The upside: Fly on a private jet; earn over $500,000 a year; and this year, in four weeks, youd get a check for a cool $1 million. I wonder if Vijay Singh is going to walk around East Lake with the $9 million in his golf bag, because hes going to have it wrapped up by then (and the PGA TOUR sings with Britney Spears, Oops We Did It Again). And if he does, he wont actually be carrying it; you will.
The downside: You no longer have a family; you may tell people you have a wife and kids at home, but they dont get to see you. And I am not being funny or vague. Dont bother bringing them out on the road because they cant talk to you while youre at the golf course. And when daddy gets home (to the hotel), hes exhausted from carrying that 40-pound bag around for six hours. When you hear Vijay is taking a week off, you better know that its just from tournaments, not from work. Youre working that week in Ponte Vedra Beach at TPC Sawgrass, at least eight hours a day, at least five days during that week off.
Travel ... yes in that private jet. Sightseeing in India are you nuts? While your boss is doing the press stuff, you better be on the course getting all the greens read, because if he asks for a read and you give him the wrong one, youre going to hear about it and not just for a hole or two. Get a yardage or give a bad club? Get that Japanese sword out that your wife bought and do the honorable thing, because if you dont youll be looking for your ear lobes all over the course and theyre going to be chewed all to bits.
Oh, and while in India you get food poisoning, lose 20 pounds (not a bad idea for me), and are on a diet of rice water and Saltines.
Still sound like that glamour job you dreamed it would be?
OK, how about having to let your boss dress you down in front of people, sometimes your friends, and having to keep your mouth shut for fear of losing your job or fear of your player blaming your comeback comment on his bad play? You think that flight on that cool private jet is fun after missing the cut. Think about that uncomfortable silence, and stretch it out to three or four hours.
Now let me back up because you, and probably the man himself, will think Im throwing Vijay under the bus. Im not; hes my friend and so is his caddie. Hes one of the guys out here who gets a bad rap. Hes great to be around, and has a sense of humor that can make it hard to breathe when youre laughing hard.
Theres just a difference between friend and boss, and when you work for any player you have to know the difference (on the course and off). Im just letting you know that being a caddie may seem like a really glamorous job; its not. Its hard work, and even though some of it is physical, 70 percent is mental. Some days your player needs you to be talkative, some days they need you to be quiet, and if you dont know which days are which youll be fired quickly. All professional golfers are nuts, and caddies are only one floor below the players in the nuthouse.
A few years back, Vijays caddie quit and I had just been let go by my boss. We had a brief conversation about getting together. I went home and talked to my wife about it. I told her what it may take to work for a guy like Vijay, who puts his all into the game, but gets as much from it. Even before we had our first child what she said: I love you. I want us to be a family. Ill see you in two years. Go get that money, boy!
Thats my girl!
So Vijay, when this caddie quits, call me. Ill take two years to go.
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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