Heres a true story that happened to me at the John Deere Classic a few years ago when I was caddying:
Im caddying for Brenden Pappas; its his rookie year on TOUR. Hes struggling just a little bit with putting too much pressure on himself and every now and then having a meltdown. It was (later) clinically diagnosed as a sugar imbalance; I personally called it Progolferitis (because EVERY guy I know that plays gets it every now and then).
So Thursday were playing and not having a great day, not a bad day (Even through 12) but when youre suffering from Progolferitis any score is a disastrous score! So were on the short par-4 13th hole and Brenden, who hits it a long way, pulls out 3-wood, which is the right club to hit on this hole for him. Unfortunately he snap hooks it left into the fairway bunker and gets so mad he leans on the 3-wood til it pops!
Now weve got a 40 shaft and nothing attached to it because the head is in a bush. My boy turns to me and says, Hide this before I get a fine. So theres yours truly hiding a 3-wood head in the bag while putting the broken shaft in a Port-a-John for someone to find! In true infomercial fashion... But wait, theres more!
As we get to the bunker the ball has come to rest in, we see that we have a good lie. The front of the bunker is about 8 feet high, but were far enough back to where it wont be a problem. The green is slightly elevated and almost table-topped shaped, long and thin. The hole is back left. I get the rake, and stand just left of the bunker as Brenden gets in and settles his feet. He hits a shot that looks just a little left. As he cant see over the bunker he turns to me and says, WHERED THAT GO?! And I say, I couldnt see it, but it looked just a little left of the hole. Apparently that was the wrong answer because a bout of Progolferitis broke out. Heres the exchange (minus the expletives and there were ALOT of those in between)...
Pappas: What do you mean you didnt see it? Thats your job! Why are you out here with me if I cant count on you to see where the ball goes?!
Me: Youre 65 asking a guy 55 where the ball went?! If YOU cant see it how the (blank) am I gonna see it? I can barely see the top of the stupid bunker!
Now there are moments on the golf course when things seem at there worst and an exchange like this happens. Brenden, for a split second, looks ready to explode then realizes what just happened and tries not to laugh as he walks out of the bunker and watches his now FUMING short caddie stomp down in the sand and start raking (a thing to this day I hate doing). Now he goes to the green and a minute later I arrive to find his ball 8 feet from the pin on the green. Now I am ready to kill somebody and Brenden still has Golferitis so were probably not gonna talk for a couple holes. He misses the putt, taps in for par. Now he is in full blown, Stage 5, meltdown mode, and were even par and its only Thursday, God save us... But wait, theres more...
The 14th hole is a drivable par-4, but when the pin is on the front of the green we had decided to lay up because the wedge shot was easier than the pitch even though it was a blind second shot. We lay up with an iron off the tee in the first cut left; OK lie, but my man cant see straight cause hes in Stage 5 Progolferitis. Nothing I can do to save him now. He hits a lob wedge past the hole and it spins off the green. Oh boy... I had never seen a Stage 6 but my boy Brenden BIT the shaft of his lob wedge as we walked to the green!
I give him the pitching wedge, and walk to the back of the green to watch the chip (and because I need a minute to compose myself and figure out what the heck to do to calm my boy down). I turn around and Brenden hits the perfect chip, lands 5 feet short, rolls out, smacks the flagstick, and drops. Dead center. Two-hundred people surrounding go nuts, Brenden smiles, tips the cap to the fans and then turns to me with this blank eating grin on his face but there is no smile on my face.
I lift up my caddie vest and start unhooking my belt never letting my eyes leave Brendens. Then I start walking towards him as he is taking the ball out of the hole and now he is picking up his pace to get away from me and towards the next tee, this in front of all those people!
Dont hit me!! He says trying not to laugh, and trying to be quiet as the other two guys in the threesome have to putt out on the 14th green.
SEE... ALL THAT (BLANK) FOR THE LAST FIVE HOLES AND WERE 1 UNDER!? I AM GONNA WHOOP YOUR (BLANK) IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE!
But now I am laughing, too. Id love to tell you that we skipped off into the sunset and won the tournament but thats just not how real life works. Doesnt matter, though; we still laugh about that day together when we hang out.
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.
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