JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The problem with television is that Johnny Miller doesn't have enough time to tell you what he really thinks. That's one reason he wrote, "I Call The Shots."
Among his opinions in the book: Tiger Woods at his best was better than Jack Nicklaus, but Woods won't reach Nicklaus' benchmark of 18 professional majors.
"When he came on tour, I said he would win 12 majors and 50 tournaments, and all the players said I was a raving idiot," Miller said Monday in New York. "Now he's got eight majors and 40 wins, so 50 is going to be way conservative.
"But majors ... let's say he's got 10 more years. That's a major every year to tie Jack. And that's not factoring in a back injury. It's going to be hard for him break that."
Woods, 28, has gone the last seven majors without winning. Nicklaus went through a dry spell of 12 majors at about the same stage in his career.
Miller believes the early dominance by Woods will hurt him. Along with four straight majors, Woods won seven out of 11 from the '99 Championship through the '02 U.S. Open.
"He had four majors sitting on his table," Miller said. "It's not good to bunch them up. I'm afraid those four major wins in a row gave him a real big dose of Johnny Miller and David Duval."
Miller felt he was the greatest player in golf during a short span in the 1970s, when he won 15 times and two majors in three years, routinely firing at the flags and winning big. He was 12-2 with a 54-hole lead early in his career, and won 74 percent of time over his career with the lead going into the last round.
Duval won 11 of 34 tournaments during one stretch through 1999, cooled off significantly while battling injuries, then went into a tailspin after winning the British Open in 2001.
Among the reasons Miller thinks Woods will fall short of 18 majors:
- "He's an old 28," Miller writes in his book. He says that child prodigies often age faster, and that Woods might be in his prime now.
- Family life. "Tiger has tremendous energy toward the game, but that was prior to now branching off into boating, fly fishing, snorkeling and falling in love," Miller said. "Now this 100 percent energy in the game is 80 to 90 percent."
- Health. Woods missed six weeks last year recovering from knee surgery. Miller says Woods is especially prone to injury because of his tremendous body speed.
- How he reacts to the inevitable slump.
Miller says his edge was gone in 1975, when he began spending more time working on his ranch in Utah. He became more muscular, lost flexibility and lost his touch. The first thing to go was his driving. Miller went three years without winning and was never dominant again.
"Tiger may be too well-schooled to suffer a slump of that proportion," Miller writes. "In any case, it's bound to happen, and there's no telling for sure how he'll react to the frustration, the self-doubt and persistent questions from the media."
Miller said Woods' best golf is behind him.
"People say he'll play his greatest from 28 to 38," he said. "I totally disagree."
Miller now works as an analyst for NBC Sports, where he routinely irks players with his candor. He believes one of his contributions to golf broadcasting is his willingness to introduce the word "choke."
"When I hang up my microphone, that will probably be my legacy," he said.
His blunt style was developed early. Miller said he played with a group of guys when he was growing up at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, and they held nothing back.
"It was like 12 Dennis Millers out there," he said. "I was trained to be very forthright. There were a lot of needles given, and we were all honest, whether it was a great shot or we were choking. There was very little middle ground, and that's close to where I am now."
He touches on a variety of subjects in his book, from Annika Sorenstam's playing against men at Colonial (he thinks she could finish in the top 130 on the PGA Tour money list given a full season) to the PGA Tour being a closed shop (he thinks only the top 100 on the money list should keep their cards).
He also offers a few predictions over the next 20 years: the first 59 in a major championship, the Presidents Cup merging with the Ryder Cup, and a player better than Tiger Woods.
"But this player, though clearly the best, will not dominate the game the way Tiger has," Miller writes. "The competition will be too good."
The book, which went on sale Monday, was written with Guy Yocom of Golf Digest magazine.
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