Chat with Michael Collins
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Friday, ESPN.com golf writer, and former caddie, Michael Collins chats live from the TPC Scottsdale Golf Course in Scottsdale, Ariz., site of the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Collins, who joined ESPN in August 2011, started his career as a stand up comedian and became a caddy by accident. He started looping for fun in 1999, but by 2003 decided to make it a full-time gig. He was the caddy for Chris Couch in 2003 when he won the Nationwide Tour championship.
Collins has never won an award for his writing, but he'll tell you that's probably because he failed high school English and still types with only his index fingers. But he's smart, funny and, most importantly, knows the game and what players and caddies go through on a weekly basis.
Send your questions now and join Collins Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Collins (3:00 PM)
Welcome back everyone! Let's jump right in. How many of you have been to the TPC Scottsdale for the tourney? Is it on your bucket list?
Dan (New York)
What's a week like for a caddy when preparing for a tournament?
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
Sunday or Monday is usually a travel day. Tuesday on course practice round if you're not in the pro am, if you are, practice with player and get some work done doing yardages checking yardage book and rolling greens making sure notes are tight. Wednesday practice or play pro am, verify and have strategy with player, Thursday... It's ON!!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Lowest Score in the Whole Entire PGA Tour Match in History?
Michael Collins (3:03 PM)
59 for 18 holes, 254 for 72 holes
Tiger has obviously done more for the growth of golf during the last 15 years. Should golf/The Tour be looking or cultivating another Tiger-esque player to arrive in the next five or ten years?
Michael Collins (3:05 PM)
Can't do that (cultivate) you just have to wait for the next "one" to rise and then jump on his back and hang on for dear life. Force marketing a guy who's not winning won't fly with fans in the long run.
Michael Collins (3:08 PM)
A few years back Oakley had a sign in the tunnel going to 16 Green that read, "Rock stars all want to be golfers. Golfers all want to be rockstars. The stage is yours." This year Under Armour has a sign at the entrance to the tunnel. "Protect This House. I will." What would your sign say?
I mean really, why do we have to keep quiet at golf tournaments? I talk in my back swing all the time(doesn't hurt...or help) If the Tour encouraged a more lively environment, it might bring out more spectators.
Michael Collins (3:11 PM)
One of the things that makes the sport so good is the nature of everything becoming quiet, that is what makes it harder than other sports. Knowing all eyes are on you for that 1 second swing. I think it's why some guys hit bad shots under that pressure cooker. Don't wanna lose that.
You on-site at 16 today? If so, any difference in what the experience there is like now that you're reporting on it instead of trying to help a player get through it?
Michael Collins (3:15 PM)
Much easier being in the stands, but much less exciting. Love the adrenaline rush of trying to figure out how jacked up player is and where the wind is, etc. then crowds reaction as you walk to green. Priceless
Any conversations with Kyle Stanley and Waldo this week? Looks like they did all the right things, and Kyle came out this week playing well. How do you recommend they rebound??
Michael Collins (3:17 PM)
I interviewed Kyle on Tuesday, (hugged him on camera, he laughed) but he realized how well he played to put himself in that position and was gonna draw on that experience instead of dwelling on the failure. Seems to have worked.
Can we take much from Tiger's last performance? Sure he finished high, but he actually faltered down the stretch.
Michael Collins (3:19 PM)
What we take from from that performance is that his progression has been slower than we (he) were hoping for. But it's progression none the less. His performance next week at Pebble will really give us an understanding of where he is.
Care to pick a winner for this week?
Michael Collins (3:21 PM)
Well I like the way Spencer Levin is playing right now and he gets to -13 by the end of the day he might be tough to catch, but when Bubba is ON, he could have a huge weekend. Gotta cut down on mistakes though.
Any cool things you've heard so far out at 16?
Michael Collins (3:22 PM)
The crew on the tee was singing to a player, check the golf homepage later, there might be video. ;)
if you're a caddy and you're on a new bag, what's the best way to go about getting to know your golfer?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
Great question. The best way is to watch and listen. When I caddied for Michael Thompson for one round in the playoffs last year, we spent 45 minutes together the day before on the range, I watched him hit balls and asked him about his favorite shot and by the end of the session we knew we were gonna be a good team.
what are some of the best pieces of SWAG being given out by the players at the 16th this week? and who are the players giving them??
Michael Collins (3:26 PM)
Bunch of players giving out hats and t shirts, but Scott Piercy was gonna throw Swiftwick socks to the crowd. That's cool, and those socks are not cheap.
