Tough calls tough security

By Michael CollinsJuly 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
So, you think my job is glamorous? Well Im spending hour 5 in the Atlanta airport this Wednesday afternoon, because my flight out of Florida Tuesday evening was cancelled.
 
I had to wake up my 19-month-old boy (who really likes to sleep) at 4:45 a.m. to take Daddy to the airport. His mom didnt really like me before this morning; now ... anybody know where I can get a good bullet proof vest?
 
All this to go to Canada, a country with a history of giving caddies a tough time just to get in. Every year at least three caddies get denied entry. The last time I tried to leave Toronto, Canadian customs asked me if I had been arrested while in Canada. No, How was your stay? No, Did you enjoy our Tim Hortons coffee (it is better than Dunkin Donuts, sorry)? Just a couple of taps on a keyboard and the guy looks up and says, Have you been arrested?
 
Huh? Man, its 6 in the morning; I havent had my coffee and the dude Im caddying for just missed the cut by 12. No. (pause) Are you messing with me?
 
No, Mr. Collins. Have a nice flight home.
 
What the ? Thank you, Captain Paranoia, I wont be needing my coffee this morning, wheres the bathroom? All Im thinking about is Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman (I watch way too many movies).
 
Dont get me wrong, one of my coolest experiences happened in Canada, too. Playing the Canadian Open in Vancouver the week before the old 84 Lumber Classic, Omar Uresti told me we were playing in the Monday pro-am at the 84. I said, Youre playing in the Monday pro-am. Im flying on a red eye that makes three connections and doesnt get to Pittsburgh (2 hours drive away from the course) until noon.
 
O and a few other players figure out their caddie dilemma, make a phone call, and presto ' private G5 jet just for caddies! The players and families are on a private 767 and the caddies get a fully stocked (free food and drinks) and staffed (yes, the flight attendant was a very attractive girl) little jet. There were six caddies on that flight. I dont remember too much from it other than playing cards and sleeping. But I do remember the airport: no check in lines and no funny customs officers (Im still paranoid).
 
Now here I sit reminiscing.
 
Ive been asked what its like to pull a player off a club. The first time is horrible, because you know if youre wrong its like lying to a girlfriend. If you get caught, you never recover.
 
My first time was for Chris Couch at a Nike Tour (now Nationwide Tour) event in Florida. Were playing a par 4. After a perfect tee shot, he had a 9-iron in hand and started to step in to the shot and I said, Hold on pro. Now he backs off and gives me a look like, this better be good. I calmly told him to look at the trees around us, watch how hard the wind was helping us, how when the ball gets above the tree line its gonna go hard. Gotta hit PW here. He says, OK, takes the pitching wedge and starts going through his pre-shot routine. Remember how I said I calmly told him... well that calm has left the building, I need a Port-A-John bad!
 
Theres a bunker short of the green and the hole is tucked, so if this shot comes up short its a guaranteed bogey. My knees buckle as the ball comes off the club face and I watch it sail up into the sky. Now your instinct is to start screaming, GET UP!!! PLEEEEEEEEEASE FOR THE LOVE OF JOSE! But that wouldnt be cool and I am cool.
 
The ball carries the bunker, one hops and spins back to 6 inches! Couch turns to me and says, Good call pro. Yep is all I could get out cause I was still having a tough time breathing.
 
Anytime a caddie pulls a player off a shot, its because we want to be sure our player has gone over every option. If they take our advice and make a bogey or double its because they didnt hit it right.
 
What are you laughing at? Im the one sitting in the Atlanta airport for three more hours when I couldve been back in Pennsylvania playing golf at the Coatesville Country Club with Rob from the Philadelphia Phillies and Jose, my best friend, while Major (my 19-month-old) putts and chips. No, Mr. Cool and Glamorous is somehow gonna get to Canada with an open shoulder and a dream.
 
Anybody know where I can get a good passport picture?
 
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.
 
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.