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)
It's the fastest hour in golf!! Welcome everyone. WOODS WINS!! But not that one... Jimmy Walker is full of Good Times, now what?... And Match Play will be missing 3 of the top 4 and the guy who's playing (Justin Rose) is coming off an injury, what do YOU think is the problem AND how would you fix it?... And finally... How do YOU think an openly gay golfer would be treated on the PGA Tour? BRING IT!!!
When is your next tournament you will be at?
Michael Collins (3:00 PM)
Hopefully Honda/Doral/Arnold Palmer
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
D.A. Points got disqualified for using a nerf ball as a training device to help him stay loose during slow play before the delay on friday. We all have used some form of a "training" device during slow play at our local courses.(if you say you dont, your lying to yourself) At what point will the PGA start to allow these? What competitive advantage was he gaining by making sure his alignment was correct. If the PGA and R&A are allowing digital hand held distance GPS devices on lower level competition than why not limit the training devices that pros or high level amateurs can use?
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
Because part of the game is finding your groove on the course without help. As a caddy I don't even think guys should be allowed to carry that stuff in the bag during the round (but that's cause I gotta carry it!).
Nice piece on Cheyenne...Do you think she will have more wins than Tiger this year?
Michael Collins (3:03 PM)
Depends. If she stays primarily on the Symetra Tour, yes, but if she goes on a bunch of sponsor exemptions on the LPGA Tour then no.
Brandon (Lodi, CA)
How bad will the TV ratings be for match play this year? No Tiger, Phil, Justin Rose, or Adam Scott. Rumors that Rory will skip. Can't be good for the game of golf in what I think is a fun event to watch. How will the rumored move to San Francisco and Harding Park help? What happened at Pebble this past week can surely happen in SF too.
Michael Collins (3:06 PM)
Justin Rose I believe is going to play, but he's coming off injury. Harding Park would be MUCH better than Dove Mountain but again, why not go Carribean? San Fran this time of year ain't that grand!
Marc (NJ) [via mobile]
Do the pros hang with the amateurs after the rounds at AT&T or play and go on their way?
Michael Collins (3:07 PM)
Yeah man. The Tap Room is packed with pros and celebs. Golf is the game that they can ALL relate to no matter the skill level. And serious business (sponsorship) deals get done off the course too.
El Jefe (MN)
I loaded up my clubs....tossed them in the truck....was able to get the first tee time at the local course....Then remembered its -14 with 4 feet of snow on the ground.Anybody got a nerf ball? I need to practice.
Michael Collins (3:08 PM)
Nerf ball?! You need a basement with a 10' ceiling, a SKLZ net and mat!
Besides Spieith, are there any young Americans that will be regular Ryder Cup contributors? I was thinking earlier, eventually the old guard will move on and who is there coming
Michael Collins (3:10 PM)
Keep an eye on Brooks Koepka and Harris English
Time for Augusta yet?
Michael Collins (3:10 PM)
I'm almost shaking with anticipation!
How do you feel about Tiger's start to the season?
Michael Collins (3:11 PM)
Not even a little bit worried. I'll feel concerned if he doesn't top 5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Brandon (Lodi, CA)
Is this the year Kuchar finally wins a major? I'm thinking Augusta or PGA.
Michael Collins (3:12 PM)
Augusta No. PGA Championship Vahalla... maybe.
As a Caddy what if anything are you saying to Jimmy Walker as he starts to fall apart the way he did Sunday when he went into the day with such a large lead?
Michael Collins (3:14 PM)
Nothing because he wasn't hitting squirrely shots. It wasn't like he started hitting hosel rockets and toe shanks. In a situation like that, you (as the caddy) have to believe he has it in himself to hold it together. And if he asks for a read or club be CONFIDENT (almost cocky) when you give it to him.
With the Olympics happening right now, made me think about Golf in 2016...if countries get 2 players, who would you send from USA? I would send Woods and Spieth
Michael Collins (3:17 PM)
Woods yes. Spieth no. If the format is NOT a two man team you have to send Phil, but if it's alterante shot then Phil and Keegan or maybe Tiger and Kuchar.
The Doral Blue Monster reopened, and lost a little bit in the fanfare was that it will now cost $450 to play a round there. My question is, why do golf publications fawn over Donald Trump so much? What does he contribute to golf besides building courses that only people like him can afford to play? Is this "growing the game"? I guess rich guys gotta play too or something.
Michael Collins (3:20 PM)
I really am not a fan of the overpriced "golf experience". You know what the best experience should be? THE COURSE! What Trump does do is spend a TON of money to create a great course. He also knows that in order to be profitable you have to market to the people who will spend money. That sucks for the little guy but it's a reality.
