Reno 911

By Michael CollinsJuly 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
In an attempt to be facetious here, let me say that this week you dont want to caddie for a guy good enough to get into the WGC-Bridgestone and play for $8,000,000. You-know-who is out, so its anybodys tournament. Why go there?
Instead, you want to go to Reno and caddie at the Legends.
Here is why:
First, the town. Its Nevada ' there are casinos. And casinos and caddies normally mean you leave with less than you came with and lots of times less than you made for the week. Yes, the towns cheap to stay in, the rooms are really nice, the food is good, and of course who doesnt love Reno 911? If you havent seen the TV show, start with the movie Super Troopers. Trust me.
Anyway, the town itself is nice, even has a sense of humor. One place on the main strip that has been there for over 30 years has a poker room and liquor store in the same building and the sign out front says, Liquor in front...Poker in back. How can you not love a town like that?
Then theres the course. The event is played at a course with a French name that means Bigfoot lives here. Not really, but the views around the golf course are stunning. The mornings are very crisp. How, you ask could mornings in Nevada be crisp on the first weekend in August? Reno is on top of a mountain and Montreux (thats the courses name) is even higher, about 1,000 feet above the town.
Now as a guy who caddied at this place twice (hint, hint, hint), I can tell you the first hole is the only one where a caddie feels great. Even the second hole, which is a par 3 that can be stretched to 200 yards, has a walk to the green that leaves guys carrying 35-pound golf bags struggling to catch their breath. By the time you get to your ball in the fairway (hopefully) at the third hole, when your player asks for the yardage the only reason he doesnt get hit by a 6-iron is because you cant actually get it out off the bag for fear of passing out.
The course doesnt let up on the front nine until No. 9. (I seriously dont remember too much of the back nine and Willie Wood and I made the cut the first time I was here.) Then to go along with the altitude, which gives you a nice headache for two days while your body adjusts, is the humidity... there is none! So every morning or evening, sometimes both, bloody things come out of your nose that scare the heck out of you. All this for what?
Aaaaah, my final point. This weeks winner in Reno will make $540,000. Now that sounds like a lot of money until you consider that if you won this tournament and it was the only cut you made all year, youd be over $200,000 short of 125th on last years money list! Thank goodness for that two-year exemption. And, theres no trip to Augusta. So the winning caddie will make about $56,000 (10% of the win and weekly pay). Lets say you have a good week and tied for 20th with four other guys. Youre gonna get a paycheck of about $7,500.
There it is: No WGC, casino town, low payday, high altitude, headaches and blood boogies?
Major, get your clubs! You and daddy are going back to Pennsylvania to visit your grandma!!!
A note to my Canadian friends and readers on last weeks column:
When I mess up, I fess up and I owe you all an apology. I said that coming back from Canada that Canadian Customs gave me a hard time. I got a lot of letters correcting me and telling me when going back to the U.S., its U.S. Customs you have to go through. As many of you got personal letters from me I wanted to let you all know, this time coming back home through U.S. Customs, I got to spend time in the special area. I had a grapefruit I hadnt eaten and was holding in my hand. But I didnt check yes for bringing Canadian agriculture into the US. The grapefruit was from California (I kept the sticker); they didnt think it nearly as funny as you do!
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.
Email your thoughts to Michael Collins
Related Links:
  • Michael Collins Archive
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.