PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Its time for the most fun week in California. The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, hosted by (my friend) George Lopez. Parties every night with celebrities, pros, and caddies hanging out drinking telling stories having a good ole time. Too bad the three of the four golf courses cant be as much fun as the parties. Will someone PLEASE tell the PGA TOUR the thing that made this tournament fun and brought the big names here was the easy golf courses! Its the second full field tournament (its actually a few short) of the year and in years past THIS was where guys could come knock the rust off by playing golf courses that were relatively short and easy. Thats why its a pro-am format.
Playing a 7,400-yard golf course in 35-mph winds with amateurs who tee off 100 yards in front of you is not fun for anybody. Of course, nobody wants to see 35 under win a golf tournament every week, but to do it in a pro-am format in the beginning of the year with celebs and amateurs is OK once a year. Sure Phil doesnt want to play in the celebrity rotation and even Ill give him a free pass on that one, but now it seems nobody wants to play here, and boy are they missing out.
But I found out why. A player to remain unnamed told me this, It used to be we played on a few 6,800-yard resort courses with a bunch of hacks and celebrity hacks. You could come out, shoot 68 everyday and miss the cut and THAT WAS COOL, because it was the second tournament of the year for most of the guys (the Mercedes is winners only) and they were just trying to get their feet wet again. Imagine being a rookie coming from Hawaii this year Just took the red-eye from Honolulu, slept about three hours on the flight in coach next to some fat dude who wanted to talk golf the whole time. I land in LA or Phoenix, wait two hours and catch another flight or drive to Palm Springs and Ive got 17 hours to learn 4 courses (3 BIG ones), eat 3 meals, and try to sleep a little bit. Hey where are all the veteran golfers?
Now flip it back to the past
Fly from Hawaii on the red-eye. Get to Palm Springs Monday afternoon. Sleep till 7:30 p.m., get up and go to a party with some celebrities Ive seen in movies and on TV. Get back to the room around 3 a.m. (Im still on Hawaii Time), kiss the model I met goodnight and, sleep till 1 p.m. Wake up, have some lunch at the course, go to the TOUR trailers and get the golf clubs adjusted. Hit balls for an hour, talk to new celebrity friends for an hour, find out where tonights party is gonna to be, call the model back with directions, laugh at the hacks trying to get practice round in at a resort course.
Go to party and meet new friends to talk golf and have a few drinks. Exchange funny stories about golf course antics and hear great stories about the Hollywood scene. Drive John Daly back to his bus (hes in NO shape to drive); he tells me he loves me and gives me a big wet kiss on the cheek EEEEEEEWWWWWW!!! Laugh anyway. Get up, get breakfast, warm up, and tell my caddy he has the wrong courses yardage book, giggle at the confused hung over look on HIS face. Go to the tee, meet my three new friends, giggle at the hung over look on THEIR faces, then shoot 68 on a resort course after hitting it all over the place. Do it all over again 3 more times. I make the cut on the number (12 under) and go out Sunday and shoot 67 with some tough pins, but Im hitting the ball great now. Finish in a tie for 47th. Call model and thank her for a great week, hope she had fun hanging out with me, too. Celeb friends call and say, See you next year? Put this tournament on my schedule EVERY YEAR!
Is it just me, or does that sound better than another tournament that 11 under wins after 5 days? Dont get me wrong, I love watching guys play tough golf courses and really have to focus on playing good smart golf, but every now and then I wanna see guys having fun on the course, shooting 59, messing around with the celebrities I know (who are hacks just like us) and spreading the love of the game. Is that wrong?
So tonight (Tues.) Im at a private party hanging out with some famous friends, enjoying great food, great conversation, and a couple of drinks. Im retelling the story (told to me by the player) of the player whose caddie sold his players rental car, clubs AND clothes for drugs! But Im thinking, this would be even better if he was here to tell the story himself. Then Cheech calls and says he needs a caddie 'cause he hasnt heard from his and I lose my train of thought 'cause I gotta call a friend and tell him to meet Cheech tomorrow morning. BUT I WANNA CADDIE FOR HIM! (sigh) Ps. You can ask who was at the party, but I wont tell. Sorry.
Email your thoughts to Michael Collins