Wednesday

Kenny Perry's Plumb Bob & The Tao of Johnny Miller

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I first noticed Kenny Perry's predilection for the plumb bob a few months ago at the Travelers Championship.

It was a week after the water-logged U.S. Open, and Kenny was killing it with his Craz-E mallet. Ultimately, he won with a 258, the lowest score in the tournament's 57 year history.

I've got to admit I was impressed... So I immediately adopted my own, made-up version of the technique, which relied heavily on guesswork and odds. Naturally it didn't help me, and that's the thing... there's quite a bit of debate on the effectiveness of plumb-bobbing... and exactly how to do it. Many experts don't even believe in it. And though it seemed to work just fine for Kenny Perry at the Travelers, it had failed him a couple of months earlier at The Masters. I mean... who could forget that disaster? Well, just in case you did, here's a snippet of Jason Sobel's Master's Live Blog from the 17th hole on Sunday (click to enlarge it if you dare):







I know, painful, right? So yes; its usefulness is debatable and some feel any help a golfer gets from it is simply for the fact that it's a confidence builder...a way to confirm a first impression.

Which brings us to Johnny Miller, the bombastic broadcaster and World Golf Hall of Fame member who seems to annoy the holy living crap out of everyone on the planet some people. His caustic commentary features the kind of hyperbole that produces frequent, collective eyerolling each Sunday. OK, so last weekend at East Lake, there was Mr. Perry, plumb-bobbing away, when the dogmatic Mr. Miller declared with his usual assurance, "He has no idea what he's doing with that plumb bob", and added smugly that he himself had learned to plumb bob from..."the guy who invented it."

Groans and eye-rolling ensue across the world, and at the same moment Kenny rolls his putt right into the center of the cup for birdie. Never at a loss for words Johnny quipped cheerfully, "Whatever he's doing it seems to be working for him".

And that my friends, is the Tao of Johnny Miller. He just says it... and doesn't much worry what it is. And lots of golf fans like him for that. Well maybe not lots, but he's definitely got his fans. Have a look at the Forums; they all seem to have at least one Johnny Miller topic, and a serpentine tangle of Johnny Miller threads, and yes you'll see, there are Miller admirers, but that said, you'll be left with no doubt about the passion of his detractors... and they're not afraid to articulate their opinion of the former golf great. A perfunctory "Johnny Miller is..." Google search yielded the following reactions. Be forewarned some of them are quite visceral:

a loud-mouth, gutless liar
a Tool
a complete jerk
a total loser
a very good golf announcer
a foul-mouthed person who assumes he knows everything
a horrible announcer
a divisive TV commentator
a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York
a jack-ass
a disgrace to golf and television announcing
a d1ck
a moron with barely a pulse
a stand-out when it comes to honest and knowledgeable commentary
a jealous, opinionated, self-serving announcer
a nice guy who was a good golfer
a bitter old fool
a know-it-all jerk
a total a$$hole

...among others. So there you have it, a plethora of opinions about a controversial personality. Of course I totally understand what it is people don't like about him, but I've got to admit I find him more entertaining than many of the other commentators and some of his quotes are priceless. My all-time favorite Millerism ... everyone has a favorite, right?... is: "He made a perfect putt but misread it" ...because I do that all the time, plumb bob or no plumb bob.

Photos: Kenny Perry/GolfGirlMedia ✿ Johnny Miller/Joey Terill via Golf Digest