Chat with Michael Collins
Welcome to Sportsnation! On Thursday, ESPN.com golf writer Michael Collins stops by to chat from Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill., the site of the 2012 Ryder Cup.
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 Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Michael Collins (3:00 PM)
Ryder Cup Week is HERE!! The electricity is palpable and I know this is gonna be the fastest hour in golf!Ready?! BRING IT!!!
Matt (Columbus, OH)
Hi, Michael. Do you have any thoughts as to what decision will be made regarding long putters, belly putters, and/or anchoring? I've read that a decision could be made very soon. It seems that defining anchoring would be difficult, and that players using broomstick putters could just simply move them off their chests a little if "anchoring" is illegal.
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
Rumors have it that the R&A will be making a decision on it this fall. The grey area for me will be for a player like Matt Kuchar who runs the shaft of his putter up his forearm. Is that anchoring? I say depending on the ruling the USGA may not follow suit right away, which would be a huge story.
What golfer at the Ryder will be the most pleasant surprise?
Michael Collins (3:04 PM)
On the US side Jason Dufner and on the European side Nicolas Colsaerts. Those rookies are gonna play into this outcome big
Hi Michael- Who do you think could be the unsung heroes of each team or the surprise sleepers? I would go with Zach Johnson for the U.S. and Paul Lawrie for Europe..
Michael Collins (3:06 PM)
I think Martin Kaymer could be a sleeper for the European Team because he hasn't done much this year on the PGA Tour. For the US squad look for Matt Kuchar to be the sleeper.
The US fan chants are lame. I'm deputizing you, we need some new chants - get on it!
Michael Collins (3:07 PM)
I totally agree, US needs some really good inspirational chants. I'll see what I can do.
Jason Z. (Fairfax, Virginia)
Michael any clues as to who will be playing and who will be sitting for both teams in tomorrow's morning session?
Michael Collins (3:09 PM)
None, but we expect the pairings to be out by 5 EST
How do you think the US team is bonding and does it appear to be geniune
Michael Collins (3:11 PM)
Very genuine. Phil said in his press conference yesterday that the only way the US could win was if they made it fun. And the only way to make it fun is to bond and hang out and enjoy each other. That's how the US won in '08, that's how they'll win this year.
If you are in the Windy City for the Ryder Cup, Welcome to Chicago! Tiger is a few months away from turning 37 and has a history of knee problems. Although he has played in all 5 possible matches in every past Ryder Cup he has participated, might this be the first time, where he should be rested and not used so often to give him time to recover? Given his past record at the Ryder the approach of less Tiger playing might mean more Tiger winning for the Americans?
Michael Collins (3:13 PM)
I am here and thank you for the "warm" welcome (froze my butt off last night at the Gala).As for Tiger, I believe his record this Ryder Cup will be 2-1-1. And I do believe he will sit one of the matches!
Guess Who This Is (Charleston, SC)
Hola Miguel! Who, if any, do you expect any players to play a full 5 matches this weekend?
Michael Collins (3:16 PM)
I do, but the surprise will be Jason Dufner. I think him taking off the week of the Barclay's off was a signal to DLIII that he wanted in all 5 matches. Same with Sergio and taking off Deutsche Bank.
Have you ever caddied in any team competitions? Anything different in the caddie's responsibilites this week?
Michael Collins (3:18 PM)
I have not, but from talking to all my boys they say there are differences, and some gamesmanship that can go on. During a regular event you'll rake a bunker for a guy if his player has to hit before yours, not here, if they ain't wearing the same flag as you... they're on their own!
why do you like golf so much
Michael Collins (3:21 PM)
because you only get paid for what you do at the moment. So every week is like starting at zero. And everyday is different and challenging. It's so mental, and it's not a reaction sport. It's all on you to hit the shot, No one to blame. For me, like doing comedy if I'll say something that's not funny, I can't blame the audience.
what kind of shape is the course in? I know in the past at the PGA, the PGA of america had to paint the greens green because they let them die due to lack of water. I know this is a different time of year though.
Michael Collins (3:22 PM)
Believe it or not the course looks great. I talked to Mike Scully yesterday and he told me that at the end of July #9 fairway had no grass on it. His team needs a TON of props for what they got this course to.
Ed (Long Island)
Is MJ still the biggest celebrity draw in Chicago?
Michael Collins (3:23 PM)
Does every photo with the Mechanic include a champagne flute, or just the official ones?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
It's either that or the cigar so I guess they figured champagne was a better look! haha
who wins the ryder cup?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
US by one point.
Ed (Long Island)
Do the caddies back off on reading putts this week since they have players have another player to consult?
Michael Collins (3:26 PM)
Yeah some do, but the guys who play together work that out before they play. Like when Phil plays with Keegan, Bones is still gonna read putts for Phil, but now Phil will look at putts for Keegan too.
Checking out these photos from the Gala...The Mechanic is a genius
Michael Collins (3:27 PM)
First time I had seem him with his hair down. Looked like an old school reddish Gheri curl!! HAHAHe's still cooler than me though!!
Did I read this correctly, Michael? You got Lopez and Phelps around in 9 under par in the celebrity shootout??? They should give you an ESPY for that!
