Dream Come True

By Michael CollinsMarch 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Michael Collins has been a stand-up comedian for 15 years and has more than seven years experience as a professional caddie. He currently covers the PGA TOUR as a correspondent with XM Satellite Radio and takes his turn on The Turn Mondays on GOLF CHANNEL.
I don't care who wins the Zurich Classic because I've already won.
Here's how my dream week began.
This past Christmas I told my best friend his present was a trip to any tournament I'm going to. Having never been to New Orleans, and because I'm not out on the course for 12 hours a day and we could actually have some fun, he chose this week. Good choice.
I told him I was performing at the pairings party. What I didn't tell him was that Tommy Fonseca, Tournament Director of the Zurich Classic (and my new hero), had gotten me a spot in the Wednesday pro-am itself. What Tommy didn't tell me was with whom he had paired me.
So I got up on stage Tuesday night and proceeded to make fun of Jim Furyk (who was there with his wife), Stewart Cink, and pretty much all of my buddies out on TOUR.
I really shouldn't drink before I go on stage.
After the pairings draw it was time for the music, the band Better Than Ezra. I was hanging out backstage with Tim Petrovic who informs me he's going to get up on stage and play with the band. SWEET!
Here comes John Daly. He wants a hug and now he's coming in for a kiss! Oh dear God, he ain't backin' down ... POW! Plants one right one the kisser! Now I need a tetanus shot and fast. I am feeling very dirty right now ' even writing this makes me feel ... itchy.
What I'm not telling you is the look on my best friends face as this night is unfolding. I tell you, watching him was even better for me than it was for him. He's screaming at me now, 'No way dude!' Eating, drinking and being merry until about midnight I tell him we have to get back to the hotel and get some sleep; he was caddying for me in the pro-am the next day. I thought he was going cry, or break my ribs hugging me.
See, Jose loves to live through me. He's a full-time cop with a wife and four kids. I love his family. As an only child he's my brother; I've known him since I was 8. He was the one who got me into comedy, he was the one who told me I'd make a great caddie, and he's the one who tells me when I get famous he wants to be my 'head of security.'
He had always dreamed of caddying someday and now he was getting his chance and the best is yet to come.
We showed up at the golf course around two hours early for the 12:20 p.m. tee time. Man, did my fellow caddies have a lot of ribbing for me! Then here comes the media. Now I seriously know how a player feels when he has to warm up and a bunch of knuckleheads (myself included) want to come up and 'chat.' I will never do that to a player again.
I end up playing with 2005 champ Petrovic. I give him a little ribbing for 'not really PLAYING' the guitar on stage with the band, just flinging it behind his back and throwing the pick to the crowd.
'Did Elvis ever really play his guitar on stage?!' he replied.
You're no Elvis, Timmy, but I love ya anyways.
So we go to the first tee just in time to meet our other playing partner, who just happens to be Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints.
Well, they won't let me turn this column into a book so I'll tell you the Cliff's Notes version.
I have never been so nervous hitting a tee shot in my life. We started on No. 10, which is 390 yards down wind, making driver too much club. Drew gets introduced to a long, loud ovation. I get my intro... crickets. I laughed and then almost threw up bending over to put my tee in the ground.
Jose says, 'Relax, it's gonna be great.'
I pop up the 3-wood and hit into the bunker right. I did calm down and really hit it well off the tee for a while.
Drew is awesome (and I'm an Eagles fan) and plays to a single digit handicap ' and he hits it LONG. I did hit it by him a couple times, until my driver broke on our back nine.
We threw a football around on the course and ended up getting put on the clock, IN A PRO-AM (oops)! I made some really nice putts (these greens are going to die by Friday if they don't water them). Drew made a couple of birdies. We hit every tree in the fairways on the back nine. Even Drew's agent (Chris) is cool. He played, too; he's a hack just like most of us.
By the end of it all, my best friends back and knees were killing him ' and I brought my CARRY BAG! Guess two boxes of balls and rain gear wasn't really necessary.
We didn't 'win' the pro-am, but I got pictures with my best friend, Drew Brees, and Tim P., so it's a win for us.
Now, as I write this, I gotta get some sleep cause I gotta 'work' Thursday. Jose is passed out in the bed next to mine. Wait until you see the pictures we get Friday night on Bourbon St.!
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.