Chat with Michael Collins
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Monday, ESPN.com golf writer Michael Collins brings his unique perspective as a former caddie into the chat.
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 Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Collins (3:00 PM)
Man did I mess up the timing of the drive from Gainesville to New Orleans. So today's chat is a FIRST!! Coming to you live from a Starbucks in Gulfport, MS... here's the fastest hour in golf!!! BRING IT!!!
At what age did you learn to golf?
Michael Collins (3:01 PM)
I learned late... I was 20 when I became addicted to this crazy game.
jack (New Orleans)
I think I should rephase the question. Will you be arriving today?
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
That question was from my "host" this week. I won't show you what he wrote the first time. Leave the door open for me Jack. I have video blogs to shoot at the course and I'll be at the house after that.
Why do spectators wear golf shoes to golf tournaments?
Michael, OK here is the deal. I am a golf snob. I'm sorry, but i am. This is mainly because I am about a 10 handicap.
Michael Collins (3:04 PM)
Most guys wear golf shoes at a tournament so they can "feel" like a golfer. Most of them also have their clubs in the trunk of their car... just in case the miracle happens, which never does. Some say they wear them for grip, it'd be easy to throw in a dirty joke here but instead I'll just say they are lying.
I think Foley went too far on SiriusXM, obviously Tiger can and should be criticized. But in the last few weeks in the media there have been articles criticizing for not having a learning center in Orlando, not wearing the right hat at the Tavistock cup, and being emasculated (analysis of playing poorly at the Masters), and these are all relatively main stream places. So is it possible that sometimes, some media, take it a tad to far? And are a tad to reactionary to every swing he takes?
Michael Collins (3:10 PM)
ABSOLUTELY the media takes it too far sometimes. And yes I realize that I am a part of that media and will be getting a call or email from someone saying you shouldn't say that. But you know what, it's true, and I'm not here to lie and say the media is just "doing there job" because we all know who drives golf. So if Tiger goes to Target and buys batteries and one place runs a story on it, we all have to run it. But guess what, you'll read/watch it, which means the cycle will continue.
Michael,I feel that you owe Tiger and his fan-base an apology for your increased negativity and and traitorous reporting surrounding Tiger and his game. How have you possibly gone from being so positive after Bay Hill to now being so doom and gloom after one bad performance. Tiger game is on the up and up and we will shortly see that the Masters performance was an exception, not the norm. TIGER IS GETTING AT LEAST TWO 'JORS THIS YEAR! YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
Michael Collins (3:14 PM)
Stees, you went from being a golf snob to a golf knucklehead. I am a fan of Tiger Woods, but I am also a realist who has caddied on the PGA Tour and seen this up close. Your speaking from your heart and not your head. Watching what Tiger did the final round of Honda and then all week at Bay Hill gave us a glimpse of what he could be and do again. What he has done since is further proof that the guy who is with us now is just like every other golfer on tour right now. Trying to find it. We all just look at the guy and remember what he was, not what he is.
Mike - There is this cool thing called the internet and it can tell you how long it will take to get from Point A to point B. You should check it out sometime...
Michael Collins (3:15 PM)
You let a computer tell you how fast you can go? MAN CARD REVOKED!
Don't get the Tiger hate. He's still a top 5 player. Top 5 dudes sometimes finish 40th in a major. Just ask Rory.
Michael Collins (3:18 PM)
Why is it that when I say Tiger is just good, I'm "hating" on my friend? If I told you he was gonna win the next three majors and would win 9 times this year, some of you would nod your heads (which would be just plain ridiculous). And then some would call me a punk for "pandering".
Also next time somebody talks about Tiger's poor putting, or loss of nerves could they maybe cite one stat to support their case? I mean he's 10th in putting on tour this year, and 2nd from 3-5ft, I want my nerves to be that bad
Michael Collins (3:21 PM)
You, better than most anyone else, should know how anyone can make numbers and stats look the way they want them too. But I agree with you, I wish my "nerves" were 10th bad. I just drink too much coffee. HAHA
Ed (Long Island)
Players looking more forward to the course this week or the entertainment value of New Orleans?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
Both. I will tell you this, if you want to go on a diet, don't even THINK aboutcoming to this tournament. The food... and this week is the first week of Jazz Fest so the music and entertainment factor is SKY high this week. Field is pretty strong too which tells you a bit about the course.
Michael, Tiger's next win and how many majors this year? I'm thinking he wins at Quail Hollow and takes at least 2 majors.
Michael Collins (3:26 PM)
You have got to be kidding me. What did you see at the Masters that showed you that? You ain't a 10 hcp, you're an 18 that thinks you're a 10. I'll send a limo for ya, bring cash.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
Let's forget Tiger for now. Big ups to Ben Curtis for winning the texas open this week. Seems like one of the nicest guys on tour. Let's hope Mike Wier can do the same thing this year...
Michael Collins (3:27 PM)
Ben is a really good guy. The key for Wier is to get starts, which I don't know he'll get a lot of this year.
Field being strong tells you more about the Zurich ambassador program
Michael Collins (3:30 PM)
"Ambassador Program"... love that name. It's like an Offensive minded Defense.
Ed (Long Island)
Do you think there is just too much money out there between purses and sponsors? I can't see how a tournament with over a $1 million first prize check can only draw 3 of the top 50 players in the world. This is even the 2nd week after a major. Seems crazy to me. And with a guy like Rickie Fowler still looking for that 1st PGA tour win, seemed like a good opportunity for him to tee it up.
