ERIN, Wis. — On Saturday of the 117th U.S. Open, Justin Thomas broke Johnny Miller’s long-standing record of lowest score relative to par at a U.S. Open by shooting a nine-under 63.
Thomas eagled the par-5 18th at Erin Hills, cementing his place in history.
Miller did not immediately respond to GOLF.com’s request for comment, but did let his thoughts be known on the historic feat accomplished by the 24-year-old. He was on site at Erin Hills Saturday for a sponsor obligation and watched the drama unfold.
“Taking nothing away from nine under par. Nine under is incredible with U.S. Open pressure,” Miller told Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner. “But it isn’t a U.S. Open course that I’m familiar with the way it was set up.”
Miller famously set the record at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, and it has stood ever since.
Much has been said about how Erin Hills has been setup this week, yielding lower scores than anticipated. Rain Friday night softened the course for Saturday, and winds have been manageable, leaving it up to the USGA to tweak the course as they see fit.
Miller continued: “It looks like a PGA Tour event course setup. I’m not sure where the days of the 24- to 29-yard-wide fairways that we played every time went. It’s interesting to see where the USGA has gone with the U.S. Open, being a little more friendly than in years’ past.”
Miller defended his 63 at Oakmont by saying that it was in the final round and it helped him win by one. He also added that “Erin Hills isn’t exactly Oakmont.” He thinks the conditions set players up perfectly to score the way they did.
“The course wasn’t designed to be soft, and if it was going to be soft, it should have been 26- or 27-yard-wide fairways,” Miller said. “It was never that way in the U.S. Open. It was always about really tight fairways and having to be a great driver. This went totally against the tradition of the U.S. Open.”
“A 63 for a par 72 is a heck of a score,” Miller said. “Even if it was the Milwaukee Open.”