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. So Augusta puts out a press release for a tree, Bubba wins and doesn't cry, and Match Play is without Tiger, Phil, and Adam. It's your time to ask, vent, or just say what's on your mind... BRING IT!
Patrick (Somewhere in Ohio)
2010 saw three relative unknowns capture majors. Since then, Graeme McDowell contended in the '12 US Open and won the Heritage at Harbour Town last year. Louis Oosthuizen has done quite well in Europe, and lost in the play-off to Bubba in the '12 Masters. Martin Kaymer was World No. 1 for a while, and won the WGC event in China. Clearly these guys all have elite-level talent, and have performed at the highest levels. My question is, who among these wins another major first, if any, and why?
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
Kaymer is the youngest with the biggest upside, but I think it's actually Bubba that has the best chance to win a major in the next two years. His length and (slowly but surely) maturity as a golfer makes me believe he can handle a PGA Championship.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Best & the Worst Golf Course that you have Played on?
Michael Collins (3:03 PM)
The Best was Kapalua Plantation the Monday after the tournament. Worst was a course in Miami with blind shots and tons of water. Also broke my lob wedge there. Will NEVER go back.
Have you played Streamsong? With the potential change in venue for the match play, do you feel Streamsong would make a a good choice? Starts Florida swing a week earlier, fresh new exciting course, etc...
Michael Collins (3:05 PM)
Haven't played Streamsong yet, but have heard great things from friends who have played it. I still think Match Play should move around the Carribean changing venues every year, like island hopping.
Michael, please give me a double digit seed that can make the final four this week in th WGC. Thanks
Michael Collins (3:07 PM)
I filled out my bracket this morning and none of my final four guys are double digit ranked. But if one guy was gonna make it, I'd take Piercy. Huge long shot but he's got the game to go deep into the matches.
Is Sean Foley Tiger's last coach he will use? And if not, who would be a good coach for him besides just doing it on his own?
Michael Collins (3:08 PM)
I think it's his last official coach. If they split, he may use some people of the record but I think he'll mostly go on his own.
If you could join a country club in the Midwest what club would you pick?
Michael Collins (3:10 PM)
Don't know. I'd get as much info from Luke Donlad, Steve Stricker, and Zach Johnson before making a final decision. I loved playing Black Sheep though I don't know if they'd have me! haha
Brandon (Lodi, CA)
I know he hasn't won on tour this year, but how money has Dustin Johnson been lately? What are your Masters odds on him? The guy could potentially have three career majors already.
Michael Collins (3:11 PM)
He'll be in my top 5.
Why are so many players skipping Riviera that used to play there? Donald, Garcia, Scott, Stricker, to name a few. Is it just because they are skipping the entire West Coast swing now, or is there something about Riviera?
Michael Collins (3:13 PM)
I think it's because they don't wanna play 4 in a row this early in the year. Riviera, Match Play, Honda, and Doral. That's a bit much for most pros.
MC - Would you rather watch Tiger win the Masters in April for finish T-3 after another huge controversy, this time relating to the replacement of Eisenhower Pine 2.0
Michael Collins (3:15 PM)
Would rather see him win. And not just because I'm picking him, but because it's better for the game when people are talking about good golf instead of arguing over drama. That gets real old, real fast.
Tom (Verona, WI)
Good afternoon, MC! Your chat is up against the Olympics so it's good you have your A game. How about a tear-laden story of perseverance and triumph in the face of personal adversity?
Michael Collins (3:15 PM)
Do I have to do it on ice skates? HAHA
I've got Ryan Moore as my underdog to make it through Match Play. I'd say he's got as good a chance as anybody in this format. Don't you think it's a crap shoot?
Michael Collins (3:17 PM)
I have him losing to Jordan Spieth in round 3. And yeah, for the most part it's a crap shoot cause for the first two rounds, the guy who's playing great doesn't always win.
Thank goodness this is the swan song for Dove Mountain. Where does your gut tell you this event is moving next year? I hear Harding mentioned a lot. I say put it in the Caribbean.
Michael Collins (3:18 PM)
If they go to TPC Harding Park they better move the date. But I'm with you for going somewhere you KNOW the weather is gonna be at least warm, and Aruba is almost a desert!
My Match Play predictions:Wednesday: "This is great. Why doesn't the PGA do Match Play more often? Let's make the PGA Championship a match play event!" - said by all of your followers and chatters.Sunday: "This is great. Why doesn't the PGA do Match Play more often? Let's make the PGA Championship a match play event!" - said by Nobody.
Michael Collins (3:19 PM)
I don't ever wanna see a major go to match play.
Mike Puzen (Downers Grove, IL)
Can you please chat about players etiquette and manners on the course? I know some things are tough and they hit a bad shot here and there but they need to work on things. I saw first hand Gary Woodland on 15 of TPC Scottsdale on thursday rip his glove in half cause he hit a bad tee shot.
Michael Collins (3:21 PM)
Here's my question to you: What emotion would you say is ok to show on the course? And if showing elation is ok, why wouldn't you expect frustration to come thru on ocassion? Does that make it bad etiquette or manners?
Tom (Verona, WI)
How about WGC-Match Play going to groups of four where each player uses match play scoring against each of the other three? The top two advance from each foursome. That's six match play games going on within each group. More complexity, more fun!
Michael Collins (3:22 PM)
The LAST thing golf needs is MORE complexity.
MC, you promised us last chat a description of very awesomely cool things you saw at the PGA Merch Show today. Lay it on us, bud!
Michael Collins (3:25 PM)
This thing called the Swing Shirt that looks like an elephant trunk but helps you stay connected. There was a REALLY cool mat made by SKLZ that moved like a divot when you hit it. And I saw a golf/scooter for a single rider that was pretty sweet.
