So You Wanna Be a Caddie

By Michael CollinsSeptember 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
Well its a week off on the PGA TOUR and I can either keep trying to learn the lyrics to every Thomas the Train video that now constantly plays at my house or...write a little bit.
 
I think Ill write a little bit.
 
Since Ive started writing this column I have gotten over 300 requests from people that all say the same thing...
 
Im a fast learner and have always dreamed of becoming a caddie. So if a bag becomes available call me at 555-5555! Seriously, Im a people person. I play golf. Im a caddie at country club and caddied for the club champion. Ok, he won because the 93 year old man he was supposed to be matched against in the final couldnt get out of the home that day, but Im still really good! Im a 3 handicap so I know the game. My cousin works at a driving range... so, you know... Im ready.
 
Ill tell you how it happened for me, then how I think the best way to learn and give it an honest shot.
 
I told you in an earlier column that I was introduced to the pro game in 98 at Hilton Head. So the rest of that year I booked comedy gigs where the Tour was and during the day Id be hanging out at the course with my buddies.
 
On Tuesdays during practice rounds, I was known as the Caddies Caddie, because Rusty Uresti (brother and caddie for Tour veteran Omar Uresti) would let me carry the golf bag while he did the numbers in the yardage book. I thought it was cool because I got to walk the fairways and greens with the pros and caddies. Rusty, aka 'Hoss,' thought it was cool because he didnt have to carry a 30 lb. golf bag during the practice round. I was dumb and lucky at the same time!
 
The more times I did it, the more questions I asked. Why do you rake the bunkers that way? Why do you walk yardages off at that angle? What notes are you putting in the yardage book? The more I asked the more curious I became. It seemed things were so much different during a practice round compared with the real rounds.
 
Then in 99 Robert Gamez called me one day and said: Mikey, what are you doing next week?
 
Nothing. I lied, but I could cancel a crappy gig if need be.
 
My caddie quit,' he told me. 'I have to play a Nike Tour event in Louisiana and I just want to have some fun on the course again. You want to caddie for me?
 
I cant feel my legs.
 
Fun on the golf course? Im your man,' I told him. 'Let me know what my flight is and where Im staying, and Ill see you next week.
 
At the time I didnt understand why he laughed when I said that, (caddies are supposed to find there own way on Tour) but I know now. He did take care of me that week though.
 
So we get to Louisiana and cant get a practice round in at all because the course is underwater and the first guys allowed on the course will be first tee time Thursday. Now were standing on the first tee, a par 5 and as he gets the driver out of the bag I say to him, Hey, dont hit it in that bunker on the left because I dont know how to rake ok?
 
Ill never forget the look of confusion-hatred-amusement on his face as he turned back to the teeing area. You already know where the ball went. And as he came back to the golf bag I say, I JUST told you NOT to hit it in the sand trap!
 
You dont say that right before I hit! came his response.
 
Now you tell me what not to say. We both laugh.
 
The other two guys playing in our group look like Carolyn Bivens just told them theyd have to learn Korean before they finish the round. Of course when we get to the bunker Gamez tells me hes going to hit it in the greenside bunker to get up and down for birdie. I tell him if he hits it in THAT bunker Im leaving. The man called his shot. I laughed, put the bag down cursed at him and pretended to walk away. He cursed back at me and started walking, both of us laughing at not only each other but the fact that the other guys had no idea what they were in for.
 
By the end of Friday (we missed the cut) I had a few requests for caddie jobs on my off weeks from comedy.
 
I knew on that first tee caddying had me. I still will tell you golf has my heart, comedy has my soul. Thats how it started.
 
I spent a few years caddying on the Nationwide Tour and when the word got out I was serious, a couple of caddies pulled me aside and asked how serious I was or if it was just a fun thing for me. I didnt have to answer, they could see by the look in my eyes.
 
They took me under their wings and really taught me the nuances of caddying at the Tour level. And to Andy Padilla, Ernie Supermodel Lopez, Scotty Loosey Steele and Hoss I am forever grateful ' you guys created a monster.
 
Now this is definitely not the route I would advise because unless you already know what you are doing, there are 50-75 out of work caddies with experience looking for jobs every week.
 
Start on a small tour, Hooters or Canadian are great. Guys are great golfers, broke and hungry, just like youre going to be.
 
Learn the caddie game there ' when to talk and when to be quiet. Do it for free for at least a week or two (if youre helping your man make cuts and money hell throw you a bone).
 
Next step, Nationwide Tour. Get to the event on the Sunday night before. Then on Monday morning at daybreak get your butt to the caddiemaster and let him/her know you are looking for a bag ' and not in the pro-ams. Then get into the parking lot.
 
Its not a job to start with a family at home, a mortgage, or even a car payment. But if you dont have any of those...see you soon.
 
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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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”