An awesome experience

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Well boys and girls, its taken some time, but I have finally got writers block! I just got to Detroit and as I am awaiting the start of the PGA Championship and I have no idea what to write. Its my first major without Tiger and my experience at this event last year was not a good one ' and he was here.
 
Tonight at dinner with Alex Micelli, who youve seen on GOLF CHANNEL, and the rest of the XM team I thought: Something really good is gonna come from this and Ill write about that. Well, as much fun as we had at dinner, if I wrote about what we were talking about Id probably be fired in the morning. Topics like the LPGA, the PGA TOURs pension plan, the Tour without Tiger, and Michelle Wie are all interesting topics but... the table got pretty heated and ended with us all having a toast to a good week.
 
But what can we expect this week? Vijay Singh won last week; Phil Mickelsons here; Kenny Perry is making an appearance; Anthony Kim finally got the baseball swing out of his system, but... the final major of the year is not sold out. Tickets are available for everyday which is weird for a major.
 
I never was fortunate enough to caddie at this major. Whoever I caddied for never got in the year I worked for him. Maybe thats a hint at how good a caddie I am?
 
I will tell you that the preparation for a major for a caddie is a lot different than for a regular Tour event. A course that youve never seen before, greens youve never read before and the feeling is a bit different on the driving range ' a little quieter, more subdued, still chatter but not quite the same.
 
So you wanna know what its like to caddie in a major? Awesome. When you step up on the first tee, there are a few more butterflies (yes, we caddies get em, too). That first read on the green brings some more butterflies as well, because it can set the tone for whether or not your player will call you in for more reads, and all great caddies want to be a part of the team out there.
 
Talking to some of my caddie buddies here this week, they tell me this course has no let up, no breaks, no breather holes. I asked a few guys what they thought the winning score was gonna be and out of 10 guys, only two said under par ' and they both said only if it rains!
 
Thats one of the things that makes caddying in a major so difficult, you have to be the ray of sunshine. After a stupid bogey or double you have to be able to get your player to move on, to let that hole go before you get to the next tee shot. Its not easy to do but scoreboards help, because at a major, everybody is making stupid mistakes every now and then and he who makes the least gets the trophy.
 
Im anxious to see which players have meltdowns so I can watch my friends try and calm down their players.
 
I do remember a particular meltdown that had to be fixed when I was caddying on the Nationwide Tour. I was working for Chris Couch at an event in Virginia before we made it to the big dance. We made a stupid bogey on a par 5 and now had to play a short par 4, which was reachable for Couch who was one of the longest hitters back then, but blind if you go for the green.
 
I hadnt been working for him very long (4 months) but we had a good relationship on and off the course; thank goodness, too. As we get to the tee, I hand him the 5-iron, just like we had done in the practice round and in Round 1. He takes a couple of practice swings and then backs off and comes over to the bag and says, Im so mad right now, I just wanna hit driver. The problem was he had been babying the driver all day and wasnt hitting it particularly well ' a dangerous combination on a short par 4 with out of bounds right.
 
So I said to him, Hey, 5-iron is the play and well hit wedge tight. He steps back to the ball with 5-iron in hand, but hes shaking his head like hes not happy. So I call him back to the bag, Pro... (he looks over) come here. I move the bag closer to him as he steps towards me. Gimme it, I say holding my hand out. He hands me the 5-iron. I take the head cover off the driver and hold it out. He takes it but I dont let go. I yank him towards me, look him in the eyes and say, If youre gonna hit it, (blankin) HIT IT. Ill never forget the look on his face ' eyes wide knowing I wanted him to go ahead and tear the cover off it. And man did he hit it. Over the back of the green! We got up and down for birdie.
 
Well, the writers block is gone. Thanks yall! Something special is going to happen this week, a story no one knows about yet. I can feel it.
 
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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