Roger Maltbie: Yeah, John, about that. It’s got a little movement but I’m not sure he has to get it outside of the hole. Shotlink says it’s 13 feet, 9 inches.
Johnny Miller: Folks, it’s worth noting that this guy hasn’t missed a putt inside of 14 feet this week. You wanna know how good that is? Since the Tour has been tracking stats over the past two decades – that’s never been done.
Gary Koch: Johnny, the interesting thing is that he claims that he’s never worked with a putting coach, never had a putting lesson before in his life. What we’ve seen through 71 holes this week will probably never be duplicated ever again.
Johnny Miller: Yeah, Gary… the other interesting thing is that Phil Mickelson finished two hours ago and is actually following him in the gallery. I guess you could call that a little Lefty Love? (Laughing)
Mark Rolfing: Guys, I will tell you that he and his caddy were talking coming up the fairway, and he had no idea that he had a 1-stroke lead coming into the final hole. I saw him look over at the leaderboard and the color left his face, he got very pale. Not sure what that means, but I did find it interesting.
Johnny Miller: Well, I don’t know how nervous he is, but he’s starting to slow down quite a bit, Raj. It’s taking him forever to get a handle on this 14 footer, and all he needs is 2 putts to win. Heck, maybe he’s trying to make it?
Roger Maltbie: Yeah, maybe John. Then again – maybe the reality of the situation is finally hitting him. This is a big putt coming up, the biggest putt of his life.
Johnny Miller: This is a game-changer, Roger. If he can get down in 2 – he’ll be the biggest story in golf in the past 30 years. I don’t blame him for taking his time, certainly the putt of his life.
(I finally address the ball, take one more look at the hole, and then carelessly stub the green with my putter right before I stroke the ball, leaving it 5 feet short…)
Johnny Miller: Wow! You called that one, Mark. Folks, that was all nerves… that’s about as pure a choke job is you’ll ever see on TV, or anywhere for that matter.
Roger Maltbie: Yeah, not his best moment. And I can tell you that from my angle – he came very close to double-hitting the ball. We’re talking close enough to have a review.
Johnny Miller: Well, let’s take a look at the replay here. Here you can see that he takes the putter back nice and smooth, and then he gets all herky-jerky and right there – about 2 inches before he impacts the ball – you can see where the sole of his putter made contact with the ground. It wasn’t a double-hit, but it was darn close, Raj.
Gary Koch: And now he’s still got 5 feet remaining for his par and the outright win, and this isn’t an easy putt, Johnny. It’s left edge, but the pace has to be perfect. We’ve seen a lot of players overplay this break from this angle, and the reason is because it looks a little uphill. It’s a level putt, and this one has fooled a lot of players today.
Johnny Miller: Well, one thing is for certain – he’s not wasting any time now. Let’s see if he can make a good stroke here and cash the biggest check of his life…
(I hammer the putt some 4 feet by the hole, never scaring the left edge…)
Roger Maltbie: I can tell you that Phil Mickelson just left the gallery and is heading to the practice green – looks like a pair of Lefty’s headed to sudden death!
Johnny Miller: That’s assuming that he can make this 4 footer, Raj. Folks, this is what happens when the nerves take over – you become paralyzed. What you see and what you feel are on two completely different wavelengths, and what this really means is that you’ve lost your feel. When you lose your feel, you lose control of your nerves. It’s like a gag reflex, and that’s why we call it choking, because that’s what it is. It ended Hogan’s career, it ended Watson’s career, and as bad as I hate to say it – it got the best of me too. It’s a bad way to go out, for sure.
Gary Koch: Well, Johnny… I guess we can throw out that “hasn’t missed inside of 14 feet” stat this week.
Johnny Miller: We might need to add a stat, Gary – hasn’t made one from inside 4 feet this week. Hope not, he’s played very well this week. You hate to see all that hard work go down the drain like this….
And then I wake up in a cold sweat, hands are shaking, and my wife’s snoring quickly reminds me that it’s just a bad dream.
One of these nights I’m gonna make that 15 footer and put Johnny Miller in his place.