Carling Coffings Player Blog

By Carling NolanAugust 27, 2010, 10:26 pm

Winning the Big Break is a dream come true. These were the fastest two weeks of my life; all my memories are blurred from the excitement, nerves, exhaustion and pure joy that I experienced on the show. Now that it’s over let me tell you a few things about my experience that you didn’t get a chance to see! INSIDER SCOOP ALERT!

The Schedule

Although we were required to be fully dressed with microphone attached by 6:00 a.m., I decided to get up at 4:30 every single morning and work out. I was in the process of finishing the last two weeks of my 90 day P90X workout. I popped in my P90X video, and after getting yelled at by the DVD trainer for 30 minutes, I was ready to face anything! I don’t think any of us girls ever imagined how difficult it would be to work 15 hours a day filming while under enormous pressure. Being in the best shape of my life was a big key in merely handling the ridiculous schedule.

Socrates once said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” I realized that I would know nothing about what to expect and that I needed to go with the flow and enjoy the game. Because I never knew what was coming next, it was difficult for me to regulate my blood sugars. This added more pressure, but also additional inspiration. Not only was I representing myself and my beautiful family, but I gladly accepted responsibility to everyone with diabetes, or anyone with any handicap, to prove that we can achieve anything.

After having some blood sugar problems in the Shark episode, I decided I needed to make this as easy as possible for myself. So I ate great white grilled chicken and toast for every meal—for 2 weeks straight, no exceptions! I can’t even look at a chicken the same way anymore, because even the smell began to be foul! Thank goodness for my Medtronic’s Insulin pump. I call it “Hank the Panc,” because it acts just like a human pancreas. Ever since going on the pump, my blood sugars have been so much more manageable. Everyone else in the competition had to play by themselves with their backs against the wall, but I had Hank on my side.

Chasing the Dream

Everyone dreams of winning Big Break, but when I saw my fellow competitors, I realized that any one of the eleven of us could win. Over 700 women golfers tried out for the show! I kid you not. Each was filmed hitting balls on the range, and then each had to do an on-camera interview. Kudos to Golf Channel in picking a brilliant cast of 11 unique superstars. My first thought was, “Please don’t get kicked off the first episode!” My second thought was, “Please don’t get kicked off the first episode!”

Gaining the Competitive Edge

Not only have I had great coaches, but my parents have been training me since I was little. I was the youngest of three children. My two older brothers and I have been competing against each other for our entire lives. My parents have held contests for us since we crawled out of the crib, and we competed against each other in speech contests, dance contests, memory contests, push-up contests, sprint contests, long-drive contests and chipping and putting contests, constantly. My parents always gave away great prizes to the winner, and the losers got nothing! This was designed to teach us the rules of life. Competition is unavoidable, and pressure makes diamonds! The only rules strictly enforced in our competitions were that you had to be a good sport if you lost. Each of us soon learned that you were allowed and encouraged to play mind games with your competitors. After a few hard lessons learned by all, each child soon realized that letting others get in our heads or losing focus on the task at hand was the quickest way to lose.

Once I was ten years old (my brothers were 11 and 13), my mom dad and the three kids played golf every day. If the temperature in Ohio was over 32 degrees, we played. Playing golf in winter time in Ohio is great, because the ball rolls much further on the ice. Mom just cheered and held the flag, but the rest of us always divided up into teams and shouted, “Let the games begin.” It wasn’t fun in the Coffing family if someone wasn’t talking serious smack, and times were even more joyous if someone cracked under the pressure and cried (unless it was you). Our motto was, “Everyone gets teased!”

Fast Forward to Big Break

After surviving episode one, I was thrilled. It was in episode two where I won immunity! I haven’t had a jolt of adrenalin like that since I was seven years old and won a new color TV by doing 80 boy push-ups to beat my brothers in the push-up contest.

