COVER STORY: A QUICK Q&A WITH JOHNNY MILLER
YOU HAVE LIVED NEAR AND PLAYED THE
SILVERADO COURSES FOR MANY YEARS...
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES OF PLAYING HERE?
Probably, my fondest is the first time I played
in the Anheuser Busch/Kaiser International in
1968 as an amateur. I was in 2nd place when
they rained it out. They played it during the
winter back then, and I remember the pro,
Craig Williamson gave me a new pair of Foot-joys. I guess mine weren’t looking too good.
Then my wife and I had the second part of
our honeymoon here after spending the first
part at Pebble Beach. It was so peaceful and
quiet, a great place to play golf and everything
was new back then.
In 1970 I started playing in the Kaiser as a
pro. Winning it in '74 and '75; In '74, I won it by
6 or 8 shots, which was great. I’d been living
there since 1970, so there was a lot of pressure,
but I knew the course better than anybody.
That was a heck of a year and a real treat to win
here two years in a row.
Then, my second senior event was at Silverado. My other great memories were playing golf
with my kids and my dad and catching a few
fish out here as well.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE PLAYING
They are really two different courses. The
South Course is a hilly course, with difficult
greens and it’s shorter. It has a lot of angles to
it, so you can make a lot of birdies if you can
hit good shots. That’s one of the reasons the
Senior Tour played the South Course I think;
it’s exciting and fun.
The North is more of a championship course.
You can hold the U.S. Open here now that I’ve
redesigned it and lengthened it. It’s more of a
flatter course. There’s a little bit of hill on 2, 3
and 4, but it’s an easy walking course,. Still, it’s
a real test of golf. North of San Francisco, it’s
the best course in the state now that we opened
it up a little bit and took some trees out.
ANY THOUGHTS OF BRINGING CHAMPION
SHIP GOLF BACK TO SILVERADO?
We’ve been in discussion with the LPGA, the
Champions Tour, the USGA and the men’s
tour. We’ve had some tournaments laid at our
feet and decided not to go down that road. We
can be picky because players will want to come
to Napa. The tournament is nice, but the wives
the families the friends will all want to come
to Napa. The food and wine is the best in the
country, maybe the world outside France. All
of the guys who played in the Kaiser want to
come back. We want the rooms to be ready,
even though we do have 100+ rooms that are all
really high quality, we want to get them all up
to the same level first.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NAPA
VALLEY PLACES TO DINE? WHY DO YOU
CHOOSE TO MAKE THIS AREA HOME?
I’m a part owner in Bistro Don Giovanni,
which is a fantastic restaurant. If I never ate
at another restaurant, I’d be happy. So Bistro,
Ad Hoc, Rutherford Grille, French Laundry,
in that order, would be my choice for eating
in Napa. I used to be thin until I owned Bistro
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