Johnny Miller: Bio of the Golfer-Turned-Broadcaster

Golfer Johnny Miller photographed in 1975
Johnny Miller photographed in 1975 during his PGA Tour heyday. Bettmann/Getty Images

Johnny Miller played one of the great rounds in golf history in 1973, and he won two major championships in the mid-1970s. His playing career extended from the 1960s into the 1990s. And beginning in the 1990s, Miller became one of golf's best-known television announcers.

Fast Facts: Johnny Miller

  • Occupation: Professional golfer and golf broadcaster
  • Born: April 29, 1947 in San Francisco, California
  • Education: Brigham Young University
  • Key Accomplishments: Winner of 25 PGA Tour tournaments including two majors; first golfer to score 63 for 18 holes in a U.S. Open or any other major
  • Quote: "Sometimes I wonder how the world would be if there were a million Johnny Millers. I guess some would disagree, but I think it would be a better place."
  • Fun Fact: Many golfers believe the PGA Tour logo, featuring a silhouette of a golfer, pictures Johnny Miller, but the tour says the silhouette is not based on any one golfer.

Number of Wins and Majors

Miller won 25 times on the PGA Tour, his first win happening in 1971 and his last in 1994. (Each of those wins is listed below.) Two his victories were in major champinoships. Miller won the 1973 U.S. Open and the 1976 British Open.

Awards and Honors

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • PGA Tour money leader, 1974
  • PGA Tour Player of the Year, 1974
  • Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1975, 1981

Biography of Johnny Miller

There are legions of golf fans who know Johnny Miller only as a television broadcaster. After retiring from the PGA Tour, Miller rarely played the Champions Tour, and his fame as a golfer faded.

When he debuted on golf telecasts as an analyst in the 1990s, Miller was a breath of fresh air, unafraid to call it as he saw it. Miller even had the gumption to toss around the word "choke" and apply it to specific players. Many golf fans and professional golfers came to love Miller's broadcasting; but many also came to dislike it, believing Miller to be too blunt. He also had a penchant for talking up his own golf achievements.

Those who know Miller only as a broadcaster are missing the knowledge of what a truly great golfer he was in his prime.

Miller grew up in San Francisco and won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, then had a successful college career at Brigham Young University. As a 19-year-old amateur, Miller finished eighth at the 1966 U.S. Open. He turned pro in 1969.

He'd won twice on the PGA Tour when, at the 1973 U.S. Open, he produced one of the best rounds of golf ever played. Miller's final-round 63 led him to the first of his two major championships. Coming on the brutal Oakmont Country Club layout, and in the final round, and producing a victory, that round is ranked by many the greatest in the history of golf.

In 1974, Miller won eight tournaments, the money title and the Player of the Year award. He won four more times in 1975.

Miller also won the 1976 British Open.

The World Golf Hall of Fame says: "In golf's modern era, it's commonly understood that no player has ever achieved the brief but memorable brilliance of Johnny Miller. ... (In 1974-75) Miller hit the ball consistently closer to the flag than any player in history. At his best, Miller's game was marked by incredibly aggressive and equally accurate iron play."

During his playing days, Miller was sometimes called "The Desert Fox" because so many of his wins came on the desert courses of Arizona and Southern California.

Miller's playing credentials would likely be even stronger had he not been plagued by a series of injuries and, later in his career, the yips. He overcame both for his final victory, the 1994 Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

In addition to his broadcasting, Miller owns a golf course design company, a golf academy, and has made numerous golf instructional videos. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1996.

Miller's broadcasting career as lead analyst on NBC Sports golf broadcasts began in 1990. He retired from broadcasting in 2019.

Quote, Unquote

Johnny Miller: "I didn't value enough what it was to be a champion. I didn't buy into the majors as much as I should have."

Johnny Miller: "Sometimes I think that when we get up in heaven, God's going to let everyone be 28, and there's going to be this great tournament."

Lanny Wadkins: "Johnny was the best I ever saw at hitting pure golf shots."

Lee Trevino on 1966 U.S. Open: "It was my first Open and I was running scared. But Johnny had some swagger, and he was already so good, it was like his forehead was stamped 'can't miss.' "


  • A golf urban legend holds that the golfer whose profile appears in the PGA Tour logo is Johnny Miller. This is not true. According to the PGA Tour, the logo is not based on any one player.
  • Miller's PGA Tour money title in 1974 is the only one from 1971 to 1980 not won by Jack Nicklaus or Tom Watson.

List of Miller's Tour Wins

Miller's 25 wins on the PGA Tour, in chronological order:

  • 1971 Southern Open Invitational
  • 1972 Sea Pines Heritage Classic
  • 1973 U.S. Open
  • 1974 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
  • 1974 Phoenix Open
  • 1974 Dean Martin Tucson Open
  • 1974 Sea Pines Heritage Classic
  • 1974 Tournament of Champions
  • 1974 Westchester Classic
  • 1974 World Open Golf Championship
  • 1974 Kaiser International Open Invitational
  • 1975 Phoenix Open
  • 1975 Dean Martin Tucson Open
  • 1975 Bob Hope Desert Classic
  • 1975 Kaiser International Open Invitational
  • 1976 NBC Tucson Open
  • 1976 Bob Hope Desert Classic
  • 1976 The Open Championship
  • 1980 Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic
  • 1981 Joe Garagiola-Tucson Open
  • 1981 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open
  • 1982 Andy Williams San Diego Open
  • 1983 Honda Inverrary Classic
  • 1987 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Miller also won once on the Japan Tour at the 1974 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament.