LIVE Chat with Kelly Tilghman

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
Welcome to the Golf Channels Live U.S. Open Chat with Kelly Tilghman.
All users in this room have been allowed to talk
Kelly Tilghman: Hi everyone. It's Kelly Tilghman and I'm glad you've joined us tonight. For those of you on the east coast, thanks for staying up and participating. I look forward to answering your questions. I should start by saying, what a finish for Tiger! He shot 30 coming home. I also think Stuart Appleby is a worthy leader. There are so many strong names at or near the top.

thomas: Do you think Phil playing wihout a driver is a good idea?
Kelly Tilghman: Good question. I think he sacrificed some much needed yardage. it becomes quite evident when Tiger and Adam are hitting mid to short irons into greens and he's left with a long iron or a hybrid. I know he struggled to find fairways today and when you're 40 yards behind the guys in your group and in the rough, that's tough to make up. He's a talent and I hope to see him play well tomorrow.

thomas: What do you think the winning score will be?
Kelly Tilghman: I was asked this a lot yesterday and I'll stick to my original answer. I think anything at or just under par will be good enough. the course is drying out and the greens are getting faster.

Eric: Who do you think can challenge Tiger this weekend?
Kelly Tilghman: I think Luke Donald and Ernie Els could easily come into the mix but keep your eye on Lee Westwood. He's been playing some good golf on tough courses lately and I like his style. Stuart Appleby has had a taste of leads in majors before so he might have learned a lot from past experiences. It could be his time. The last 4 US Opens have been won by players in the Southern Hemisphere.
thomas: Is your game getting better with age?
Kelly Tilghman: My game is not like a fine wine. But I will say I got a great tip from Faldo recently and shot my lowest round in months.
John Daly: Have you played with John Daly?
Kelly Tilghman: I haven't played with John but I've got a great relationship with him. We've had a lot of laughs over the years. I think it would be fun to tee it up with him though.
Jen: How much fun was it to actually get to sit back and enjoy a golf tournament as opposed having to 'work'
Kelly Tilghman: That
Kelly Tilghman: that's funny.
Kelly Tilghman: i actually have been working this week prepping for the next four pga tour events. i'll be hosting all of them and i have to write teases. our team is doing a great job on the 'Live From' shows. I've watched them every night.
thomas: What do you think about the 10 inch rough in spots?
Kelly Tilghman: I think you should stay out of them
John Daly: How far can you drive the ball?
Kelly Tilghman: my average drives go about 230-240. i'm not a long hitter but i'll annoy you with my accuracy. i struggle a bit with my iron play but occasionally i can put it all together.
Steve: So will Rocco stick around for some golf late on Sunday?
Kelly Tilghman: I think Rocco's got a great shot to be there on Sunday. He's had a few strong tournaments in recent years. You know he stopped doing on course commentary because he felt healthy for the first time in a long time. it's great to see him back out there doing what he loves and on the leaderboard.
Carson: Is Tiger's 30 on the back 9(Front 9 today) His best 9 holes in a major considering his knee?
Kelly Tilghman: That's a really good question. I would argue that it just might be. It's right up there with the 30 he shot at the 1997 Masters after shooting 40 on the front... we all remember what happened there. If you asked him to rank them, I'd be interested in the answer. you can tell he's in a lot of pain but he's entirely modest.
Mike: Why do you think it is so hard to defend this title?
Kelly Tilghman: Plain and simple... it's the hardest test in golf. Curtis Strange was good enough to figure it out which should make him feel so special. i also think Retief and Ernie getting 2 in 4 years was pretty special.
John Daly: How difficult is it for other players to play with it as distracting as it looks?
Kelly Tilghman: i'm sure it is. can you imagine people talking about the shot he just hit during your pre-shot routine and your backswing... or having the hundreds of people in the gallery head to the next hole while you're standing over a 3 footer for par? that's tough.
HC: have you ever think going back on tour?
Kelly Tilghman: you know...
Kelly Tilghman: not once.
Kelly Tilghman: annika and karrie made that decision very easy for me. i competed with them on the european tour and they were winning everything. at the time, i didn't have the same tools or the funds to help me get there. they are truly special players.
Kelly Tilghman: i get my competitive spirit out in other ways these days... running, water sports, whatever i can do.
Misha: I would like to know who will win the NBA Playoffs and if the Cubs will win the World Series....
Kelly Tilghman: i think the red wings will win the nba playoffs and the bears will win the world series
Kelly Tilghman: just kidding
Kelly Tilghman: i think i'll stick to golf
cej23: What's your worst round that you remember and where did you play it at?
Kelly Tilghman: that's so depressing. i can't go there
Chad: What's your favorite all-time U.S. Open Moment?
Kelly Tilghman: payne stewart making the putt on 18 at Pinehurst in 99, then hugging Phil. you just couldn't have scripted it any better.
Brian: Do you think the Masters, or any of the other majors really, will take a page from the USGA's and pair up tiger and phil again?
Kelly Tilghman: great question. some majors might do it just because of the way they do the pairings traditionally, putting major champions from the previous year together, etc. i wouldn't think the Masters will ever take a page out of someone else's handbook because they pride themselves on tradition and their own personal style. that's what make it so special.
Eric: Who's your favorite play-by-play commentator ever, past or present?
Kelly Tilghman: I was a huge Pat Summerall fan because my dad and i used to stay up late watching football games when he was calling them. his voice was very soothing to me. i guess it reminds me of my childhood and family times. i also think Bob Costas is very talented. I always enjoy watching him at the Olympics.
HC: how big is your office at golf channels headquaters
Kelly Tilghman: i work in a 4X4 cubicle... and i have one of the biggest ones.
Ben Hogan: Is HD Television a girls best friend...meaning the close ups...
Kelly Tilghman: HD television is not a girl's best friend... but HD makeup is.
Kelly Tilghman:
dave mcclain: How many college events did you win?
Kelly Tilghman: one. furman's event. it was a true privilege to put my name on a trophy with the likes of stars like nancy lopez, betsy king, dottie pepper. stephanie sparks also won that event.
Paul: What is your handicap?
Kelly Tilghman: solid 6 or 7 from the white tees.
Kelly Tilghman: getting worse with age.
Hillary: Have you played with any Presidents???
Kelly Tilghman: no, not yet but i did host the opening tee shot ceremony at Tiger's tournament last year and asked George HW Bush to hit the inaugural shot. He nailed it.
gm19822007: First off, I think that you are doing a great job on the Golf Channel. I enjoy tuning in every weekend to watch you and Nick. Anyways do you think that if Phil Mickelson can drive the ball in the fairway that he would have a chance to win?
Kelly Tilghman: thanks for the kind words i my answer to your question is short. yes. he's that good.
toner1: Hey Kelly. Why is the mallet putter so popular now? I use an old style Arnold Palmer blade putter, very similar to what Ben Crenshaw uses and it works great for me.
Kelly Tilghman: players are taking advantage of so much technology today. mallet head putters help in different ways. you can put the weight low and back to increase top spin on a ball. also the weight of the putter head in general is so much heavier that it smooths out your stroke.
gm19822007: Were you as skocked as I was when Annika announced here retirement?
Kelly Tilghman: sort of. i didn't think she would announce it at the beginning of a season. i always thought she would wait until the end to say something knowing how shy and reserved she is. i can tell you that i know she is truly happy with her husband Mike. she deserves a year long farewell for all she's done for the game.
Steve: What did you think of Tony Romo and Justin Timberlake each breaking 100 last week at Torrey?
Kelly Tilghman: i thought it was so cool that they even tried. i would've loved to have been able to try it.
cej23: Were you one of the Cameron crazies and do you still dislike the tarheels?
Kelly Tilghman: i once camped out in the freezing cold, during flu season and mid terms to get a good seat for a duke home game against UNC. yes, i was a cameron crazy but i promise you i never painted one part of my body. those are the real crazies.
Kelly Tilghman: by the way, you asked if i 'still' hate the tar heels. you're assuming that i hated them at all. never!!!
tuggy: What was your first broadcast for the golf channel? and when?
Kelly Tilghman: my first play by play broadcast was the Mercedes Benz Championship on Maui last year. my first ever report on the golf channel came all the way back in 1997. i did a story on an all natural grass putting course in the orlando area.
Boo Weekley: I know I've heard y'all in the media say I can play but do you think I will ever actually win one of dem pretty major trophies?
Kelly Tilghman: yep. uh huh.
Kelly Tilghman: i think Boo is one of the best ball strikers on tour... and when he makes putts... watch out!
iubaseball: I guess the moderators choose to not let yo answer any bad things about Michelson. It just shows that you as a media person donot have the guts to say or ask the tough things. God forbid that you would say anything bad about Michelson. You are just nothing more than milk toast
Kelly Tilghman: my role is a play by play, not an analyst. trust me, Faldo and Miller have the toughest of the jobs
Kelly Tilghman: they are held accountable for everything they say.
Kelly Tilghman: and they definitely take chances.
Ben Hogan: Hi Kelly...what's your favorite Dinner? Do you always eat out while on the road?
Kelly Tilghman: i like milk toast.
Kelly Tilghman: just kidding.
Kelly Tilghman: i love to eat out on the road and unfortunately it's something you have to do a lot.
Kelly Tilghman: i try to eat healthy and every now and then i'll have a filet mignon with Peter Oosterhuis. He loves steak so it's kind of becoming a tradition for us.
Bobcat: Kelly, are the players at the us open playing defensive, trying not to put up a big number
Kelly Tilghman: i think the US Open forces you to play defensively. i would say everyone in the field is playing defensively the majority of the time. that said, when a player does get it close, they have to choose their spots to be aggressive. i think the USGA has done a wonderful job of creating risk reward opportuinties out there. I love seeing eagles in a US open
Malin: Can Davis Love actually win another major and if he does will that get him into the Hall of Fame?
Kelly Tilghman: i think that would be the greatest thing ever.
Kelly Tilghman: i'm a big fan of his game and he is one of the nicest guys on tour. i think he's quite capable of winning another major but it's a hurdle he's been trying to clear for years. i'm rooting for him to do it again now that he's feeling more healthy.
Monty: Has Faldo dropped any hints to you as to who he might pick as his captain's selctions?
Kelly Tilghman: nope. he's quite tight lipped on all ryder cup matters. out of respect for our friendship, i haven't pressed.
cej23: How much do you get to go home to Myrtle Beach?
Kelly Tilghman: not as much as i would like. i try to schedule trips around the holidays but lately, my family has been coming to me. they enjoy the orlando area.
Paul: We appreciate the job your and and the Golf channel team does on the tournaments. With Faldo in the booth, it sounds like it is a great, humorous time. Has he always been this open with comments and humor?
Kelly Tilghman: i didn't know Nick very well before he became involved in television. it's the only way i've ever known him to be. he's very funny and quick witted.
gm19822007: Who do you think is a sleeper that could possible win the U.S. Open?
Kelly Tilghman: i could pick one but i would have to say with all of those strong names up there, it will likely be one of them. tiger, els, ogilvy have all won opens before.
frank: Will anyone finish under par this week?
Kelly Tilghman: it's highly likely that the winner will be the one under par.
cbo7777: did you see Woody Austin's shirt yesterday...apart from being patriotic what did you think of it?
Kelly Tilghman: i think Woody's an original and i wouldn't expect anything less from him. In general, he's toned it down this year but he always seems to have something 'up his sleeve' for the big events.
Grant: what are your thoughts on Ernie this weekend?
Kelly Tilghman: i think Ernie could win purely from drawing from his past experiences. he's been struggling a lot in recent weeks but don't forget he won a tournament as early as Feb.
John D: I think the money in golf has gotten so great, that it makes people early millionairs and they lose the hunger, many things to buy, to do,----golf and the dedication it takes to play at top levels takes a back seat. I think Ernie Els has all the talent in the world, but lacks the hunger you see in Tiger. Tiger is not motivated by money or status, he has all he will ever need. ---Any thoughts?
Kelly Tilghman: John, I respectfully disagree. the simple fact that he has changed caddies, swing instructors and mental coaches in the last year should tell you something. he's also practicing as hard as i've seen in a while. golf is just such a fickle game and tiger did a number on him in 2000. he's potentially a great tiger challenger.
tuggy: What was it like to caddy for Arnold?
Kelly Tilghman: awesome, amazing, inspirational... one of the greatest golf experiences of my career.
Kelly Tilghman: to be that close to the action with the big 3 is a rare opportunity.
dave mcclain: What is your favorite flavor at Painter Home Made Ice Cream?
Kelly Tilghman: bubble gum
Kelly Tilghman: love it
tee: Kelly - given what you see of the new guard (20 year old) players coming online - do you think Tiger will get to 18 majors.
Kelly Tilghman: i do think tiger will get to 18 majors and i think he'll do it before 2012. as long as he stays healthy. jack nicklaus made the point the other day that he might not have enough players to push him along but i think jack's resume provides a lot of motivation for tiger.
Chris: Kelly are you a cat or a dog person
Kelly Tilghman: i'd have to say dog because i can't take a cat running with me.
Tiger Fan No. 1: No one can beat Tiger, right? He's in the perfect spot. Is everyone afraid of him right now?
Kelly Tilghman: afraid is a strong word. i think most of the guys are used to having him out there now. i think most guys are convinced that tiger will do something special. the question is, do they think they can do something special too? look no further than the tiger/bob may showdown at valhalla in 2000 to know it's possible for relative unknowns to take him to task as well as the big names
Dr. D: Kelly -- I am getting sick of hearing about Tiger's knee. The next time you discuss it, please do so with a split screen showing Ben Hogan at Riviera in 1948. He could hardly walk!
Kelly Tilghman: you make a great point
Kelly Tilghman: i also think Tiger is tired of hearing about his knee but he has a way of putting it out of his mind.
Wed: Where does the U.S. Open trophy ranks among the majors? I mean it's nice but you can't wear it, and you certainly can't drink out of it so it's got to be at least third right?
Kelly Tilghman: it's definitely top 4... just kidding
Kelly Tilghman: a lot of american players would say it's number one.
Kelly Tilghman: it depends on your taste
Kelly Tilghman: if you like birdies, then maybe the pga is your cup of tea
Kelly Tilghman: if you like a ground game, then it's the british.
Paul: Kelly, since you are from SC, do you know Dustin Johnson? Will he win on the tour this year?
Kelly Tilghman: i haven't met Dustin yet. i look forward to it. he's done a lot for our area and i think he could win on tour.
woodz: Kelly, it's great to see a woman who is intelligent, loves the game, and beautiful at the same time.
Kelly Tilghman: mom, is that you?
Chris: Is it true that you couldn't wear a skirt while caddying for Arnold?
Kelly Tilghman: yes, it's true. you have to wear the jumper.
Saskatone: What's the best course out there on the tour, in your opinion and what kind of music dod you like. I love country up here in Saskatchewan
Kelly Tilghman: there are so many to choose from. guess it depends on your criteria. for scenery, pebble... for challenge and nostalgia, Augusta National.
Mallory: After watching Applbey fade at the Masters a couple of years ago, can he hold on and actually win this week?
Kelly Tilghman: it could easily be his time.
Biggest fan: Got a favorite father-daughter moment with your dad on the golf course?
Kelly Tilghman: my favorite father daughter moment actually happened on the driving range. it was the only time i could get my dad to hit a shot in front of me. he had to quit the game when i was little because of a shoulder injury. i never got to play a round with him but he never missed a round of mine.
tuggy: You are HOT and I meen that in a nice and polictialy correct way.
Kelly Tilghman: ummm... thanks?
chance young: wats the most embarassing moment of ur career
Kelly Tilghman: when the guy earlier called me milk toast
BogeyChamp: I think all of the Golf Channel commentators should play a round of golf televised for a charity. Your opinion?
Kelly Tilghman: i think that's a fantastic idea.
Chandra: Kelly, what do you think of Tiger 'fatigue', meaning when Tiger is ahead, rest of the players seem to drop shots and disappear?
Kelly Tilghman: there could be something to it. i saw a statistical study proving that the actual field stroke average goes up an entire shot when Tiger is in the field.
KMB: Do you think he's primed to have one of the top rounds of his career tomorrow (63 or 64) and potentially separate himself from the field like in 2000 at Pebble
Kelly Tilghman: with all due respect, i'm not sure that number is out there.
Kelly Tilghman: he could shoot another 69 or 70 though and take the lead
KMB: I think you are HOT as well and I mean that in the 'you should pose for Playboy way'...
Kelly Tilghman: ummm... thanks?
PuttPutt: Why do you think it has been so long since a European has won this tournament? Is it a statistical fluke?
Kelly Tilghman: could be a fluke... there was a time when only europeans were winning the masters... seve, faldo, woosie, langer, olazabal. it is a shocker though that it's been 38 years, isn't it?
tigger: what golf shoes do you recommend for my wife?
Kelly Tilghman: can't say really, that's a taste thing.
tigger: What's with Nobilo's hairdo?
Kelly Tilghman: i think Frank has some of the best TV hair in the business.
Kelly Tilghman: don't you agree
Fazio: Miguel Angel Jimenez shot an amazing 66 today to move from 56th to 5th and the lowest round of the tourny so far.....but it was ignored by all media outlets.......why is that?
Kelly Tilghman: i watched the coverage and they definitely talked about it. it deserves a ton of respect.
gm19822007: Do you agree that Paula Creamer is the best female player in the world without a major?
Kelly Tilghman: i would have to say yes at this point. even though there are players with more wins that haven't captured a major, she seems to have the most potential.
golfin man: Geeeeeeez......... is it too controversial to ask a question about Tiger's Caddie???Am I the only one insulted by his arrogance at removing his Bib before the round has finished???
Kelly Tilghman: it's not too controversial and i can tell you that it caught a lot of people off guard when they finally picked up on it. but in his defense, steve did say it was tradition for them to do that. gamesmanship or not? we'll never know but if he did do it on purpose then he looks like a genius.
chance young: does the poanna grass effect the players in the afternoon tommorrow. it seems like the poanna grass makes it harder for the players in the afternoon
Kelly Tilghman: no matter the grass, players in the afternoon always have to deal with bumpier greens. it's the game.
luckycraft07: Hi Kelly.....What is your favorite type of turfgrass for putting?
Kelly Tilghman: big fan of bermuda. i grew up on it and i actually like putting on greens that roll around a 9 or 10.
Brian: I'm curious about what you're seeing when you're in the booth. Do you have multiple monitors showing everything going on, or are you watching the telecast along with us? Do you have someone talking in your ear while you're talking on the air?
Kelly Tilghman: i watch two monitors... the first one is exactly what you're seeing... the 2nd one is also what you're seeing but it's on a slight delay.
Kelly Tilghman: i do have someone talking in my ear at all times. they are telling us where we're going next and they are giving me countdowns to when i have to stop talking.
tigger: Kelly, what was it like to hit Arnies tee-shot at 9 on the par 3 at Augusta in 2007? You were under tremendous pressure and you stuck it!
Kelly Tilghman: that was probably the most nervous i've ever been on a golf course. especially considering that i was in a caddie jumper with a microphone wire on, there were thousands of screaming fans, the big 3 were watching and it was practically an island green. oh, and i was using arnie's 8 iron. other than that, i was fine!
Gregg: How about Michelle Wie's 67 2 weeks ago....tell us about ladies' golf, Kelly...
Kelly Tilghman: i think michelle wie is on the road to recovery, physically and emotionally. she has had a bumpy year but she is too good of a talent to hold back for too long. she is an asset to women's golf and the lpga couldn't be healthier than it is right now. they have so many stars.
Weir Fan: Do you like the changes Mike is making to his game? Do you see him winning another major?
Kelly Tilghman: i'm a huge Mike Weir fan. he is a great guy. he could easily win another major because i think he has the discipline to stay at the top for years to come.
Golf pro: you think Nick Faldo will ever play on the champions tour?
Kelly Tilghman: my guess is not much. he's so involved with his family, business life and his Faldo brand that golf is a distant 4th right now. heck, he's even taken up tennis lately and that might put golf in 5th place.
PuttPutt: Would these players do well in competitive miniature golf? Ben Crane challenged a miniature golfer once.
Kelly Tilghman: my hunch is yes but i learned to throw all putt putt logic out the window when my friend beat me hands down the other day. that friend has never broken 120 on a real golf course. ego is still hurting over that one.
Kelly Tilghman: one or two more questions and then it's bedtime for this kid
John D: Hey Kelly, on the men's tour---who do you see as having any chance of becoming the next superstar in golf, or is there anyone on the radar in the next 5 years?
Kelly Tilghman: i think
Kelly Tilghman: Anthony Kim has a great shot
Kelly Tilghman: Also Bubba Watson
Ben Hogan: Do your fingers cramp by the end of a chat???
Kelly Tilghman: my typing actually improves. it's great practice
Kelly Tilghman: okay gang, thanks for all of your questions. sorry if i couldn't get to yours but i'm sure we'll have another opportunity in the future. i appreciate the time with you and i look forward to spending time with you again at the Travelers Championship. Be sure to stay tuned to Live From the US Open all week. No one covers golf like us! Take care.

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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.

Getty Images

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?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

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.