Johnny Miller believes Tiger Woods fears embarrassing himself

Written By Alec Brzezinski

NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller made his presence known during a teleconference on Thursday, when he called out some of golf's biggest stars.

Miller was particularly hard on Tiger Woods, who has not played on the PGA Tour since August and had two back surgeries last fall.

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It appears likely Woods will make his first tournament appearance at the Memorial, which begins June 2. That would be two weeks before the U.S. Open begins at Oakmont, outside Pittsburgh.

Miller believes when Woods comes back it might not be his swing that needs the most damage control. It might be his confidence.

"In the back of his mind [Woods] is thinking, 'I might really embarrass myself,' " Miller said via Golf.com.

"If I gave him any advice," Miller said, "when he comes back, he should say 'I've been working really hard on my golf and it feels good in practice, but I really can't tell what I'm going to do when I tee it up. I hope to just make some cuts and build from there and see if I can get my game inching back to where it used to be,' instead of, 'I came here to win.' I really think that that puts too much expectation on him.

"If he could just go the other direction, which is not in his makeup, by the way, but it would be good just to say he makes the cut, tries to do well on the weekend, and like I said, build and get your confidence back. Because going that other route sounds heroic, but it's just so much pressure."

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Miller also recollects the chipping woes Woods endured during last year's west coast swing, resulting in shocking shots by Woods, 14-time major winner.

"When you get the chipping yips it's sort of like always in the back of your mind, 'Oh, I hope I don't skull it or chunk it,' " Miller said. "There's a lot going on in his head, and he's so darned smart that he never forgets all the great things he does, but conversely, he never forgets all the things he does poorly."

Woods does not have a timetable for his return, but the Memorial — Jack Nicklaus's event — could be his first destination as he tunes his game for the U.S. Open.

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