Wachovia the Fifth Major


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.
What makes great golf? What makes a great course? Do you like seeing guys making lots of birdies or do you wanna see guys struggle to make pars?
This week we are playing the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, NC. This is a tournament that after the first year it was played was being talked about as the fifth major. I'm sure the suits at Ponte Vedra were none too pleased to hear that kind of talk. But what did Quail Hollow do that made them so special so fast? I call it 'The Total Package.
First, and most importantly, the course. Quail Hollow has that perfect mixture of long and short holes; the trick is they all make you think. No. 6 is a 250-yard downhill par-3 that's surrounded by trees (makes the wind swirl). Yesterday during the pro-am I'm standing on the tee talking to guys who hate this hole and I LOVED it! One guy said, 'It's a green designed for a 7-iron and we're hitting 3-woods into it. It's bull...!' I looked him in the eyes and said, 'Well then you shouldn't hit your 3-wood as high as my 7 iron.' Everyone standing on the tee laughed except the pro. Ooops.
But the hole right afterwards is a reachable par-5. See, give and take is what golf is to me and this course is just that. Give me a couple of holes that I think I could make birdie on, then gimme me a couple of those holes that I can watch guys slam clubs into the ground, get caught cursing on TV about, and just look like, 'What the heck do I do here?' Of course that's me 'the fan' talking; me 'the caddy' has a love-hate relationship with the course.
The second thing that makes this tournament the best is the treatment, across the board, of the people. Yes, we hear all the time about the perks for the players and their families. But this tournament goes three steps further. It takes care of the players, caddies, volunteers and fans. Don't have a ticket to the tournament? Not to worry in Charlotte, just go to the event and when someone leaves you can buy the ticket they just used for like 10 bucks! Yep, like waiting for someone to get back from test driving a car and getting to buy the car at a discount. There's even valet parking for the caddies! Something you don't like about the set up? Tell them and they listen, imagine.... REAL customer service at a golf tournament!?
And, of course, I wouldn't be a caddie if I didn't mention the attractiveness of the crowds. I gotta tell you, every week in the caddie trailer and locker room we argue about which tournament has the best looking crowd. I say Charlotte wins, hands down. Many have argued that Phoenix (FBR) or Dallas (Bryon Nelson) should be ranked higher but I say they rank 3rd and 4th, respectively.
What makes this week so good: natural beauty - can someone be as beautiful getting out of the shower as they were going in? Or is paint thinner required before calling it a night? Does the one you're looking at outside the ropes have all their own parts or were some purchased at Wal-Mart? Do the majority of said spectators have on shoes appropriate for a golf tournament? Yes, we look. Guys don't come to a tournament wearing your golf shoes; you don't look 'cool.' You look like you think by some miracle of God someone is gonna ask you to play (cause you know you have your clubs in the trunk of your car). Let that dream go, it ain't gonna happen.
And ladies if you're wearing heels at a golf tournament, yeah we're looking at you, but not cause you're cute. We're trying to figure out which hole you're gonna fall down on or which hole we can see you in the medical tent getting band-aids for your blisters. Heels at a golf course don't make you look sexy; they make you look stupid. This tournament has the least amount of amazing looking stupid people.
Could there be a 5th major? How mad would THE PLAYERS be if another tournament took that titl, they assumed was their birth right, and it's the week before? I don't know. I'm not even trying to get into that argument. I just know a great golf event when I get to one.
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