Johnny Miller's golf game more mental than physical

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There may be better golfers around than Johnny Miller, whose clean good looks have gotten him a number of TV clothes commercials, but the bottom line is what Miller has been consistently able to do with his game under pressure. One of his trademarks over the years has been turning adverse conditions into positive situations, usually with a flick of one of his irons.

With Miller, who won this year's $300,000 San Diego Open by one stroke over Jack Nicklaus, every shot is first played in his head. Call it total vision or whatever, John makes it work. In fact, if he could just come to a better understanding with his putter there's no telling what he might do.

''I like getting out in front and staying there,'' Miller told reporters in San Diego. ''Trying to hold a lead just seems to make me play better. I always expect a lot of myself, which is good, but at the same time I try not to let myself get too high or too low emotionally.''

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Miller, who writes notes to himself on old envelopes that he later refers to out on the course, has always been more of a mental player than a physical one. Instead of blasting his way through difficult situations, he almost always thinks himself through with the help of a short game that seems to come straight out of a computer.

In San Diego, John shot an 18-under-par 270, including a 54-hole total of 200 to tie a tournament record held jointly by J. C. Snead and Tom Watson.

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