After episode two, Maiya asked me to be her alliance, and I said, “Sure!” Although realistically, I thought the whole alliance thing was pointless. Then I found out after she was kicked off that Maiya and Ryann had an alliance, too! Man oooo man! I love Maiya even more now, because she knew how to play the game! As we used to say in our family contests, “OK–so you want to play prison rules?” So from then on, the only alliance I would make for the remainder of the show was with Paul the Butler. He stocked the fridge, and I ate the chicken! Maiya made me realize again that this was a competition and that the only thing I could count on to pair up with were my shoes.

The Birdie Dance

We golfers are the luckiest people in the world, because we don’t have to get real jobs. I realize that golf is a very athletic sport, but it is also an entertainment business. Golf is nothing without the fans and that is who I play for. I love the traditions of golf but I also know that the game sometimes takes itself too seriously, and one of my goals is to change the way the fans participate in the game. I won’t play with a steel faced, 1,000-yard stare and merely give a short wave to the crowd after hearing their applause. I love getting the crowd involved, and that is why I invented the Birdie Dance.

So if you hit a 210-yard shot with a 30 mph crosswind to 12 feet, then it’s time to celebrate! I thoroughly love to be on the golf course, and I can’t wait to bring that charm and enthusiasm with me on the LPGA. The Birdie Dance is a great way to relax under pressure, Happy Gilmore-style! “ I’m just tryin’ to ease the tension, baby! Just tryin’ to ease the tension!” Since Big Break started, I have had people yelling at me even if I make a putt on the practice green to do the Birdie Dance. I love it.

My Putting

People keep asking me how I was able to make all of those long putts. If only I could bottle that power up and sell it on EBay! People ask me, “Are you just a natural?” Ohhhh that would make my life as a professional golfer a whole lot easier!Player Name: First | Last for the Final Stage of LPGA Q-School. We had two months to prepare, so my parents and I moved down to Florida and started our training process. My dad invented something simply called “The Drill Book.” It was a book of golf drills that includes driving range work, short game, trouble shots and most importantly, putting. It would take six hours to do all the drills, and we busted it out every day! My dad coached every aspect of my stroke, while my mom was responsible for getting the balls and keeping my stats in the book. After about three weeks, I wanted to BURN THAT DRILL BOOK! Have you ever seen the movie “Kill Bill”? Well, I wanted to Kill Drill! Seriously though, I stuck to it all winter. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite click at LPGA Q-School, and I missed my card by merely three strokes.

But lucky me—we filmed Big Break just a few weeks later. BAM! Hello The Drill Book success! My short game was finally reaping the benefits of all our hard work, and I couldn’t be happier that I never went all Pyro on the Book. But instead, to my surprise, I caught fire on the greens. Who doesn’t dream about dropping 30-foot putts to win matches? I can’t describe the thrill that exudes throughout your entire body when this dream happens on the most important putts of your entire life! No doubt I got lucky, because nobody drains three long putts to win on three shows in a row, but I have found the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get.

The Competition

How stiff was the competition? If they took the same cast of players and had 11 big breaks, then it is entirely possible that there would be 11 different winners. Each of us has been dreaming about making the LPGA since we were in pigtails. Did you know that the number one fear of mankind is speaking before a group? Death is number seventh on the list of fears. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “People would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. I knew that having ten cameras on us at all times would be more pressure than anyone had dealt with before. I knew that this would be my greatest competitive advantage. This was my ace in the hole. I can still remember my early days as a speaker. It was frightening beyond belief.

My father is one of the greatest speakers in the world. He travels the globe teaching others his thoughts on public speaking. The speaking world affectionately refers to my dad as “The Speech Doctor.” There is nothing he doesn’t know about this subject. My dad taught my brothers and I every aspect of speaking, and we would have family speech contests, where he and mom would judge us on 20 different criteria such as still feet, movement, breathing, light between your arms, slow motion gestures, downbeats, seven kinds of eye contact, vowel elongation and even how to remember up to 50 names of people you meet at an event. One of my brothers is even a director, writer and actor in New York. This is no surprise, because each of us was taught every aspect of camera work.

Finding Inspiration

But my dad was right. Speakers are made, not born, and after learning how to speak, I began to love it. I also love working behind the cameras and directing as well as being in front of the cameras and performing. That is why I became a communications broadcasting major at Ohio State. I worked for Jim Tressel at, where I interviewed players and coaches, and filmed games. I also did the sound, editing and producing of over 20 videos for the website. Seeing Jim Tressel lead world-class athletes to a National Championship taught me about teamwork and intensity. If watching Ohio State football doesn’t inspire you as an athlete, then you’re meant for something else.

The Eliminations.

I felt horrible for Elena who was kicked off first. She is an absolutely stunning beauty who has an incredible faith, and her positive attitude and determination to win every golf tournament is quite intimidating. The next person to go home was Kelly. Although I had never played against Kelly in competition, she is a living legend as a swing coach in Florida. I would be honored to work with her as my coach any day, and I can’t tell you how much each of us girls respected her abilities and golf knowledge.

Maiya was next to go. I really enjoyed her friendship. She not only knew how to cleverly play the game, but she has nerves of steel. She didn’t even flinch during the first elimination with Elena and was barely edged out by Ryann. This was a big win for Ryann, but also a setback for Ryann, because now the alliance had been broken.

Stacy was next on the chopping block. I have had the pleasure of playing with Stacy many times, and getting to know her has been wonderful. She is also one of the most pure women I have ever met. You will not find a person more dedicated to her faith, and she not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk. Ryann shocked the world when she was eliminated next. Ryann can drive the ball 300 yards and pick off a house fly from 75 yards with a wedge. She is probably the truest athlete of us all. She won two tournaments this year on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, and I think she was the favorite to win if you asked each of us girls. Ryann was eventually beaten by Taryn on a par five in final elimination. Ryann was only 230 yards out before taking her second shot, and she decided not to go for the green, but to instead layup. There was trouble near the green, but I can’t help but wonder if she will forever think about that decision. When Ryann’s 20-foot putt lipped out, it was an exit that nobody predicted, but nobody was all that sad, because it was like having Muhammad Ali eliminated before he had a chance to punch your lights out.

Seema was the next to be eliminated. I have known Seema for many years. I think Seema was disappointed in how she played overall on Big Break, and she was a little embarrassed at how many times she was saved by someone else or by finding the send/save card under her chair at breakfast. When I won immunity late, Seema told me, “I don’t mind if you send me to elimination, but please don’t save me.” Seema was ready to prove she is a great golfer. Seema is also a fashion goddess, so funny and one of the most endearing golfers I have ever met. If you don’t love Seema or her beautiful sister (and caddy) Nisha, then there is something wrong with you. As someone once said, “Choose your friends wisely, because your enemies will choose you.” I gladly choose Seema as my friend, and I would trust her with my life!

Chris Brady was the next to find the exit. Chris is a rare case of business smarts and athletic genius as she is now working as an engineer on a nuclear power plant project after a successful career on the LPGA. Before making the LPGA, Chris won state titles in golf, tennis and track in high school. Talk about intimidating. I am still working on the whole chewing gum and walking thing. I thoroughly enjoyed conversations with Chris, and I am now president of the Chris Brady fan club. It was only after seeing Chris leave that I said, “I might be able to make a run at this Big Break thing.”

Taryn, Sara Brown, Lili and I were the ones still standing, but Taryn was next to go. Taryn is the only person on Big Break who played in a U.S. Open. She put the dagger in many of her opponents on Big Break. I saved her the episode before only because the winds on the island tended to blow from right to left. As brilliant as she played under pressure, I felt that I might have a slight advantage because of her tendency to pull the ball a little left. It is much like a professional baseball coach calling in a left hand pitcher to close against a right handed batter. The big advantage is that the curve ball or change-up will start out directly at the batters head before breaking over the plate. At no time did I ever feel that I would definitely be able to beat Taryn, but only that I might beat her. Both Sara and I were able to make difficult putts to eliminate Taryn. Taryn, with nerves of steel, never lost, but was merely beaten by brilliant (somewhat lucky) shots. Win or lose Taryn handled herself always with nothing but class.

Facing Sara Brown

Now there were only three. I have been playing against Sara Brown since I was in grade school, but this was the biggest match of both our lives. I wish I had a dollar for every time Sara Brown beat me in high school and in college. How good an athlete do you have to be to be awarded Female Athlete of the Year at Michigan State University (twice), which is the fifth largest college in the United States? She won so many college tournaments on the road that the newspaper merely referred to her as “Out of Town Brown!” I once broke Jack Nicklaus’ scoring record at the Scarlet and Gray course at Ohio State with a first round score of 66, and “Out of Town Brown” came back to beat me in the final day of the tournament by two strokes. As much as I love Sara, her father, Mike, her mother, Debbie, and her brother, Josh, there is nobody I want to beat more on the golf course than Sara Brown. It’s like the Yankees against the Red Sox, Ohio State versus Michigan or oil against water. Unless you’re from Ohio State, you don’t know how bad losing to anything from Michigan makes you feel. Since turning pro, Sara and I have played evenly against each other, and I felt like I could win. This Big Break dream would now be decided with a three-hole playoff, and may the best stroke player win!

I had Sara on the ropes on the first hole, but let her slide. That’s what Big Break does to you. The pressure is enormous, because each competitor knows that this is the biggest break each has ever had and that dreams are won or lost by a single shot or mistake. So you have to accept moments of choking and use those moments to get your composure back quickly. I then had the ability to forge ahead on the next hole but missed an 8-foot putt. Momentum is something that can really rattle you and bring you down, but I remembered something my father taught me. My dad was an All-American Wrestler, Athlete of the Year at the University of Arizona, and he won two Olympic trials in 1980. He always said, “Momentum always swings to the left and to the right, so never complain about being tied.” I was quite concerned on the third hole, when Sara came through (like always) and hit her ball 12-feet from the pin. As Yogi Berra said, It’s like Déjà vu all over again.” I estimated that I was about 22 feet away, and even worse, I had to putt directly over her line. I knew that if I made the putt it would put so much pressure on Sara that I would probably win, but if I missed the putt, the opportunity would be so great that Sara would most likely drain it.

I lined up my putt, and then thought about the mistake I have made in the past in this situation. Sometimes when you desperately need to make a long putt, you are so worried about leaving it short that you blast it by. I made sure I didn’t do this. I made sure to hit my line and make a solid putt that would go only 17 inches past the hole. I kept my head down and concentrated on not letting either elbow lose integrity. Then I took a deep breath and tried not to think about the outcome. The putt didn’t look like it was going in, but at the end as it slowed down, it dramatically broke towards the hole and DRAINO. I think I leaped higher than Michael Jordan. How did this little diabetic girl from Middletown Ohio shock the world? I still wake up and pinch myself. Sara eventually missed her putt, and I was stunned that I had reached the finals. It felt great to be in the finals and to do so against such great champion as Sara Brown made me realize I had earned it.

The Finals

It was now down to me and Lili Alvarez. I have met thousands of people and competitors in this beautiful game of golf. Lili might be one of the greatest people I have ever met. Years ago, I met Lili, and we discussed how she wants to one day be in politics in Mexico. She explained how she wants to make positive changes for her county. When she describes Mexico, she paints a picture of its beauty, culture and traditions, and how important family and friends are to the Mexican people. Her cool head, incredible intelligence and passion for life have had a profound effect on me. Lili is as genuine as they come, and I am confident that one day she just might be the president of Mexico. I was sincerely worried that she might beat me in the final match play 10-8. Of all the great athletes who competed on Big Break Sandals Resorts, I felt that Lili outplayed everyone and deserved to be in the finals.

The match was a blur, and each of us was never more than 1-up during the entire match. Lili had some trouble with her putter, and I think that cost her, but momentum swayed from left to right. It came down to the 17th hole, and we were still tied. But I again found myself on the green putting some 20-something feet away with Lili looking at only a difficult 8-footer. Unlike the putt against Sara Brown which I didn’t think was going in, it was the opposite against Lili. My ball was a long way away, but it was at least straight up the hill. As soon as it left the putter, and I saw it tracking I said, “Oh my gosh – I think this is gooiinnnnnnngggggggg INNNNNNN!”

I can’t begin to describe the feeling of making that putt under pressure so intense that your hands shake. All of the work I put in, all of the coaching I received, all of the competitions against my brothers and dad, and all of the unconditional support from my family raced through my mind. I did know however that Lili would not waver and that this was far from over.

Lili missed a difficult 8-foot curling putt, and the rest is history. Lili hit good shots on the 18th hole, but her ball found the only tree in the fairway, and she got one of the worst bad breaks in Big Break history. Lili never made an excuse, complained about the bad break or showed any bitterness. Lily gave me the final putt, hugged me and whispered in my ear, “You deserved this win – your putting was incredible.” I didn’t tell anyone this, but I immediately wept and had difficulties holding back a river of tears. I knew how much this title meant to Lili, how much she wanted to play in the Lorena Ochoa event, and how excited she was in representing her home country of Mexico. Losing to Lili Alvarez in the final would have been an honor in itself.

I will never forget Lili Alvarez. Late in the competition, I was feeling some heat from some of the other girls. Some were quite offended by my Birdie Dances. Some felt like I was taunting them with the Save/Send card. I sincerely liked everyone on the show, and it was upsetting to me not to be liked by people I respected so much. I was really down, and Lili pulled me aside and said, Yes, some of the competitors hate that Birdie Dance, and you definitely got inside their heads with that Send/Save card. So what! This is a competition. I am spicy, and I have my Spanish flair and passion for life, and you have your brilliance in front of the camera and your Birdie Dances. Don’t ever be afraid to be yourself. You are a wonderful person and a great golfer. Life is a Birdie Dance, Carling, so don’t you ever be afraid to hear the music.”

I Won!

Winning Big Break is the greatest accomplishment of my career because of two reasons: The incredible doors it opened up for me, and because I was fortunate enough to beat some of the best future LPGA stars in the game.

One of the neatest things about winning Big Break is how it brought families together. I have been told by so many moms and dads and sons and daughters how each Monday night the family couldn’t wait to watch another Big Break Sandals Resorts episode together. When I was growing up, my family always turned out the lights on Friday nights, and we watched the X-Files together. Is there anything more important than family?

I am also so excited about how many diabetics have reached out to me. When you are diabetic, you sometimes feel that you are the only person in the world struggling with this terrible disease. I remember how wonderful it was each year when I was young going to Diabetic Camp. Every camp member was dealing with the same thing that I was, and I felt so normal. This season I decided to donate a percentage of my earnings to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. So playing in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational will not only take my game to a whole new level but will greatly improve my donation for a cure.

One of my favorite sayings is a Japanese Proverb: Fall seven times–Stand up eight”.

Never give up on yourself! I learned that on Big Break.

I will be driving off to LPGA Q-School in a few weeks, and The Drill Book is riding shotgun! And since I’m just a small town girl from Middletown, Ohio, I can’t wait to donate a $2,500 shopping spree from Dicks Sporting Goods to Middletown High School. Hopefully they will produce many more athletes to come! Finally, this entire experience has lighted my passion for the camera like never before. After being on Big Break, I know that sports broadcasting, acting and creating films is on the Carling Dream horizon. BUT FIRST…Time for the L….P….G….A!!!!!!! (We did it, dad!)

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Teenager Im wins season opener

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

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The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

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Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.