Does anyone on tour need a win more than Rickie Fowler? He's a good kid with talent, but if he doesn't win soon visions of Anna Kournikova are dancing through my head
Michael Collins (3:28 PM)
That kinda goes to the question that was brought up earlier on whether the tour should cultivate the face of golf. Puts more pressure on the guy and it's not fair. I think Rickie will win but the longer it takes the harder it's gonna be. It's why so many first time winners last year did it, they didn't have that extra pressure.
Mike - saw ya hobnobbin' with Bubba and Woodland and searching for golf balls in garbage cans, were you guys discussing Gronkowski's sprained ankle?
Michael Collins (3:29 PM)
Nah, we were laughing about the sandwich Bubba pulled out of his bag and that Woodland thought it was a cheeseburger. Who carries a cheeseburger in their golf bag! And when Bubba saw where Woodland was he said, "you gotta play it." We all laughed.
Interesting comparison: Golfer over ball in hushed atmosphere/Batter facing 95 MPH fast ball with 50,000 fans screaming.
Michael Collins (3:31 PM)
50,000 screaming fans is ambient background noise. That's why it's such a distraction for a golfer when that one person makes a noise or a cell phone goes off. That's why guys on the 16th can hit and don't back off cause there's always a constant buzz in the background
Just more on Tiger's performance - remember, if his ball doesn't hit the pin, or his ball drops 1 foot less and doesn't roll into the back bunker on 10, he could have won. Can't wait for Pebble! Will you be there?
Michael Collins (3:32 PM)
I will be there. I'm caddying for George Lopez for the week. We do it every year for the last 5. Gonna be AWESOME, and don't worry there will be LOTS on our website!!
How much time do a caddie and player generally spend together during non-tournament weeks?
Michael Collins (3:33 PM)
that really depends on whether or not they live close together.
For those of us that actually try to keep the course nice for the next people, what's the quickest, most efficient way to rake the bunker?
Michael Collins (3:35 PM)
Walk in and out in the same foot prints, take the rake with you in the bunker, then rake towards yourself on the way out. Quick and easy! And it drives me NUTS when guys don't rake after they play out, wanna run em over with my cart!
I'm fine with silence in golf, still think it's kind of silly in tennis.
Michael Collins (3:36 PM)
never thought about it in tennis especially since after the serve the crowd can do what they want!
Should caddies be allowed to line up pro's for shots. Seems like alignment should be something a pro can do, and it slows down play
Michael Collins (3:37 PM)
yeah, caddies should be allowed to line up players! You're asking a caddie. If he's not lined up where he thinks he is, that starts messing with my money if we're missing cuts!!
Michael Collins (3:38 PM)
How much of a lead after the second round is too big to be caught?
Ok taking out caddie self interest :), maybe we should let caddies putt for them too, Bobby Brown couldn't do much worse on 3-footers than DJ
Michael Collins (3:40 PM)
Ouch, HA HA! I do see what you're saying though. It can slow play down , but most of the golfers that have their caddies line them up take that into account with the 45 seconds they're allowed.
Michael Collins (3:42 PM)
Spencer Levin makes a par on 15, he's going to 16 with a 4 shot lead... he's gonna be mad and now belly full of butterflies. This is a big hole for him coming down the stretch today
Chuck (Durango, co)
Ever played Papago or ASU Karsten? I'm looking for some good but affordable courses to play in the Phoenix area.
Michael Collins (3:43 PM)
I have not. I've played Troon, TPC, and Whisper Rock
Chuck (Durango, co)
How does McIlroy look this week?
Michael Collins (3:45 PM)
He looks great sitting on his couch. He's not playing here in AZ or at the European Tour event
Slow play is getting ridiculous. Gonna kill tv golf. How can playing partners put up with a snail in their group?
Michael Collins (3:47 PM)
And ironically enough if was Nicklaus that started the tv slow play era! Most guys when they see they are gonna be paired with a slow player are mentally prepared, so they play at a good pace and then try to be ready when the tour official comes over and says pick the pace up.
Any thoughts on Phil's lawsuit? Philosophically I agree with him, but policing the internet is hard and he's brought the comments a lot more attention
Michael Collins (3:50 PM)
I didn't even know there was one til yesterday. It's a fine line between letting people make up stuff and going after them because it's now bring attention to something that wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention if there wasn't a lawsuit filed, but how many lies do you let someone say?
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
Spencer Levin birdies 16, crowd goes BANANAS
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
Hit it to just inside 8'
In honor of the caddy races, whose the fastest caddy on tour?
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
depends on distance, but there's a few quick dudes out here! Caddies also know about the wagering that goes on in the stands and they'll play with the crowds when they get close to the green
Michael Collins (3:56 PM)
Gotta go watch Spencer finish and talk to him after his round, it'll be on espn.com/golf later today! Thanks for a fun hour. We'll do it again Monday. Same Bat time, same Bat channel!!
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