So You Wanna Be a Rockstar

By Michael CollinsJanuary 30, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 FBR Open 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.
OK, wanna be rockstars heres your chance.
Heres what the sign said in the tunnel between the 15th green and 16th tee: Rockstars all want to be golfers. Golfers all want to be rockstars. The stage is yours, welcome to the 16th Hole at TPC Scottsdale.
Some guys touch the sign everyday like a football player coming out of the tunnel and onto the field. Other players saw it and tried to ignore it (mistake). But Im getting ahead of myself here just a little bit; first, lets introduce the wildest tournament on the PGA TOUR.
The FBR Open has become to the PGA TOUR what the Florida/Georgia game is to the SEC: a HUGE party where people go because it is the place to be seen, not necessarily for the sporting event. There are places around the golf course where 15,000 people will spend 6 hours socializing and not even recognizing theres a golf tournament going on. And thats fine with the host, the players, the caddies, and the TOUR, because if you tried to get 260,000 drunk people quiet so you could hit a golf shot you might as well just jump out the window.
Last year the FBR had over half a million people show up to party ' and the Super Bowl wasnt here! This year may be the first year they have to limit the number of tickets available. Thats right, if you wanna come, you can get in. EVERYONE is invited to this party. And that doesnt even count The Birds Nest, which is a spot that got so big they had to move it across the street. Thats a giant tent party where there are bands, three VIP areas, and different music all over ' only 60,000 people go party there after the last putt drops.
And the women This tournament, relating to the talent walking around the golf course, is always in the top three, no question. Golf wear? Not. Heels, full make up, push-up bra, and an outfit that can go straight to the dance club. Somewhere in the greater Phoenix area there is a shortage of silicon and a WEALTHY plastic surgeon. And for the ladies, I am comfortable enough with my manhood to say even the guys walking around this tournament look like they just fell out of a GQ magazine. Too bad the summers here get to 400 degrees; if not, I could live here. And if one of you write me and say, Yeah but its a dry heat, I will hunt you down and slap you in front of yo mamma!
Last year, my first time at this tournament, I went to a Phoenix Coyotes game with Fred Couples, his caddie Joe, and Bones (Mickelsons caddie). I caddied for George Lopez in the pro-am, went to the tent party at the Birds Nest (dont remember the end of that night!), and sat on the 16th hole for all four days of the tournament. Last night Carney (Mark Carnevale, the 92 rookie of the year) and I went to the Phoenix Suns game.
Tonight its a party at the Birds Nest, and then back to my spot ' the 16th hole, which to me is like getting on an elevator alone on the top floor of a skyscraper and two floors down Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Natalie Portman all get on with you. Now you have a choice to make. You can stand in the back and pretend like theyre not there all the while holding that gas in because of the butterflies that have suddenly taken up residence in your belly. Or, you can rip the wings off those butterflies and admit to these women that you have GOT to be on the wrong elevator, but the ugly elevator wasnt marked so you want to apologize. Now you have the beginning of a story to tell even your wife! Thats the 16th.
I asked a golfer when he starts thinking about the hole and he said, Walking off the first tee, because you can hear boos and cheers from the fairway. Yep, just a little par 3 playing anywhere between 140 and 165 with no water and no out-of-bounds that terrifies the best players in the world because if you miss the green 30,000 people will boo you! They even pass out a paper with a little note on every player coming through. Hell, last year they found out the name of Badds childhood dogs name! Yes, from Thursday through Saturday, there are anywhere between 25,000 and 40,000 people on just this hole. The stage is yours, boys!
A quick note on fellow caddie and friend Steve Duplantis: I promised you all the truth when I started this column and Steve would kick my butt if I didnt tell you what everyone else wont. Steve was a great caddie. And he was an even better partier! He lived the caddie life that many of you incorrectly think all of us caddies live: rock concerts, strippers, passing out in bushes and hotel rooms with wild beautiful women yep that was Steve. A lot of people couldnt handle Steve when he was out on one of his party benders (there was often a lot of apologies from Steve the morning after), but it wont take away from the fact the he was a good guy, with a big heart. And now our ranks are down one, and a daughter is going to grow up without a father. Godspeed my friend, parties wont be the same without you.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.