How Tough is Torrey

By Michael CollinsJune 12, 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.
The Open?
 
Its weird walking around Torrey Pines and seeing all the USGA signs around and no Buick signs. I know its the US Open but the way guy are talking about the set up, it feels wrong.
 
Everyone I talk too says this is going to be a fair test of golf with the graduated rough. I talked to one caddie who said if the wind didnt blow the winning score could be double digits! Of course this was after talking about his party days in the late 60s, and after he walked to his top ten world ranked player the caddie standing next to me leaned over and said, Thats got to be a little left over in his system from the 60s! We both laughed but agreed that the course is playable.
 
Caddies are talking about how this set up may play a little easier than when they were here earlier in the year. How you ask? Because in late January, early February, the greens are too soft and get extremely bumpy. The fairways are so wet that many times you get mud on your ball causing havoc with iron shots.
 
They all say yes the greens are fast but they are firm and running true and because of that when you get a putt on line it will stay on line. Different than earlier in the year when sometimes even 3-footers can be putt and hope.
 
The other thing is the first TWO cuts. The first cut just off the fairway has grass that is so dense the ball almost always sits up; something I dont know was done on purpose. The second cut is a coin flip (truly about 60/40), most players and caddies believe if you get in it, you can get enough club on it to get it to the green. Its the 3rd cut where players are going to be D-E-D dead.
 
I had a player tell me that on Monday he tried to hit a sand wedge out and only advanced it 15 feet! Whats that mean? It means the courses defense is length. Just over 7600 yards, but it doesnt necessarily favor the long hitter. Why? Because big hitters, miss big.
 
When in regular tournaments they can just muscle a 7, 8, or 9 iron on the green, this week theyre going to have to chip out sideways first. But the short straight hitter is still going to have to hit a 4 iron in to a green that is designed for a 7 iron.
 
The fairways are not running like weve seen US Open fairways run in the past. Were used to seeing guys hit drives that run 40 to 50 yards once they get on the ground... not this week, 15-20 max.
 
The last and I think most important thing about this week is familiarity. Guys came here expecting to see a different course and when they got here they went, Hmmm, this aint that bad. Expecting to see fairways that were as wide as sidewalks, instead seeing fairways that seem reasonable is giving these guys a little bit of confidence.
 
What they dont know is two holes will have greens with no actual holes in them, just a flagstick stuck in the ground. It isthe USGA and theyre going to get you somehow!
 
Ive decided what the TOUR needs. Permanent traveling barbershop. Last week when I was home I went to the barbershop for the first time in months and the two hours I spent hanging out there proved one thing to me. All the problems of the TOUR (and most of the problems of the world) could be solved in a barbershop.
 
Its amazing how after a good heated argument over Swiss cheese being better than provolone that the world can come into perspective. We then moved on to questions over what would happen if one week we made the TOUR play literally at a goofy golf course (miniature). How fun would it be to see if guys reacted the same after hitting the windmill three times as they would a three putt?
 
My grand plan:
 
There needs to be a tournament that the players have to caddie for their caddies and they have to carry the tour bag. I dont want to hear about, oh my back could get hurt, I could pull a muscle... you werent thinking about that when you loaded that bag up with rain gear, 2 dozen balls, and $30 dollars worth of change. And how would players react to their caddies doing unto them...
 
Would you watch?
 
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