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Johnny, Be Good
Tim Rosaforte
April 08, 1996
Players consider taking action to protest negative remarks by Miller, Parry peeved, New toy on Tour
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April 08, 1996

Johnny, Be Good

Players consider taking action to protest negative remarks by Miller, Parry peeved, New toy on Tour

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Extra Effort

In Baseball hit .364 lifetime and you're a lock for the Hall of Fame. In golf, put up that kind of winning percentage in sudden-death playoffs-as Greg Norman has (4 for 11)-and people will deduce that you're a lousy closer. Here are the best and worst playoff records of active players (minimum of three appearances).

BEST

Jay Haas

3-0

1.000

Vijay Singh

3-0

1.000

Hollis Stacy

6-1

.857

Lou Graham

3-1

.750

Sandy Lyle

3-1

.750

Nick Faldo

10-4*

.714

Tom Watson

8-4

.667

Tom Kite

6-3

.667

Bruce Lietzke

6-3

.667

Curtis Strange

6-3

.667

Julie Inkster

4-2

.667

Sam Torrance

4-2

.667

Dave Hill

5-3

.625

J.C. Snead

5-3

.625

WORST

Ben Crenshaw

0-8

.000

Tommy Aaron

0-6

.000

Colin Montgomerie

0-5*

.000

Jim Albus

0-3

.000

Mark Calcavecchia

0-3

.000

Laura Davies

0-3

.000

Alice Ritzman

0-3

.000

Jeff Sluman

0-3

.000

Dave Stockton

0-3

.000

Johnny Miller

1-5

.167

Bruce Crampton

1-4

.200

Billy Mayfair

1-4

.200

Kathy Postlewait

1-4

.200

Bob Charles

2-6

.250

Peter Jacobsen

1-3

.250

Davis Love III

1-3

.250

Scott Simpson

1-3

.250

*Includes European tour

Call It the Johnny Miller double: Last week the NBC analyst could claim to be both the No. 1 reason that his network has been nominated for an Emmy for its golf coverage, and public enemy No. 1 among Tour players. The latter distinction was confirmed during a players-only meeting at the Players Championship when, after Greg Norman complained about Miller, the players discussed closing the locker room to the media.

How such a lockout would affect Miller, who makes it a point to avoid the dressing room, is unclear, but obviously the players feel that something must be done about what they perceive as negative coverage by the media in general and Miller in particular. Norman and other players cited Miller's comments during the Honda Classic and the Freeport McDermott Classic as examples. At the Honda, Miller, referring to corpulent winner Tim Herron, said that "fat guys don't choke." At New Orleans, Miller joked that a rash of first-time winners had created "the NBC Hooters tour" and spent, in the opinion of some of the players at the meeting, too much time dwelling on Tom Watson's putting problems.

Miller says the players, who left the locker room question unresolved, are mistaken if they think their gripes will make him change his style. "If being accurate and expressing my views of what I just saw comes out negative, so be it," says Miller, who recently signed a new five-year contract with NBC. "They're the ones who hit the bad shots. I praise 'em when they're good, and I have to be accurate when they're bad. The viewer wants to know if a golfer screwed up. What's good for the game is to be upright and frank."

Although NBC must walk a fine line between its business relationship with the Tour—the network has contracted to broadcast six Tour events a year through 1998—and objective tournament coverage, Dick Ebersol, NBC's president for sports, is Miller's strongest supporter. "Golfers are probably, as a group, among the brightest in dealing with the media," he says, "but Johnny has been a whole new experience for them. He may not be popular in the locker room, but he is in the living room."

No Aussies Needed

Craig Parry thinks the lords of Augusta have something against Australians. How else to explain his exclusion from the field of next week's Masters? "They just don't seem to recognize golf in Australia," says Parry, who led the Australian tour's 1995 money list and won this year's Australian Masters.

The Masters makes provisions for international players who might not otherwise qualify by extending a small number of invitations. This year six nonexempt foreign players were invited. Parry, who has played in four Masters and led the '92 event after three rounds, was not among them. "No Australians are invited," he says, "but it's not just the Masters. I don't get invited to the U.S. Open, either."

Foreign Legions

If you think foreign players are dominating the LPGA now, wait a couple of years: The stream of international players is likely to turn into a torrent. Already U.S. college teams are looking like the United Nations. Consider UCLA and San Jose State, the first-and second-ranked teams, respectively, in the country. Three of the four Americans starting for the Bruins were born in Korea. They are joined in the lineup by a Frenchwoman. The Spartans start a Swede, a Dane, a Scot, a Norwegian and a lone American. The collegiate individual rankings are also bereft of native-born Americans. Seven of the top eight players were born in other countries.

"They are better than we are, flat-out better," says Mark Gale, San Jose State's coach, who prefers foreigners because he thinks kids in the U.S. are coddled. "A lot of Americans play well in their own environments, with Mom and Dad watching," says Gale. "But when they get away, they tend to not be so mature. I like the foreigners because of their high maturity levels. They travel so far to play, and that shows they have no doubt about what they can and want to do."

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