A Hard Walk Remembered

By Michael CollinsOctober 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
The worst, and hardest, walk for caddies is this week at the Valero Texas Open.
Some guys will argue that Reno is worse because of the altitude but, even though the walk at Reno is tough, its usually in the upper 50s to mid 60s temperature wise which makes it comfortable.
But the average ' over/under if youre a betting man ' for this tournament is 3. Thats the number of caddies who wont make it through the week. Not because they get fired, not because they quit, but because they end up in a medical tent or hospital getting fluids put into them.
Remember when Bart Bryant won here a few years ago? His caddie doesnt. Mr. Clean (well just use his nickname this week) went down three times that week. He did get to carry the bag up 18 on Sunday after following along in a golf cart with an IV stuck in his arm. He wasnt going to miss his mans win for anything.
You may wonder why this tournament is so hard to walk. The lowest point on the course is at the top of a roller coaster on the eighth tee. And when you are standing on the 11th tee you are so high up you can see the eighth tee, but can't see the people. And thats not the worst part. Its usually 106 degrees with 85 percent humidity.
Now before yall go thinking, Man does he hate this tournament, let me set the record straight. I love this tournament. It has a very special place in my heart. It has the best Tuesday driving range party on Tour.
What started out as a small (30 people) cook out, thrown by Omar Uresti (his dad still cooks the fajita meat, and his mom still hand makes the enchiladas) and his family, has become so big the tournament just asked them to do it on the range.
Theres a huge caddie putting contest with a cash prize and more importantly... bragging rights. And even though Ive never won the putting contest and have never gone down during the tournament, the event means so much to me because it was my first time caddying a PGA Tour event.
I caddied for Steve Hart, older brother of Dudley. I was doing comedy shows all week downtown at the Rivercenter Comedy Club, and on Tuesday morning was hanging out at the clubhouse with Omar when another caddie came up to me and said, Funny Man, you working this week?
Yeah, I got shows Wednesday through Saturday downtown.
Naw man! You got a bag?
Uuuh, no.
I got a guy youd be perfect for! You wanna day job? Sly smile, probably because he saw the size of my eyes, and knew I had never walked the course before.
I hustle down to the driving range, meet Steve, and after some small talk, he says, You ready? And away we went to the first tee. We get to the first green and he says, Can you read greens?
Yeah, I said, trying to sound as confident as possible.
Read this one.
Oh blank. I didnt mean right now or in a PGA Tour event. Well, thats what I was thinking, but as I looked at it I thought, if I read it wrong so what, hes the pro. Ignorance was truly bliss. I read it correctly, and he just made a kind of 'humph' sound when the ball went in the hole. You know, we didnt even talk money until after we made the turn, and by that time I was just trying to remember how to breathe and walk at the same time so he couldve really got a bargain.
I remember Friday the clearest because we had a late tee time and I had two shows that night. One of the guys playing with us tried to hit a flop shot from behind nine green and completely whiffed it. I turned my back to him and was trying not to laugh when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the golfer who had just whiffed.
He whispered in my ear, Youre gonna put that in your show tonight arent you? Now I did laugh out loud and say, Yep! (I could never get away with that now).
He promptly chipped in for par and yelled, You better put that in too!
Steve and I finished 45 minutes before the start my show and Ill never forget ' he snuck me in the locker room so I could take a shower. He then drove me to the club and said, I wish I could come see you but weve got an early tee time, that OK?
Are you serious? Man, go get some sleep, and Ill see you in the morning.
I fell asleep between the first and second show (both nights), but the week was good. Great comedy shows, and we tied for 21st. Steve asked me to caddie for him the rest of the year, but me (the happy idiot) was still doing comedy full time, so I had to say I couldnt.
Steve if youre reading this, I shouldve caddied for you the rest of that year. I dont remember any of the comedy clubs I did the rest of that year, but I know I wouldve remembered every hole.

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. He also has his own Web site, www.funnycaddy.com
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