Johnny Miller’s epic broadcasting career ended when NBC Sports’ third-round coverage of the raucous Waste Management Phoenix Open concluded Saturday.
Miller manned the 18th tower for NBC for 29 years and had an inimitable, no-holds-barred broadcasting style that earned respect and disdain from PGA Tour players, fans and media.
The same could be said for his design work at Las Vegas’ Badlands Golf Club, which opened in 1995 and immediately became known as one of the most intimidating layouts in Southern Nevada. Through no fault of Miller, Badlands was closed controversially in 2016 and remains shuttered as litigation continues among property owners, surrounding homeowners and the Las Vegas City Council.
Upon its opening, Miller told me Badlands was like an “E-Ticket ride at Disneyland” and that he was enamored with the topography of the land where the course was built. The rugged terrain and various target holes combined to exasperate many golfers, but also made a round at Badlands unforgettable.
Miller is a spiritual person who loves the outdoors. That side of him shined through during the Badlands’ design phase when he said the land spoke to him and helped guide hole routing.
“Thousands of years of watershed runoff from the mountains created a wonderful canvas for our course design,” Miller said. “With this natural landscape, we are able to route most of the holes along the natural cliffs and through the small gorges and depressions of the property. Clearly, the finished ‘painting’ is something very special.”
Eric Dutt, Reflection Bay Golf Club’s manager of operations, served a similar role at the Badlands and worked with Miller before and after the course opened.
“From my interactions, I think there were probably a lot of misconceptions about him because of his blunt broadcasting style,” Dutt said. “He was always very cordial, pleasant and accommodating to me and the staff. The public maybe didn’t always see that side of him during a broadcast.
“What always fascinated me about Miller is not only was he a great player who had the ability to score as low as anyone, which is an art in itself, but he was also a great broadcaster and course designer. He was among the best in each category, and not too many can say that.”
Harmon is Hall of Fame material
Golf Digest has started a petition at Change.org to get Las Vegas resident Butch Harmon inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Harmon operates his school at Rio Secco in Henderson.
Harmon’s legacy, which includes working with Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson, Natalie Gulbis and many others, grew last weekend when Dustin Johnson won the European Tour’s Saudi International and Rickie Fowler won the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Harmon coaches both players, who are ranked among the top 10 in the world.
An annual pass at Revere breaks down to $500 per month ($791 for couples) and includes unlimited green and cart fees.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.
Saturday: Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame SNJGA Tournament of Champions, Las Vegas National
Saturday, Sunday: SNGA Primm Valley Amateur, Primm Valley
Monday: UNLV men, Genesis Open Showcase, Los Angeles
Monday, Tuesday: UNLV women, Battle at Boulder Creek, Boulder Creek
Feb. 16, 17: SNJGA Championship, Stallion Mountain
Feb. 17: Golf Channel Call of the Wolf, Paiute
Feb. 18: WSNGA Team Play, Chimera
Feb. 18, 19: UNLV women, the Rebel Beach, Spanish Trail
Feb. 21: SNGA Tour, Royal Links
Feb. 21-23: UNLV men, John Burns Collegiate, Hawaii
Feb. 25, 26: UNLV women, Golf Rush, California
March 3-5: UNLV men, Southern Highlands Collegiate, Southern Highlands
March 4: WSNGA Team Play, Las Vegas Golf Club
March 8, 9: UNLV men, Jackrabbit Invitational, Boulder Creek
March 9, 10: SNGA Championship, Golf Summerlin
March 11, 12: UNLV women, Wildcat Invitational, Arizona
March 16, 17: IMG Junior World qualifier (15-18), Mountain Falls
March 18, 19: UNLV men, NIT, Arizona
March 19: SNGA Tour, Painted Desert
March 22-24: UNLV women, Mountain View Invitational, Arizona
March 25: WSNGA Team Play, Red Rock
March 29, 30: UNLV men, the Goodwin, California
April 3: WSNGA Desert Willow Invitational, Desert Willow
April 7-9: UNLV women, Silverado Showdown, California
April 12, 13: UNLV men, the Thunderbird, Arizona
April 15: UNLV Football Foundation golf event, Spanish Trail
April 17, 18: IMG Junior World qualifier (9-14), Boulder Creek
What: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
When: Thursday, Friday, noon-3 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10-11:45 a.m. (Golf Channel), noon-3 p.m. (KLAS-8). Sunday, 10-11:45 a.m. (Golf Channel), noon-3:30 p.m. (KLAS-8).
Where: Pebble Beach GL, Spyglass Hill GC, Monterey Peninsula GC-Shore, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Defending champion: Ted Potter Jr.
What: ISPS Handa Vic Open.
When: Wednesday, Thursday, 8-11 p.m. (Golf Channel). Friday, 6 p.m.-midnight (Golf Channel). Saturday, 5-11 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: 13th Beach Golf Links, Geelong, Australia.
Defending champion: Minjee Lee.
PGA Tour Champions
What: Oasis Championship.
When: Friday, 9-11:30 a.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, noon-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: The Old Course at Broken Sound, Boca Raton, Fla.
Defending champion: Mark Calcavecchia.