Michael Collins (3:21 PM)
And I'm a little guy, just in case y'all were wondering!
Jimmy Walker managed to get it to the house yesterday. Three wins already this year. Lock for Ryder Cup team now?
Michael Collins (3:22 PM)
I'd say so. He'd have to miss every cut from here on out to miss the team. But in 2012 Hunter Mahan had two early wins and missed the season.
El Jefe (MN)
In case you ever get confused with "Tigerspeak" during one of his press conferences:"I drove it great today" - Translation: "I hit 6 of 14 fairways""My iron game was not as sharp as I'd like" - Translation: "I hit 7 people with my approach shots""I didn't make anything" "I had 7 lips outs" "I just don't have the speed right" - Translation: "My putting stinks""I'm hitting my lines" - Translation: "I can't read a putt.""I'm real close" - Translation: "I have no idea what's wrong""I'm right there" - Translation: "I'm hopelessly out of the tournament."Just trying to help.
Michael Collins (3:23 PM)
Mickelson has won more weak field events than big events. Isn't that true? Do you think jimmy Walker is capable of winning bigger events?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
You made a statement, then asked me to back it up? C'Mon Man!! Now I will say Jimmy Walker will now have to step up as the level of play he will be going against will be stronger than the ones he's conquered so far.
If JW had choked on 18, what chances would you have given him in a playoff against DJ?
Michael Collins (3:26 PM)
Zero. When you blow a 6 shot lead, you have no momentum and you're already in a bad place you can't win from mentally.
What's the deal with Bubba and his caddy? I know he had the incident last year - seems like it was continuing in PHX a little...
Michael Collins (3:28 PM)
No deal. Part of a close relationship for the caddy/player is allowing your player to vent frustration at you when they need to. When it's caught on tv, it makes the player look bad but the caddie knows at the end of the day it means nothing. Public makes a big deal about it and Bubba's caddie and I have had a good laugh about that.
Glad Woods won, maybe now she can just be a LPGA player; Would have expected Johnny Walker at the Ryder before Jimmy; Match play needs a different venue and different time of year; Your last question? They'd be treated fine (non issue) by the fans and media, not so sure about some of the fellow pros - some would rather play with a cheat I'd bet (sadly)
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
Mike. It is our final year of the "you owe me a steak dinner if Rickie Fowler doesn't/does win a major". Are you flying to Winnipeg to buy me dinner or do I have to come to the US. He's not getting it done so I need to let work know that I'll need some time off in September. Love your chats, as always...
Michael Collins (3:30 PM)
Wait... when I win, I have to come to Winnipeg for my steak dinner?! I'm not coming up there til the one week of summer y'all have!! ;)
Jason (Los Angeles)
Who are a few people you think will excel this week at Riviera?
Michael Collins (3:31 PM)
Expert picks will be out tomorrow.
Marc (NJ) [via mobile]
They should move the Match Play to a later date, and a different course. Those two things seem to be the biggest complaints.
Jon (San Diego)
Can Harris English be a monster on tour? The guy seems to have everything it takes to win tournaments.
Michael Collins (3:33 PM)
Yes, he has the potential. The question is can he stay hungry after having success. That's the hardest part for young guys, and once you sit back, it's almost impossible to get back to the level that got you the intial success.
What do you think are the chances Tiger isn't ranked #1 in the OWGR at some point this season?
Michael Collins (3:35 PM)
Slim. He's gonna play well and contend at least 5 times this year. For him to lose the spot he'd have to miss some cuts and have Adam Scott win.
When will they get more TV coverage of Spyglass??
Michael Collins (3:36 PM)
Can't. It's a manpower issue, and Pebble is the host course. You think the membership of MPCC might want the same amount of coverage too?
Jasmine (Oakland ,Ca)
Michael, Come on. That was Not a tough question...
Michael Collins (3:37 PM)
Then ask what you think is a tough one.
What do YOU think Tiger has struggled on weekends at majors? Wants it too badly?
Michael Collins (3:38 PM)
I think it's because he mentally is trained to play defense on weekends. Now guys go low all weekend (Y.E. Yanf showed everyone the way), and Tiger can't go low on the weekends. When he tries, he makes mistakes.
Recently you said that if Tiger doesn't win this year's Masters, then you don't think he'll catch Nicklaus' majors record. Why do you feel it's such a critical moment? The remaining major venues this year likely suit him better than those of previous years. Plus I would think that much pressure placed on one tournament would greatly decrease his chances of winning it.
Michael Collins (3:41 PM)
I feel this way because the longer he goes, being healthy, the less intimidating he is and MORE importantly the competition (kids) are getting better every year. That menas more great golfers that are not afraid of him that he has to beat. If he doesn't get one this year, the chase is done.
