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TIME SHARE

Jan. 16, 2012
Jan. 16, 2012

Table of Contents
Jan. 16, 2012

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP
NFL PLAYOFFS: AFC
NFL PLAYOFFS: NFC
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
POP HERRING
POINT AFTER
Departments

TIME SHARE

Johnny and Sir Nick together are certainly entertaining, but many of us also want an education

The smartest thing producer Frank Chirkinian did at CBS was hire knowledgeable golf people with contrasting backgrounds. Ken Venturi won a U.S. Open. Jim Nantz played with Fred Couples at Houston. Peter Kostis was an in-the-dirt teaching pro. We viewers want to know the origins of the sudden push-slice, the options from behind a swaying palm and what the poor bastard is thinking, and each guy had his own road there.

This is an article from the Jan. 16, 2012 issue

Last week, the expert-witness idea was super-sized. Did you catch the übercasual Johnny Miller and tight-knotted Nick Faldo in the broadcast booth together from Kapalua? It's the best yin-and-yang golf pairing since the Tiger-Fluff marriage in 1996, the Rev. Butch Harmon presiding. Faldo and Miller will have about a dozen gigs together before this new year goes auld-lang-syne, a function of the Comcast-NBC merger.

When Faldo and Paul Azinger sat blazer-to-blazer in a too brief ABC Sports experiment, it worked because the differences between the two Ryder Cup warhorses and contemporaries were so subtle. Faldo fished for trout and Azinger for bass. Oh, did the sparks fly.

But the thing about Miller and Faldo is that they are two Hall of Famers who are true opposites. Their playing primes didn't overlap. Wherever Miller goes, he's still Johnny, even at age 64. Faldo, 54, likes being called Sir Nick. Miller, despite the efforts of various directors, has never been able to shake his cool, Northern California, inflection-challenged tone. Faldo's voice betrays his boyhood in a striving, working-class English home. For maybe seven years Miller, a golfing savant, hit the ball with scary precision with fast-twitch hips and hands. Faldo, a golfing scientist with a big, slow, shoulder swing, hit pure straight shots for 15 years.

The mistake is to want these two to be entertaining. How crude. Residents of golfdom don't want to be "entertained." We want to learn something new, and Miller and Faldo, working together, are in a position to teach. They're living proof that there's never only one way to go: to make a swing, to think about a shot, to get your head straight after making a double. The more time you spend at golf, the more complicated you realize it is. That's part of the beauty. This new duo will give Tour players even more reason to hit the mute button; those guys are trying to simplify golf. The rest of us are trying to understand it. All Johnny and Sir Nick have to do is be themselves.

GOLF PLUS will next appear in the Feb. 6 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

SI GOLF RANKING

View this article in the original magazine

RANKPLAYER (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)POINTSLST. WK.
1.Luke Donald (12)1471
2.Rory McIlroy (3)1372
3.Lee Westwood1074
4.Webb Simpson913
5.Charl Schwartzel785
6.Steve Stricker51
7.Keegan Bradley486
8.Nick Watney398
9.Martin Kaymer329
9.Adam Scott327

GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL

What did you think of the Johnny-Nick pairing?

Loved it 27%

Hated it 17%

Don't care 56%

PHOTOERIC RISBERG/AP (MILLER AND FALDO)THE ODD COUPLE Golf Channel stablemates Miller (left) and Faldo differ in age, origin and style.