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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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.