LOS ANGELES – Johnny Miller says this week’s US Open will be set for Sunday’s final round, with golfers Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Wyndham Clarke in contention for the major championship.
Here came Miller, a Hall of Fame golfer who became a popular golf commentator Accept the Bob Jones Award, the highest award given by the United States Golf Association. During a news conference, he spoke about what distinguished him as a broadcaster for nearly three decades.
“I thought that was the greatness of golf suffocation factor,” Miller said. “I don’t care if you’re playing for a milkshake or $5 for NASA or whatever. The great thing about golf is whether you can make it win, and to ignore that is to miss out on a huge part of golf.
“No one wants to talk about it.”
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Yet Miller talked a lot about the suffocation factor. Heading into the final round of the 123rd US Open is the perfect time to talk more about one of Miller’s favorite subjects.
Why Rickie Fowler Could Stumble in US Open Finals?
For Fowler, that’s good news, he says.
“I’m not afraid to fail,” he told reporters after his round Saturday. “I’m over it. We’re just going to have fun, try to continue to execute, leave it all out there and see where we stand at 18.”
Fowler isn’t afraid of failure, as he survived struggles last year that included losing his PGA Tour card. But as likable as Fowler is, there’s still the suffocation factor.
Fowler never won a major.
Worse, he has a history of near misses.
He tied for second at the 2014 US Open. Tied for second at the Championship Open in 2014. In 2014, he tied for third at the PGA Championship. Second at Masters in 2018.
How could anyone be shocked if Fowler went into the final holes still in contention to reverse to runner-up form?
And don’t forget when he missed a putt to within 15 feet on Saturday and made a bogey on the final hole to lose his one-stroke lead.
Why Rory McIlroy Could Stumble in US Open Finals
For McIlroy, the good news is what he says.
“I’m going out there to try to execute a game plan,” he told reporters after his round on Saturday, “and I feel like I executed that game plan pretty well the last three days. And I just need one more day.”
Of course, McIlroy has uttered some version of this several times over the course of nine years. It’s been a long time since he won his last major—the PGA Championship in 2014.
For the fifth year in a row, McIlroy will enter the final round of the US Open untied for seventh on the leaderboard. But did not succeed.
Two weeks ago at the Memorial, McIlroy entered the final round in a three-way tie with a 6-under lead. On Sunday he shot a 3-over 75 and finished in a tie for 7Th.
Why Wyndham Clarke Could Stumble in US Open Finals
For Clarke, that’s good news, he says.
“Honestly I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the challenge it’s going to bring,” he said, adding, “I hope this is my day.”
‘It’s a bit ridiculous’:US Open co-chairman Wyndham Clarke has been tearing up off the late tee
While his attitude was admirable, it just wasn’t his day.
Yes, he won his first PGA Tour event in May at the Wells Fargo Championship. But in the six major championships he played, his best finish was tied for 76Th — and he missed the cut at the 2023 PGA Championship.
Clarke, 29, has never played on such a big stage
And after a 1-under 69 on Saturday, he was refreshingly honest in his criticism of the late tee times. But please name the last player who complained about tee times the night before winning their first major.
What if they all choke in the final round of the US Open?
If Fowler, Mcllroy and Clark are all under pressure, this will be interesting.
Scottie Scheffler, three shots off the lead at 7-under, won the 2022 Masters with a three-shot victory over McIlroy and is currently the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world.
And on Saturday he finished with a 2-under 68 with an eagle and a birdie. The rear bores had clutch vibration.
If Scheffler chokes, there’s always Dustin Johnson, who has a five-shot lead. He won the 2016 US Open and the 2020 Masters and finished second in three other majors.
All of these players might want to channel their inner Johnny Miller, as this is the 50-year anniversary of his final-round 63 at the 1973 US Open. In one of the greatest rounds in golf history, Miller surpassed the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino to claim a one-stroke victory over John Schlee.
He also hit the Choke Packer.