Dont Diss Flint

By Michael CollinsJune 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Flint, Mich., is the 2nd best stop on TOUR. Yep, I said it.
Flint, MI? Seriously?! Thats the response I get from people when they ask me to rate the TOUR stops for the best looking, most-fun-after-golf crowd.
Heres how it stacks up:
No. 1 Charlotte, N.C. (Wachovia Championship)
No. 2 Flint, Mich. (Buick Open)
No. 3 Scottsdale, Ariz. (FBR Open)
No. 4 Hilton Head, S.C. (Verizon Heritage)
No. 5 (tie) Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas (Byron Nelson and Colonial)
Now every tournament has something about it that we all love. (Thats my way of saying, The course is in the best shape Ive ever seen it.) But what makes Flint so special?
Through in-depth scientific testing and many exit polls (OK, I made those up, but I did talk with a lot of guys) I have figured out why there are so many beautiful people in a suburb an hour south of Detroit. And theres the big hint! In the glory days of the auto industry, big wig executives and their trophy wives lived here. And those people had kids... see where this is going? Now that the auto industry has somewhat crashed in the last few years, the best party in town is when the TOUR comes for the week. The Redwood Lodge is the place to be Friday and Saturday night -- players, caddies, TV, radio, etc. etc. etc.
Great food, inexpensive drinks, and an outdoor bar that can hold about a thousand people, puuuhleeeeease! How can it not be a good time? Maxies is a little dive bar just down the street that has live music every night and is one of those places you drive by and go, NO WAY! There are good looking people in there? Youd be wrong, big time. I guess Im gonna get in a lot of trouble by my friends out here for calling out the sleeper event of the year for us, but it is time. The people deserve to know!
Tuesday night is one of the best ... Caddie Bowling tournament!
Greg Piddler Martin, who caddies for Dan Forsman, for the last 20 years (15 years at the same place, Town and Country Bowling) has been running the caddie bowling tournament. Caddies pair up and bowl three games against the field. Adult beverages flow, rental shoes get passed out, house bowling balls get sized to fingers (youd be amazed at how many guys roll 12 pounders, light by bowling standards), then silence as the national anthem is played. Another moment of silence for the caddies weve lost in the past year... then...
ITS ON!!!!
Many side wagers are made, especially when pros come out to play, and they do come out to play, too, which is hilarious to see if a guy is the same on the lanes as on the course (50% of the time they are, and half of the time theyve had enough to drink that their true nature comes out)!
I remember a couple of years ago when players wouldnt bowl but hang out behind the caddies and bet on their caddies every roll. By the third game heated (not really, lets say loud) exchanges were taking place between players over who bet what, then players would scream at their caddies, YOU MISS THIS SPARE AND YOURE WORKING FOR _______ NEXT WEEK!
This year I was planning on just going to watch you know, research for this column! Of course as soon as I get to the bar, Im recruited to bowl. (I hope they have a good disinfectant, I didnt wear socks for this.) Im paired up with Kip Henley, Brian Gays caddie and winner of Big Break II, a good friend from back in the day. We each drink a beer and decide we can win this thing. I roll a 167 the first game and he rolls a 150! We are right where we want to be, then disaster strikes (and not literally!).
I roll a 94 the second game, probably shouldnt have let my XM co-workers keep bringing me drinks, because they are definitely not working. Kip throws a 127 and is wondering, out loud, where his partner has gone. Third game is at least respectable (138) but now we know we cant win -- but we had so much fun weve decided to hook up again next year, contingent on my promise to only have one beer.
Michelle Spalding, bless her heart, is trying her best to collect all the scorecards from a bunch of very happy caddies. We give high-fives and were back to the bar where I learn the results...
Congrats to Matthew Hall (Mark Hensbys caddie) and Jim Walters (former caddie for Chad Collins) for winning the 20th Annual Caddie Bowling Tournament. Woody Austin and his caddie Brent Henley finished second (they were defending champs!) just a few pins better than Jiffy Jeff Kaleta (caddie for Gavin Coles) and John Go-Go Glinski (caddie for John Huston). Next year Eric Big E Bajas takes over as tournament director as Piddler and Dan Forsman make their way to the Champions Tour.
Aaaaaaaaah, Flint, Mich: Dont come to this tournament, its our little secret. OK, you can come, but dont tell anybody how good it is!
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.
Email your thoughts to Michael Collins
Related Links:
  • Michael Collins Archive
  • Getty Images

    CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

    The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

    Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

    Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

    Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

    TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

    Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

    Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

    Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

    Key stats:

     This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

    • 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

    The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

    Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

    Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

    Getty Images

    Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

    Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

    While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

    Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

    "It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

    In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

    "There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

    Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

    "The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."

    Getty Images

    CIMB champ Leishman hopes to improve on CJ runner-up

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

    Marc Leishman is back in Korea with momentum on his side, hoping to fare a little better than a year ago.

    Leishman nearly took home the trophy in the inaugural CJ Cup, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Justin Thomas. But the Aussie put his approach into the water on the second extra hole, allowing Thomas to wrap up the win a few minutes later.

    "Excited to be back in Korea. I have a lot of good memories here at this golf course," Leishman told reporters. "Hopefully I can play well again and go one better than last year."

    Leishman's playoff loss kick-started a strong opening stretch to his wraparound season, but he closed it without a victory. That drought ended in emphatic fashion last week, as he cruised to a five-shot win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for his fourth career PGA Tour win and his third since March 2017.

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

    Leishman told reporters last week in Malaysia that before the week started, his driving was so crooked that he feared his equipment reps might need to add a few golf balls to his locker. Instead, he found his groove en route to shooting 26 under par at TPC Kuala Lumpur and leaving the field in his wake.

    "Golf's a funny game. It can change very quickly from bad to good or from good to bad," Leishman said. "It was certainly a goal of mine to win this season, and to win my first event of the season is great. Also to be going back to Maui puts me in a different frame of mind for the whole year. For a lot of reasons, I'm really happy with what last week brought."

    Leishman played on the Korean PGA Tour in 2006 while getting his pro career off the ground, but even with that experience he expects a learning curve while going from the steamy conditions of Malaysia to the cool and wet climate that has greeted players this week on Jeju Island.

    "It's a big adjustment going from so hot and humid last week to fairly cold and hopefully not wet, but it was wet this morning," Leishman said. "The ball goes different distances, your body's not quite as loose as what it is when it's hot. Just little things like that that you have to adjust to."

    Getty Images

    Bowditch eyes same fusion surgery as Tiger

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:03 pm

    After struggling through a couple lean years on the course, Steven Bowditch is ready to go under the knife.

    Bowditch has won twice on the PGA Tour, and the Aussie was a member of the International Team at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea. But his game fell apart shortly thereafter, as Bowditch has made just two cuts in his last 40 starts dating back to July 2016 while putting up some eye-popping scores.

    Bowditch's exemption for his win at the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson expired in August 2017, and he spent last season without full-time status on Tour for the first time since 2010. He made eight starts, notably finding a caddie via Twitter search before missing the cut at the John Deere Classic in July.

    But the 35-year-old revealed Tuesday that his on-course struggles have been tied to some health concerns that have been difficult to pinpoint. Having finally received the appropriate diagnosis, he is preparing for a spinal fusion surgery next month between the L5 and S1 vertebrae - the same two that Tiger Woods successfully fused last year:

    Bowditch's estimate of a "late 2019" return likely means he'll miss the entire 2018-19 season. When he returns he would do so with past champion status based on his wins, which also included the 2014 Valero Texas Open.