Time to start the Florida swing! There are challenges for caddies coming east. Lucky for all of you I did this late, so I could ask about the Tiger video. PGA National is a tough course, but is the Bear Trap what worries caddies at the Honda Classic?
And how does this caddie feel about drug testing in the Olympics?
All of these important questions get what you might think are surprising answers. Enjoy.
Collins: You just came off the course, so?
Caddie: The course is actually in pretty good condition. They did not overseed the fairways this year. The fairways are a little tighter and obviously not as green. But still plenty of rough around!
Collins: Everyone talks about "The Bear Trap" (Nos. 15,16 and 17), but what you really need to worry about is ...
Caddie: The start of the back nine. It's only two holes, but if you're starting on 10 and 11 or even making the turn ... they are two of the hardest holes on the course, depending on wind direction. Yeah, you [would] be pretty happy to par those two every day.
Collins: What's the hardest thing for the caddie coming from the West Coast to the East Coast?
Caddie: Jet lag (laughs). And probably no In-N-Out [burger] (laughs harder).
Collins: What about Five Guys?
Caddie: They shouldn't even be compared to each other. In-N-Out is a good "fast-food" burger. Five Guys is a good burger.
Collins: So you don't consider Five Guys fast food?
Caddie: I don't. It's fast casual.
Collins: We're on the same page. Caddie mentality. Chipotle isn't fast food either.
Caddie: Correct. It's imitation healthy food. Because it can be healthy in comparison to what everyone sometimes eats, but in reality it's not that healthy ... Kind of healthy if you go easy on the toppings.
Collins: Where's "the spot" this week?
Caddie: I gotta put the shout out to The Brass Ring Pub. There's a good hole-in-the-wall burger for ya. Very good spot to go and have a burger and have a drink, and then head back to the [rented] house and get some sleep.
Collins: You're making me hungry, so let's get back to the course. Explain to people the difference in the putting surface you're coming from (poa annua) to the Bermuda greens of Florida.
Caddie: Well, poa annua greens generally are not very grainy and reasonably bumpy. And they get bumpier as the day goes on. You can hit the same putt three or four times on poa annua and have a bump in different directions because it gets quite uneven as the day goes on. Whereas on Bermuda, it's a much purer surface [and] it tends to roll more pure and straight more often, but you do have to allow for the grain ... to hole putts on it.
Collins: What was the talk on the driving range when news of the Tiger video came out today?
Caddie: I guess I'm in the wrong circles because the people I've been around haven't been talking about it.
Collins: Nothing at all?
Caddie: No. When did it come out?
Collins: This morning.
Caddie: Well, we were at the course already working. So not in the circles we were in. No one talked about it around us. So Tiger released a video?
Collins: [We talk about what led up to the video, and the video itself.]
Caddie: It sounds just like normal whispers on the PGA Tour. Rumors go around, people talk about it, and things get blown out of proportion. And there's really nothing to it. When he's ready, and he's better, we'll see him back. I hope it's sooner rather than later.
Collins: Caddies being drug tested for the Olympics and not earning medals. As a caddie, how does that sit with you?
Caddie: Personally, in our role or in our job, I have no problem whatsoever if they chose to drug test us. I have no issue with that whatsoever. But, having said that, what is the point? I don't feel there's anything to be gained by caddies being on any type of substance. Whether that be performance enhancing or performance reducing (chuckles), but either way, I don't see the point. Now in regards to medaling, that's a different story altogether. Do coaches medal? [Does] the coxswain in rowing medal?
Collins: [I inform him that they do in fact medal]
Caddie: Then if they medal, I believe, yes, the caddies should probably medal. Now [if] the coxswain [didn't] medal, that's a different story altogether.
Collins: Coaches and trainers don't medal and aren't drug tested, but they're also not on the field of play.
Caddie: Correct. And that's a big difference. The only parallel I could draw would be like a coxswain in a rowing event. ... It would be best to follow the regulations they follow. So yes, if they medal and are drug tested, then the same should happen for us.
Collins: You sound ...
Caddie: It's a really tricky question. How does any form of drug aid in the performance of a caddie? I have no clue. Maybe some people know that answer, but personally, I can't think of a way that would help. Probably only reduce the performance.
Collins: Even if I gave you a pill that gave you a superhuman ability to see wind and/or read greens, you know what that means when it's time to hit the shot?
Caddie: (Laughs thoughtfully) ... As important as our role is, and as important as it is for us to do everything we can to aid our player, we still have to this day ... from the beginning of time when that Scotsman hit his rock around the sheep field, we [caddies] have never hit a shot yet. And we will not ever hit a shot.