Tough Track and Caddie Race


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.
This week is my first time to Dublin, Ohio and Jacks tournament, The Memorial. From what Ive been told its like a mini Augusta around here. So far, everyone has been very nice and polite. The course is extremely hard. Deep bunkers with weird rakes that make deep grooves -- on purpose! The rough is deep enough that Mark Hensby told me if you get in it off the tee, Get your lob wedge cause thats all youre gonna be able to get out. And if you miss the greens in the rough... youre gonna be chipping twice cause the first one aint staying on the green.
The greens were running so fast in the practice rounds, theyre not gonna mow a couple of them, and a couple of them theyre just gonna roll cause theyre too fast (when greens get to 14 on the stimpmeter there is a tough time finding four pin placements per green).
Youre definitely not gonna see double digits win this week and thats exactly what they want here, but some of the guys on our broadcast think 4 OVER par might win. I hope not;, I understand nobody wants 17 under to win around here anymore, but dont we already have a U.S. Open?
By the way, did you know the course almost went under? They needed half a million dollars to keep the project going so they asked 50 guys to put up $10,000 each and they would have a lifetime membership, no strings. I wish I was related to one of those 50. Wait maybe I am... time for a Google family tree search!
Nope, no luck. Guess Ill be begging again.
Last week at Colonial there was a going on that I didnt get to tell yall about. The Caddie Races on the 13th.
The 13th green is past the 14th tee so when a player hits the green, caddies lay the golf bag down and only have to carry the towel to the green after handing their player the putter. A few years ago some college kids thought it would be fun to bet on which caddie would get to the green first. It has since become a HUGE event that even the caddies get into, and the tournament sells t-shirts($20) and hats($30).
Thursdays and Fridays there are threesomes and since the crowd doesnt know the caddies names (and the tournament was smart on this), each player in the tee time sheet has his caddies bib identified by color (White, Khaki, Maroon). The fun part is when all three caddies are into it, this is what you hear...
Lets go RED!
Pick it up White, I got 20 on you!!
Now a lot of times all three caddies will slowly walk towards the green, each taking a turn in the lead which gets the crowd into a frenzy, then one caddie will get to the edge of the green and walk around the edge (first one to touch green wins) while the other two catch up. The crowd is foaming at this point. Then on the weekends when they play in twosomes, if youre lucky, two caddies will drop the bags, line up and sprint FULL OUT to the green to see who wins. Well when this happens, the roars that erupt from that hole are as large as if someone just made eagle, and resonate around the course. Its funny to be on the course and have someone ask, Someone just holed a big putt. And I turn to them and say, No, Vijays caddie just beat KJs caddie to the green on 13.
There are very few tournaments that would embrace an act of cheering on caddies, but even the players and caddies who choose not to participate enjoy it. Nothing can make a guy who is 5 over and either missing the cut or is not in the hunt smile quicker than seeing his caddie racing.
The crowd doesnt care what your score is and the caddie gets to be in the spotlight for a hole. Which can be a nice break for a player once in a while. I do owe an apology to a caddie. I wrote a couple weeks ago that Skillet who won the Caddie Par 3 contest at THE PLAYERS had hit the closest shot in the history of the event: 1 foot 5 inches. Who knew caddies read this little column.... One of my friends and biggest fans comes up to me at Colonial last week and says, Mike, I got a bone to pick with you! I thought he was gonna tell me I said something about his momma the way he was looking at me. You said Skillet had the record at the Par 3, but he doesnt have it. I GOT HIM BY ONE INCH!
Chris P. Jones, aka Crispy: 2004 Par 3 Caddy Shot, 17th Hole TPC Sawgrass - 14
I stand corrected.
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