Miller's retirement week at Waste Management includes Cheez Whiz story
February 01, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Johnny Miller and longtime broadcast partner, Dan Hicks, in the NBC Television booth. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Johnny Miller is retiring, and Cheez Whiz will never be the same.
Miller and his longtime broadcast partner, Dan Hicks, met the media Friday as they brace for the final telecast of Miller’s illustrious career at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Saturday. Miller reminisced about his 29 years in the broadcast booth and his illustrious playing career before that, but the atmosphere was one of raucous laughter more than tears.
Asked if there was a Miller quirk that he will miss after sitting next to the outspoken legend for the last three decades, Hicks didn’t hesitate. His answer: liquid cheese.
“If had to single out one thing that I think typifies Johnny is and it's going to sound crazy see but it's Cheez Whiz,” Hicks said. “Easy Cheese Whiz, there's a brand.”
The assembled media laughed uneasily as Miller, a World Golf Hall of Famer and eight-time Emmy nominee, nodded in agreement.
“So, Johnny would get in,” Hicks added. “I would look over there and he would have the nozzle of the Cheez Whiz thing implanted, basically mainlining cheese whiz like -- and I go, ‘You're actually sticking that in your mouth. The rest of us probably shouldn't be using this.’ So, our illustrious stage manager, Kathy, would actually put a piece of gaffer’s tape on it, on the Cheez Whiz bottle.”
Miller also did almost half of his 232 telecasts in bare feet, Hicks added. And Miller said his TV career almost last just a single day at the 1990 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
“I quit after the first day,” he said. “It was like, Holy mackerel, what have I got into? I'm not an announcer, I'm a player. They said, ‘It would be good if you could at least finish out the tournament, you know.’”
But it was the cheese whiz story that stole the show. Miller has about 20 friends and family members here this week, and many of them assembled at the NBC crew’s hotel Thursday night to toast the departure of a broadcast legend.
The twist: They raised cans of Cheez Whiz.
“This week has just been This Is Your Life,” Hicks said, “and we have been just kind of going over all the great memories of having Johnny at 18. But I would say cheese whiz is at the top of the list, believe it or not.”