Steve (Butte, MT)
Any thoughts on what is wrong with Brandt Snedeker's game? He did not have a very good west coast.
Michael Collins (3:42 PM)
Great putters can't be great all the time. He's just slumping with the putter right now. Might last for a while but I believe it will return.
If Phil wins the US Open and completes the grand slam, is he a top 10 player all time?
Michael Collins (3:42 PM)
MC, do you agree or disagree with Hank Haney's observation that Tiger is too muscular now? Does that really impact his golf swing that much?
Michael Collins (3:45 PM)
Too muscular... I don't know if I'd say that. I will say I think the fact that he bulked up contributed to his injuries. Trying to run at 210 like you did when you weighed 160 is a mistake. You know what doesn't bulk up? Ligaments, tendons, and cartilage!
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Jordan Speith seems to be having some putting issues, either pushing it right or reading too much break towards that side and it seem like it starts early in the round and just carries on throughout. Am i wrong on this or just looking into too much and it will come around once we get into the heart of the schedule?
Michael Collins (3:47 PM)
It was an issue putting on poa greans when they're bumpy and once you lose confidence, you have NO chance. Jordan will be just fine by the time they get back tobermuda and bent grass greens.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Is Jack Nicklaus channeling his inner Mercury Morris right now as Tiger struggles to get over the hump?
Michael Collins (3:49 PM)
No. Remember it was jack who said he still thinks Tiger is gonna break his record. Deep down though I believe Jack wouldn't shed a tear if he had to keep the record.
Dan (Harrisburg, PA)
Do you find it interesting that no one has really stepped up to Tiger's level of fame/ratings in almost 20 years now? Sure, he is an all-timer. But its staggering how the interest level/ratings drop when he doesn't play.
Michael Collins (3:50 PM)
That's one of the downsides of having EVERY other golfer raise their level of play. If everyone's great then no one dominates and fans on the fringe need a dominant force to love/hate
Debating a March 15th golf outing. Ground is frozen, with maybe three or four inches of snow, and no sign of a thaw this week. I can't see anything but a complete slop fest at best. What do you think?
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
More than a month away, stay optomistic
Hicky Moss (SoFla)
With the Florida swing coming up, do you see Tiger finding his rhythm on some friendly courses?
Michael Collins (3:53 PM)
Yes as long as he spent his off time actually relaxing. If he did a bunch of corporate outings and didn't stay home practicing, then if he comes out bad, it's his own fault.
Woody (Washington, DC)
Is it easier for an experienced player like Ernie Els to switch clubs (left Callaway for Adams) compared to a young player like Rory McIlory? Once he's dialed in, will the switch to Adams help Ernie's game or not?
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Switching clubs ain't that bad as long as you DO NOT SWITCH GOLF BALLS. The transition will go much smoother.
Tom (Verona, WI)
You're on fire today even without birthday cake! You ever see a player shove a fan?
Michael Collins (3:55 PM)
Had birthday cake yesterday! Youngest had his party. And yes, I've seen a player go at a fan. Seen a caddie do it to.
do you see camilo villegas wining this year? and if not wich part of his game do you think he has to work more to get it??
Michael Collins (3:56 PM)
I can see him winning this year. For him it will be a great short game week, getting up and down for three pars on a Sunday coming down the stretch.
Jacer24 (Rialto, CA)
@ Jeff I'm more worried about the surgically repaired parts of Tiger's body than his muscles.
Hi MC, when it comes to an openly gay golfer, I hope it happens soon - all diversity is good for the game, and removing the game of the image of intolerance would be a good thing. I think it'd be accepted relatively quickly by the majority of the players and caddies, and by the media, but could see it being something that the idiotic shouters on the course would focus on, perhaps.
Michael Collins (3:57 PM)
George (New Hampshire)
D.A. Points wins the knucklehead award for not knowing the simple rules of his profession. How is it these guys wait for simple rulings or are so unaware of the rules of their profession? I know they try to 'empty their mind' during competition, but c'mon. Euro tour seems more knowledgeable.
Michael Collins (3:59 PM)
Especially since an LPGA tour player got dq'd recently for the same thing. And I hope his caddie was in the bathroom and didn't see him get the thing out of his bag.
Did you demo anything at the merchandise show that you just have to have in your bag this year?
Michael Collins (4:02 PM)
YES!! But ask me that next week! You can email me too if you just can't wait. ESPNCaddie@gmail.com or hit me on Twitter @ESPNCaddie Told ya this would go too fast. Thanks for the fun. Great stuff everyone!! Have a great week. Your caddie... MC