Who’s the best golf analyst: Brandel Chamblee or Johnny Miller? That’s Debatable
In GOLF’s all-new series That’s Debatable, powered by Cisco WebEx, we’re settling some of golf’s most heated disputes. Our writers and editors have been seeded 1-16, battling head-to-head to determine whose takes are most on point.
For as long as golf TV punditry has roamed the earth (20 or so years), there have been two names at the center of the debate: Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee. The pair of analysts have earned their keep as two of the best, most reputable voices in the sport. But if you had to pick just one of the two, which one would you take?
In to answer that question in this edition of That’s Debatable are two of GOLF’s own firebreathers: 8-seed Jonathan Wall and 11-seed Alan Bastable. In true golf TV fashion, you can watch their debate above, or read their arguments below.
Johnny Miller (Wall)
1. He was the first to coin the phrases “fault lines,” “backboards” and “sideboards” to describe slopes and green tiers. On the shot front, it was “lean-and-squeeze-fades” and “Campbell’s Chunky.” Miller was always one step ahead in the creativity department.
2. He spent 30 years as an analyst for NBC’s golf coverage. In an industry where talking heads come and go at a furious clip, Miller had staying power.
3. Miller was never afraid to call players out for their decisions on the course, and even went so far as to utter the word “choke” on occasion. He always provided a fresh take and left the viewer wanting more.
4. The cache! Miller’s world-class resume includes two major titles, 25 PGA Tour wins and two Ryder Cup appearances. He’s been there before. Few in the industry could provide that kind of perspective.
5. The “Desert Fox” is one of the coolest nicknames in golf. The swagger was always there — whether he was in the booth or on the course.
Brandel Chamblee (Bastable)
1. HE’S PLAYING A DIFFERENT GAME. Johnny was excellent but comparing him to Chamblee is like comparing Bob Cousy to LeBron James. The analyst game has changed so much since Miller’s prime. Brandel doesn’t have the luxury of just launching a few missiles on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and then moving on to the next stop. He must defend his takes to the fire-breathing Twitter mob, with whom he’s never reluctant to engage. Analyzing golf today is a far more demanding gig than it has ever been.
2. HE’S FEARLESS. Chamblee has spoken his mind about virtually every big-name player from Tiger to Phil to Brooks — hell, Brandel has even gone toe-to-toe with Koepka’s father. As if that’s not enough, at least two former Masters champions, in Tiger and Patrick Reed, have threatened legal action against Chamblee. For what? Doing his job.
3. HE’S ULTRA-PREPARED. In prepping for his appearances, Chamblee pores over stats, interviews and old tournament footage like a detective hellbent on cracking a case. You can disagree with his takes but you can’t question the work he put in to arrive at them. Brandel’s also a renaissance man, well-read across many disciplines — he’s just as likely to reference DaVinci in a post-round analysis as he is DeChambeau.
4. HE’S ADDICTIVE. Whenever a big or controversial story breaks, fans want to know: What does Brandel think? Love him or loathe him, Chamblee’s opinions matter.
5. MILLER BUILT HIS REP ON A CALL HE NEVER MADE. Miller built much of his reputation upon calling Peter Jacobsen a choker, back in 1990. Thing is, Miller never actually said Jacobsen “choked.” He said that Jacobsen was in a situation where players could choke. Big difference!
Winner (by judge’s decision)
Brandel — erm…Bastable! Alan’s cut-out induced argument proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brandel is the premier take-crafter in golf media. Recency bias might have been afoot in judge Sean Zak’s decision, given Miller’s recent retirement as lead analyst for NBC golf. With the win, Bastable moves on to the semifinal round. Keep it locked on GOLF.com and @GOLF_com on social media to follow along as “That’s Debatable” continues every day at noon!