Michael Collins (3:29 PM)
Played with Lanny Wadkins and Hal Sutton (on a BAD hip). Lanny made two birdies...George made the other 7! Most flattering for me was when Hal and Lanny were reading a putt for him and he called them off and asked me to read it. When the ball was 3 feet off the blade Hal said, "(blank), he made another one!"Really cool moment.There are a ton of photos on Twitter.
Is there more anticipation leading up to this Ryder Cup than the last few?
Michael Collins (3:31 PM)
maybe more than the last one, but that's because the weather for here is gonna be perfect and we're coming off a loss.
What makes match play so much different than stroke and why do the europeans excel at it.... dare I say that they care more?
Michael Collins (3:33 PM)
Best way I can describe it is, they are better at playing unselfish golf. They will sacrifice things for each other, like tee shots for position, that the US squad has a tough time doing. They play team, US plays individuals... it's why we dominate in Singles only
Chris (Newport Beach, CA)
Michael, why do you think the West Coast never gets a sniff as a Ryder Cup location? There are several great courses to choose from just in California alone. It's been mired in the Midwest for far too long.
Michael Collins (3:37 PM)
Wow, that's a great point. In today's world you could say it's because of the FedEx Cup Tour Championship and they don't want to send guys across the country, but with private jets it doesn't seem like a valid argument. I just don't have a good answer for that. But it'll be a good question to bring up. And I will.
Dan (Kansas City)
What type of wind conditions are anticipated for the week? I would love to see the pros hitting a 3 wood on 17 into a stiff breeze.
Michael Collins (3:41 PM)
There isn't any big wind in the forecast for tomorrow but it'll be pretty chilly (48F) in the am matches which will really affect club selection, the ball just won't go very far when it's cold.
Is the rough at Medinah vastly different from how it is played for the PGA? Sounds like it's pretty thin this week?
Michael Collins (3:42 PM)
It's been REALLY thinned compared to a PGA Tour event. That was per order of Captain Love III. He wants lots of birdies and believe me when I tell you, it's gonna be a shootout!
My guess as to why no Ryder Cups on the West Coast has more to do with the time difference back to Europe than anything else. West Coast is 8-9 hours behind most of Europe.
Michael Collins (3:43 PM)
Then you would think the US Team would want to use that to their advantage, but nowadays these guys travel so much, it'd only take them a day to get adjusted.
Michael Collins (3:44 PM)
Tiger hits a guy in the head with his tee shot on 18 during practice today. Knocked him loopy for a bit...THAT'S why DL III cut the rough!
If it were up to you, who plays tomorrow for the US and in what order?
Michael Collins (3:48 PM)
Since the format is Foursomes (Alternate shot) I'd send Phil and Keegan out first... after that maybe Dustin Johnson and Snedeker.
Where do most players stay during the Ryder Cup? There isn't much around Medinah hotel wise...
Michael Collins (3:49 PM)
Teams are staying at an undisclosed location, but they stay as a team and do everything together. Doubt they're going out looking for places to eat.
Keith H (Seattle)
Who do you think will be the next US Ryder Cup captain?
Michael Collins (3:50 PM)
Fred Couples seems like an obvious choice to me.
rory v tiger on sunday?
Michael Collins (3:52 PM)
would be awesome but it's a blind draw (which I did a video blog about) which is ridiculous. So there's no way to guarantee it.
What I'm saying is that European TV has requested no West Coast Ryder Cups because of the time difference and the Americans have agreed to it.
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
Good point and probably true because European TV pays big rights fees to the PGA of America for the broadcast and there's no reason to lose that money.
Ed (Long Island)
On the gimme putts, is the distance pre-determined before they tee off between the players or is it just an eyeball on the green? What's the usual distance considered a gimme putt for them?
Michael Collins (3:55 PM)
Distance is not predetermined, it's a hole by hole thing. A 2 footer above the hole won't be con seeded this week where a 3 foot straight uphill putt may be.
Ed (Long Island)
How much wagering takes place between you US scribes versus the Euro scribes?
Michael Collins (3:57 PM)
none, everyone is too busy trying to get all their work done, and when we get back to the hotel, everyone is too busy telling stories and having drinks to worry about it.
John (Lenexa, KS)
Do golf fans in non Ryder Cup countries such as South Africa, Australia, Japan etc. care about the Ryder Cup?
Michael Collins (3:59 PM)
I'd say there's a passing interest, but of course they're much more invested in the Presidents Cup. Still this event has so much history it's like saying asking if a country who's never had an Open Championship winner still care about the event.
Lois Lane (Hot, Humit, Wet S. Florida)
Hi Mike: This morning the golf forecasted 12mph winds for Sunday. If so, who does it affect most...which Team?On another note, I'd love to be beaned by a TW stray tee shot. Sell the ball on EBAY and have 2 yrs income!
Michael Collins (4:01 PM)
Can you live off $50 bucks for two years?If it does get windy on Sunday I'd say it will favor the European squad, but the crowd will be the determining factor on Sunday that helps the US win.
Michael Collins (4:02 PM)
WOW!! That went fast!I'll be on tomorrow morning bright and early at 8 am for the first match!! Check espn.com/golfMeantime hit me on Twitter @ESPNCaddie or email me ESPNCaddie@gmail.comGonna be an AMAZING weekend!!Thanks everyone.MC