Dan Hicks on NBC losing U.S. Open: ‘A kick to the stomach’; Will Miller retire?

Earlier today, I posted my Chicago Tribune column on Dan Hicks taking over as NBC’s voice for Notre Dame football.

Here are some more excerpts from my interview:

How do you feel about NBC losing the U.S. Open to Fox?

I was shocked. I’ll be honest with you. It was a kick to the stomach. It’s a business. I know that. I knew the USGA was going to take it out to market. It was the right thing to do.

But it is tough to take. The U.S. Open gets in your blood. It becomes a part of who you are. I’m still coming to terms with knowing that next year will be our last U.S. Open. I probably won’t absorb it until 2015 when we’re on the outside looking in. It’s going to be tough.

I feel worse for (Johnny Miller) than anyone. He gives so much emotion to that championship. After I talked to (producer Tommy Roy), I called Johnny. You could hear the emotion in his voice.

Miller will be 67 next year. Is there any chance he does one final Open in 2014 and rides off into the sunset?

I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think Johnny is too good to just walk away because we’re not doing the Open anymore. He still wants to do some golf. Our team is tight. If the crew was breaking up, then I could see him leaving.

We still a lot of good golf at NBC; the Florida swing; the Players; the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. I think Johnny will want to be part of that.

How did the Notre Dame job come about for you?

I missed doing football. When I first got to NBC, I did 50-60 NFL games (in the 90s). I did express some interest. Any play-by-play guy wants to be at the games. I didn’t want to look back on my career and say, “Boy, I think I could have done more.”

When the Notre Dame announcement was made, there was some speculation NBC is making you the heir apparent to Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football. Michaels is 68.

Al is the best football play-by-play announcer in history. I’m not saying that because we work at the same network. I’ve always believed that.

The speculation is beyond flattering, but Al is as good as he’s ever been. You never know how things will change–certainly learned that when we lost the USGA rights. But Al isn’t going anywhere.



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