Fight Club Caddie-Player

By Michael CollinsJuly 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
As most of my new loyal readers know I am not one to pretend to be somewhere I am not so I wanna start by telling everyone I am not at the John Deere Classic this week. I am in Pennsylvania hanging out with my mom and letting her have some quality time with her grandson. But hes taking a nap and I still felt a twinge of obligation to yall because I have received so many great letters of encouragement from those of you who get a kick out my stuff.
 
Heres a true story that happened to me at the John Deere Classic a few years ago when I was caddying:
 
Im caddying for Brenden Pappas; its his rookie year on TOUR. Hes struggling just a little bit with putting too much pressure on himself and every now and then having a meltdown. It was (later) clinically diagnosed as a sugar imbalance; I personally called it Progolferitis (because EVERY guy I know that plays gets it every now and then).
 
So Thursday were playing and not having a great day, not a bad day (Even through 12) but when youre suffering from Progolferitis any score is a disastrous score! So were on the short par-4 13th hole and Brenden, who hits it a long way, pulls out 3-wood, which is the right club to hit on this hole for him. Unfortunately he snap hooks it left into the fairway bunker and gets so mad he leans on the 3-wood til it pops!
 
Now weve got a 40 shaft and nothing attached to it because the head is in a bush. My boy turns to me and says, Hide this before I get a fine. So theres yours truly hiding a 3-wood head in the bag while putting the broken shaft in a Port-a-John for someone to find! In true infomercial fashion... But wait, theres more!
 
As we get to the bunker the ball has come to rest in, we see that we have a good lie. The front of the bunker is about 8 feet high, but were far enough back to where it wont be a problem. The green is slightly elevated and almost table-topped shaped, long and thin. The hole is back left. I get the rake, and stand just left of the bunker as Brenden gets in and settles his feet. He hits a shot that looks just a little left. As he cant see over the bunker he turns to me and says, WHERED THAT GO?! And I say, I couldnt see it, but it looked just a little left of the hole. Apparently that was the wrong answer because a bout of Progolferitis broke out. Heres the exchange (minus the expletives and there were ALOT of those in between)...
 
Pappas: What do you mean you didnt see it? Thats your job! Why are you out here with me if I cant count on you to see where the ball goes?!
 
Me: Youre 65 asking a guy 55 where the ball went?! If YOU cant see it how the (blank) am I gonna see it? I can barely see the top of the stupid bunker!
 
Now there are moments on the golf course when things seem at there worst and an exchange like this happens. Brenden, for a split second, looks ready to explode then realizes what just happened and tries not to laugh as he walks out of the bunker and watches his now FUMING short caddie stomp down in the sand and start raking (a thing to this day I hate doing). Now he goes to the green and a minute later I arrive to find his ball 8 feet from the pin on the green. Now I am ready to kill somebody and Brenden still has Golferitis so were probably not gonna talk for a couple holes. He misses the putt, taps in for par. Now he is in full blown, Stage 5, meltdown mode, and were even par and its only Thursday, God save us... But wait, theres more...
 
The 14th hole is a drivable par-4, but when the pin is on the front of the green we had decided to lay up because the wedge shot was easier than the pitch even though it was a blind second shot. We lay up with an iron off the tee in the first cut left; OK lie, but my man cant see straight cause hes in Stage 5 Progolferitis. Nothing I can do to save him now. He hits a lob wedge past the hole and it spins off the green. Oh boy... I had never seen a Stage 6 but my boy Brenden BIT the shaft of his lob wedge as we walked to the green!
 
I give him the pitching wedge, and walk to the back of the green to watch the chip (and because I need a minute to compose myself and figure out what the heck to do to calm my boy down). I turn around and Brenden hits the perfect chip, lands 5 feet short, rolls out, smacks the flagstick, and drops. Dead center. Two-hundred people surrounding go nuts, Brenden smiles, tips the cap to the fans and then turns to me with this blank eating grin on his face but there is no smile on my face.
 
I lift up my caddie vest and start unhooking my belt never letting my eyes leave Brendens. Then I start walking towards him as he is taking the ball out of the hole and now he is picking up his pace to get away from me and towards the next tee, this in front of all those people!
 
Dont hit me!! He says trying not to laugh, and trying to be quiet as the other two guys in the threesome have to putt out on the 14th green.
 
SEE... ALL THAT (BLANK) FOR THE LAST FIVE HOLES AND WERE 1 UNDER!? I AM GONNA WHOOP YOUR (BLANK) IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE!
 
But now I am laughing, too. Id love to tell you that we skipped off into the sunset and won the tournament but thats just not how real life works. Doesnt matter, though; we still laugh about that day together when we hang out.
 
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.
 
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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

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    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

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    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

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    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


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    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

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    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

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    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

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    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

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