Time for the Little Man


Im on stage Tuesday night with Olin Browne, who was one of the assistant captains of the Ryder Cup this year, having a blast telling the pro-am participants about the guys they are going to be playing with on Wednesday, and as theyre laughing at some of the things I am telling them about each player (like Robert Garrigus ex-caddie selling his RENTAL car ' true story!) I am realizing that this is my favorite time of year, especially for caddies.
This week a caddie, working for a guy youve probably never heard of like Garrigus, is going to make over $100k. And the next few weeks are going to be the same.
Some of the greatest stories out here on Tour arent the ones about Tiger, Phil, Ernie, and Camilo. Theyre about guys like Michael Allen. Heres a guy who been to Q-School so many times hes going to have to grow another foot to keep count.
But there he was coming down the stretch of this tournament last year not just trying to win but also trying to earn enough money to keep his job next year. And there was my friend Mike Maroney, carrying his bag, reading putts, in his ear with strong words of confidence, keeping his man striding towards a goal, trying not to focus on said goal.
And at the end of the day Sunday, second place alone, a check for $648,000 and no trip back to Q-School. Funny thing was, when I interviewed Michael Allen he said he didnt know what he was going to do now because he was so used to going to the Q. Guess he was going to have to take a nice vacation.
Maroney, recently single and a former athlete himself (javelin at the University of Texas), was still on that caddie high we get after a big finish, so sitting down with him as he dragged slowly on a cigarette, watching his eyes go from the size of UFOs back to normal, had me a little jacked up too.
Awesome, he kept saying over and over again. Then, We coulda won. (They finished two shots back of Steve Flesch but was the one golfer to shoot under 70 everyday.)
I know the feeling bro, it gets worse before it gets better too. But this is still goooooooooood.
He just nodded. I love and hate that feeling. You know you had a good week, helped your player lock up his card and got a nice paycheck for yourself, but that night as you lay in bed trying to go to sleep you start going through every shot of the day you help decide.
Any bogey that was made during the week gets replayed in your mind as you wonder if you gave the right read, the right club, called the correct wind direction. We grind over stuff like that as much as the players do. Although I think missing the cut by one is much worse for the players than the caddies, or maybe Ive just caddied for guys who miss too many cuts!
Being so close to a win and not getting it, sucks. You know how Red Sox fans have a nickname for Brett Boone, well I have a family member who feels the same way about Trevor Immelman. I have no ill will towards the man, in fact I would call him a friend, but he cost me a car by getting up and down from the water on the 18th hole on a Sunday afternoon and keeping my player from a second-place finish.
Who will be this years Michael Allen and Mike Maroney? A lot of you shut it down like Mickelson after the Tour Championship, but remember some of the best drama out on Tour happens in the next six weeks and the way my Eagles have broken my heart in two games so far this season(versus Dallas and Chicago), watching my friends coming down the stretch on a Sunday afternoon fighting to keep a job is pretty awesome.
Two quick heads up... First Olin Browne. Brother, anytime you want to be my straight man on stage at one of these pro-am parties, please join me. We had never shared the stage before, but worked together like Cheech and Chong (Ill be Cheech) and after the show no one believed we had never done it together before. At one point Olin whispered to me, We should be taping this. I know man, I know.
Olin, when youre done playing, we might just have something here.
And finally, I personally want to know what all of you would do (if anything) to the FedEx Cup next year. Lets play show me yours and Ill show you mine.
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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