Woods in 2000 and Jordan Spieth in 2015.
“When I think of my career, I think of the turning points and winning the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship was definitely one of those,” said Miller. “The USGA has played such an important role in my career and in my life. Being a recipient of the Bob Jones Award is the highest honor you can receive from the USGA, and I am truly honored for it to come on the 50th anniversary of my 1973 U.S. Open Championship win.”
Following his playing career, Miller turned to broadcasting, which allowed him to spend more time at home with his family, which now includes his wife, Linda, six children and 24 grandchildren.
He joined NBC Sports in 1989 as a part-time analyst and eventually became one of the most recognizable voices in the game as the network’s lead golf analyst, serving as a central figure in U.S. Open broadcasts for more than two decades. In addition to his on-air success, Miller pursued a passion for golf course architecture, designing and renovating more than 30 golf courses.
Miller joins the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as recipients of the Bob Jones Award.
The USGA will celebrate Miller on June 13 at a ceremony in Los Angeles, the host community of the 2023 U.S. Open Championship.