NBC says goodbye to U.S. Open coverage


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PINEHURST, N.C. -- Johnny Miller choked back tears. Dan Hicks shook his hand and thanked him for "a great ride."

With that, NBC's 20-year run of televising the U.S. Open was over.

A handshake, those held-back tears and a highlight montage marked the end of the network's final broadcast -- for another 13 years, at least -- of golf's national championship.

NBC had televised the U.S. Open every year since 1995 at Shinnecock Hills with the love-him-or-hate-him Miller as its lead analyst. The U.S. Golf Association's 12-year deal with Fox Sports begins next year.

Martin Kaymer's daylong dominance meant the only question left unanswered was how NBC would handle its farewell.

After the trophy presentation, the network cut to Hicks and Miller -- the 1973 U.S. Open winner at Oakmont Country Club -- for some brief analysis of the German player's performance. Then, it was time to say goodbye.

Calling the tournament "the highlight of my career," Hicks said he "had the best seat in the house with the best analyst that has ever done this game."

"I believe there's a time and a season for everything," Miller said. "There have been a lot of great memories, lot of great champions, lot of great moments, and I've had my share."

Under a deal that runs through 2026, Fox takes over next year at Chambers Bay outside Seattle with Joe Buck doing play-by-play and Greg Norman filling Miller's role as chief analyst.

Ace for Zach

Zach Johnson watched the ball drop into the ninth hole, flipped his club in the air then ran around high-fiving fans. Managing an ace in the U.S. Open deserved a good celebration. His shot landed about 20 feet left of the flag on the 172-yard hole, bounced twice, then curled down a ridge into the cup. It was the 44th ace in Open history and the third consecutive year that a player had a hole in one.

Amateur sparkles

Matthew Fitzpatrick, 19, of England completed his final event as an amateur with a bit of history. He had a 1-under 69 in the final round and was the only amateur to make the cut. That made him the first to hold the title of low amateur at the U.S. Open and British Open at the same time since Bobby Jones in 1930. The reigning U.S. Amateur champion finished the U.S. Open at 11 over and will make his pro debut next week in the Irish Open.

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