Johnny Miller: Justin Thomas' 63 not as good as mine

ERIN, Wisconsin — After carding a 9-under 63 in the third round of the U.S. Open, the lowest round to par in the 117-year history of the tournament, Justin Thomas was asked what he might say to Johnny Miller when he sees him.

You see, Miller also shot at 63 at the U.S. Open, in what is considered by some the greatest round of golf ever in major tournament. Miller’s 63 came in the final round of the 1973 Open at legendary Oakmont, annually ranked as one of the most difficult courses in the world. The course played to a par of 71 that day, meaning Miller was 8-under.

“I don’t know,” Thomas said when asked what he’d say to Miller, “but I’ll be pretty happy. That’s definitely for sure. I wish he was calling it just to hear what he would have said. Yeah, it’s a tremendous honor to tie him.”

Miller, who holds onto that 63 like Mercury Morris does the ’72 Dolphins perfect record, always has an opinion, which he shared with Golf Channel after Thomas’ round.

Justin Thomas is congratulated by his caddie after an eagle on 18 gave him a 9-under 63. (AP)

“Taking nothing away from 9-under par – 9-under is incredible with U.S. Open pressure,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “But it isn’t a U.S. Open course that I’m familiar with the way it was set up.”

While the scoring average at Erin Hills is actually one stroke over par, it has ceded some exceptionally low scores. There have been a pair of 65s, and Brian Harman holds the 54-hole lead at 12-under. Only twice has anyone finished that low in a U.S. Open.

Miller makes the further distinction, as one would expect he would, that his 63 came in the final round, with the trophy on the line.

“The greatness of my round is the 63 in the last round of the U.S. Open to win by one,” he told GolfChannel.com. “Everything else is way secondary. If somebody does it tomorrow to win the U.S. Open by one, that’s the specialness of my round. And secondly, Erin Hills isn’t exactly Oakmont.”