World Series Whirlwind

By Michael CollinsOctober 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
Pat Perez and Sean OHair are texting me as our team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have just won the World Series. I'm smiling and crying at the same time, but not for the reasons you might think.
 
Let me go back a few days. Its Monday night and Im at the World Series. I left Phoenix at 10:20 a.m. and landed in Philadelphia at 6:01 pm. My best friend Jose picked me up at the airport, we found parking at the stadium and were in our seats at 7:45 p.m. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. ' everything is timing out perfectly.
 
Last week during the Frys.com Open, Pat Perez is trying to decide whether hes going to the game. We are having some serious discussions about what he should do while hes playing the tournament, and apparently it doesnt affect his play that much because hes inside the top 10 while all this is going on.
 
Hes good friends with Phillies third baseman Pat Burrell, and Pats got two tickets for him if he can get to Game 5; hes also got a special place in the stadium during the regular season where he gets to watch the games (side note ' Pat has driven his black Ferrari F430 to the course this week. I dont know whether to hug him or kick him in the family jewels.)
 
See, Pat has to play in the Ginn this week in Florida and for him to go to the game from Phoenix would be tough. So we (like I really had anything to do with his decision) decide that if the Phils win on Saturday and Sunday hed go. Dont want to miss the Phillies win the second championship in the teams 126-year history do ya?
 
On Friday afternoon I got a ride in Bubba Watsons new lime green Lamborghini. And yes it has a matching interior, but unlike what most of you think... it looks gooooood! When we took it out around the clubhouse and gunned it, Shane Bertsch said he heard it on the eighth tee box, which is a looong way away from where Bubba and I
were. Actually Shane turned to his little brother Jesse, who caddies for him, and said, Motorcycle? Jesse laughed and shook his head, No dude, bigger.
 
The irony of the moment was when I later saw Shane and Jesse, they asked me where Bubba went in the lime green Lambo. In-N-Out Burger, I say without batting an eye, because if there is one guy you could picture taking a Lamborghini to an 'In and Out' it would be Bubba. OK, maybe Boo would do it, too. They are from the same town!
 
Funny thing is, Shane says, Mmmmm, 'In-N-Out' sounds good. Which one did he go to? And I proceed to give him directions to the closest one to the course. Free catered fancy lunch in the clubhouse after a tough day on the course? Nope, double-double with fries and a chocolate shake. These are my kind of millionaires.
 
Now its Sunday night, the Phils have won both Game 3 and 4 so they have a chance to win the whole dang thing on Monday night. I call Jose and give him my flight info and tell him to keep his fingers crossed.
 
A car picks me up at 6:45 a.m. to go to the airport. Anthony from Bulgaria is my driver. Great guy with some funny stories about how cheap everything used to be back in his country (if you went in to a club with a U.S. $50, the club was yours for the night, and everyone inside included!), but not any more. Of course, day late/dollar short wont help your tip though big man if we dont pull this off. We get to the airport by 7:40 but Im not staying. I run inside to the USAirways counter and try to check in.
 
Yes, Im Michael Collins checking in for the 10:20 flight.
 
Youre early Mr. Collins, I can get you on the 9:10.
 
Uh, no thank you. I wont make it on time.
 
Sir the gate is just upstairs. Now shes looking annoyed.
 
I explain my evil plan. She laughs but not a nice laugh, more like, good luck with that. Then she turns and starts helping another lady at the counter while holding my boarding passes and baggage claim checks.
 
Are you trying to be funny maam?
 
Oh Im sorry sir, here are your boarding passes and claim checks.
 
If I didnt think youd kick me off this plane Id make a smart aleck remark to you lady!
 
Back out front and into the car. Go Anthony!!! To the sound studio.
 
I had booked an hour at a local sound studio to do my voice over work on The Turn, but an hour is not a whole lot of time to do it so wed have to be perfect.
 
Make it to the studio by 8:10 and get set up, but theres a problem with the connection. Something doesnt sound right and the clock is ticking... 8:30... 8:35... OK lets go!! By the grace of the Almighty, I get it done by 9:05 and make it back to the airport and through security as they are calling my flight to board.
 
I got Jose and my tickets ' section 136, row 1, seats 7 and 8. Third base side on the field right behind the tarp! And yes, I paid for them. ALOT!
 
Now coming from Phoenix where it was 90 degrees with 9% humidity, I wasnt completely prepared for the rain (I was smart enough to pack warm clothes). But Jose had brought clear trash bags that we had to poke a hole in to see and breathe. Didnt matter though, it was the Series with my best friend.
 
Then everything went to hell. Game gets postponed. I stay and rebook a flight out for Wednesday; until Tuesday at 11 a.m. when I find out from an inside source that theyre going to wait till Wednesday to finish. My producer at XM Radio tells me if I am thinking about staying, I need to call the BIG boss and talk it over with him. We all know what that means. So yours truly is on a flight Tuesday afternoon back to Florida.
 
So here I sit writing this to all of you, smiling because my team won the World Series, crying because I wasn't there to see the end in person.
 

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
 
Email your thoughts to Michael Collins
 
Related Links:
  • Michael Collins Archive
  • Getty Images

    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

    Getty Images

    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

    Getty Images

    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

    Getty Images

    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”