Michael Collins (3:32 PM)
It's why the tour needs a 1 in 3 program. Players who keep their card have to play every tournament at least once every three years. It'll keep the under the table $ and backdoor corporate deals out of a players "schedule".
Not enough props being given to John Huh. First he takes out Allenby in an eight-hole playoff, then he goes from 8-over on his opening nine in Texas to almost winning the thing. And this is the poster child for who the PGA Tour will keep from getting his card with their new qualifying rules. Insanity.
Michael Collins (3:36 PM)
And if you're playing on the European Tour, are you gonna want to come here to Q-school to get a Nationwide Tour card? (say it slow and drawn out)PLEASE! But it's not about guys like John Huh and JB Holmes, it's a about the corporate cash flow continuing.
Does the Tx open get a better field next year with the new date, or does the course continue to drive all sane golfers (well sane by tour standards) into hiding or Indonesia for the week?
Michael Collins (3:36 PM)
you think Valero would re-up thru 2018 if they thought they were gonna keep getting a weak field?
Thoughts on Westwood playing in Indonesia? I guess a win is a win, but I don't know why anyone would play a non-US or Euro Tour event this time of year. Except for a reasonably large appearance fee...
Michael Collins (3:40 PM)
How much would it take to get you to go? We all have a number. What did he have to lose by going? He's not #1 so it's not like he was going to care about losing OWGR points AND he gets a big check no matter what... I don't have an issue with it
Instituting a 1 in 3 would be a lot of bureaucracy. Why not just increase the minimum number of starts to 17 or 18? Adding two or three events for everybody has to increase field strengths across the board.
Michael Collins (3:43 PM)
Because that would still leave tournaments out in the cold. And with a year round schedule coming into play soon, the top tier players will have even MORE "outs" to say things like, "it just doesn't fit into my schedule". If I here that bull excuse one more time I'm gonna throw a frappuccino on whoever said it. I don't wanna hurt 'em, just annoy 'em.
What'd you order at Starbucks, or are you just using the free Wi-Fi?
Michael Collins (3:44 PM)
Venti, no whip Mocha
As a caddie, what advice would you give to a regular guy accustomed to playing well who is having a bad day on the course?
Michael Collins (3:46 PM)
If he started out having a bad day, after a couple holes I'd say let just work on one thing. Build on it. If it happens mid round, I say we got it out of the way, now start with this hole right here and let's go. Sometimes you just need a really good joke or something to shake it up a bit. Something to get your head out of that dark place it's gone in golf.
By The way, me and Stees (NC) are different people. Im the Tiger lover, he is the golf snob. strange coincidence.
Michael Collins (3:48 PM)
My bad. At least you admit to being the Tiger lover. Big ups for being man enough to admit that here.
Phil almost had a 4th green jacket. Hard to believe he took 2 triples. Do you see Phil playing well through the year or will we see him fade away like he does in most years once we get past the US open?
Michael Collins (3:49 PM)
I'm thinking his performance at last year's British Open may give a bit of fuel to his fire after the US Open this year.
What would be one thing? A swing key? Start playing your draw? Give me a real life example.
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
My best example was giving a guy a target to lock in on. Say, I'm going to pick your target, you hit it. Don't think, just hit it where I tell you.
WIth a 1 in 3, here's the scenario I see being repeated all the time. Top-tier player, you haven't played Hartford the last two years, so you have to play this year. Top=tier player enters field, but WDs early in the week due to "injury." It will happen time and time again.
Tour can't go to a 1 in 3 system, not even a 1 in 4, maybe a 1 in 8 or 10. The Tour currently plays 44 weeks out of the year (and that's not counting the opp field events), and it essentially requires elite members to play 13 fixed events. That doesn't leave enough schedule flexibility. Unless you think international guys want to stop playing anywhere but the tour, or Tiger and Phil are going to start playing 30 events a year in order to maintain membership.
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
Tour is going to go year round (essentially) with no silly season, what it means is guys are not going to get to play their favorites every year. 4 majors, 4 WGC's, and the Players that leaves 6 tournaments to juggle and ONLY if you're gonna do the minimum. Maybe they should do less "corporate outings" and more tournaments.
I say this is the week Dufner finally breaks through with a win. He's had good finishes in NOLA before, and he's the best Thursday-Friday guy on tour right now.
Michael Collins (3:55 PM)
Interesting observation. He is a guy that everyone is expecting to get that first win very soon.
Keith H (Seattle)
Yesterday's finish was plenty exciting for me. You don't need loaded fields to have exciting finishes and good golf. Just the same, while it was an exciting finish, I wouldn't want to play that course. (That bunker on the 16th was plenty quirky and very Riviera.)
Michael Collins (3:56 PM)
You, my friend, are a true golf fan. Unfortunately there are not enough of you's around. The 16th is like Riviera's only on HGH!
Another horrible week for Anthony Kim. 10-over through 14, then a WD because of a sore wrist. What's the chatter about what's really going on with him?
Michael Collins (3:59 PM)
I know right! There are plenty of people, me included, that are wondering if it's just this guy's commitment to the game or if there is something deeper going on like an injury he's been hiding. Most importantly, when if ever is the guys who won dominated in Charlotte, and at Congressional going to show back up?!
How does Bubba play this week?
Michael Collins (3:59 PM)
Thanks for the chat, safe travels the rest of the way. And enjoy New Orleans. Just know we're all jealous of you :)
Michael Collins (4:01 PM)
I'll have some Cafe Du Monde for everyone this week. Well it's back in the car for me!!Email me something you'd like to see me video blog about... ESPNCaddie@gmail.comor hit me on twitter @ESPNCaddieSame bat time, same bat channel, next week!!!
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