Michael Collins (3:26 PM)
The other thing I saw was called Putt Up, it had Stan Utley trying to master it. I played it in Scotlad at a bar and it can be very addictive!
Marc (NJ) [via mobile]
What's the story with Rickie Fowler? Could this week get him going?
Michael Collins (3:28 PM)
The hardest thing for Rickie is to not get frustrated because the putts aren't falling. As long as he stays the course he'll be just fine. But staying patient is not easy for a golfer.
MC - how does the Eisenhower pine's demise affect Tiger's chances this year at the Masters?
Michael Collins (3:29 PM)
It doesn't at all.
I like Bubba, but his constant whining and yelling at the gallery or his caddy makes it difficult to pull for him sometimes. I've seen him do it in person too, and it made me stop following his group all together. He reminds me of an NBA player who complains every time a foul is called on him. Not really a question, just wondering how you felt about it as someone who has been inside the ropes.
Michael Collins (3:33 PM)
There's two different issues here. First his caddie Ted. Just so you know Teddy and I have laughed alot about this after Hartford last year. When a caddie has a player like Bubba you WANT him to vent at you so he can move on and hit the next shot with no memory of the last shot. And people have no clue how close they are...
Michael Collins (3:35 PM)
Second is the crowd and camera stuff. Did you hear ted on 16 tell a guy to please get off the phone? Would it be ok for people to move around and click off camera's while you were trying to get work done? I'm NOT saying it's always ok, I'm just saying that some players don't say anything and lose... that's not ok either.
So who decides where match play gets moved to? Is it the PGA Tour?
Michael Collins (3:35 PM)
Following up on Jay's question - who where the most emotional and most even keeled guys you've worked for?
Michael Collins (3:37 PM)
Willie Wood was the most even keeled ever. I've worked for a few guys who could get fired up... Piercy, Chopra, Pappas, and Couch. None of them was scared to blow a gasket. I LOVE IT!!
Ed (Long Island)
With Match Play being a WGC, and no real W other than US and one in China, why not move this to central/south America?
Michael Collins (3:38 PM)
Well that's fine but then you'd have to move the date as well.
How impressive was the back-to-back 64's for Bubba. Have you played Riveria?
Michael Collins (3:39 PM)
Extremely impressed because of how many holes he had to "dial back" off the tee. Shows some serious maturity.
Phil (Champaign, IL)
If the Tiger drought continues in the 2014 Major Championships, how likely would it be that he follows Lee Westwood's lead, and parts ways with Sean Foley?
Michael Collins (3:41 PM)
Unlikely because the stuff he's doing with Foley for his swing works. Taking it from the range to the course ain't a coach problem... it's a player problem.
So who is your final 4 for match play?
Michael Collins (3:42 PM)
You'll have to wait til tomorrow and check the page. Kevin would kill me if I gave out all my picks before he posted them!
Tom (Verona, WI)
You think Augusta National will helicopter in a replacement tree to avoid heavy truck damage to the course?
Michael Collins (3:43 PM)
The back up tree is already on it's own private cargo jet heading to ATL
Matt D. (Woodbury, MN)
Late to the chat so sorry if I repeat something. As a UC Riverside grad I pay attention to Brendan Steele. I notice he tends to do really well on the West Coast and in Texas (only win), but doesn't do much in Florida. Are most golfers more comfortable on the type of conditions (grass, greens, etc.) that they grew up with? Does the type of grass really make that much difference?
Michael Collins (3:46 PM)
Late pass accepted. Grass type makes a huge difference on how the ball reacts when it lands, how it rolls, etc. Some guys never get used to FL courses cause they can't figure out the break of bermuda grass. Others can't ever get the feel of poa anna in California. That's why the most impressive guys are the ones who win all over, and there aren't many.
During your extended holiday break you tweeted about your raccoon problem and Brandt Snedeker gave you advice. How did you fare?
Michael Collins (3:49 PM)
HAHA!! You remember that? I'd say the raccoon won. I caught the wrong one after using the trap Sneds recommended, then the wife set it free so I couldn't even send a message to the other raccoons in the neighborhood. At least there are no more raccoons coming on the porch anymore. I think because they'd just laugh at me.
Matt D. (Woodbury, MN)
What do you think of the Tour Striker? A golf pro in my hometown suggested I get one for better contact with my irons. I know pros will use anything to get better, are any of them using it as far as you know?
Michael Collins (3:50 PM)
I have the PSP and it works really good. I haven't tried the Tour Striker
Why can't the match play go back to the old course in Tucson? That was a great event that got kicked to the curb by Finchem in favor of a course up in the mountains where it snows in February.
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
Yeah but it was free for the tour.
Who is your favorite player to watch on tour and why?
Michael Collins (3:53 PM)
Honestly I move around on the course. Don't really have a favorite. I like both guys that overpower a track AND guys that disect a course. Truly depends on the day (and how I'm hitting it cause I watch guys do whatever I struggling at).
Best way to fix Match Play - move it to fall, tie in with FedEx Cup playoffs. More incentive for people to play. You can still allow non-tour members to play in it, and others can still skip it, but reward winners with byes to the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th event.
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
I know he is only 20, but any concern about Spieth not winning any of these tournaments after he gets close to the lead or leads
Michael Collins (3:55 PM)
How important will the beginning of the season be for Sergio? He had something going last season before Tiger-gate
Michael Collins (3:56 PM)
I think he'll get in contention at an event on the FL swing and I hope the crowds can let him play without hassling him. Makes us (Americans) look bad.
Unknown Golfer (3rd Dimension - No Weather Delays Here)
Hi M.C.: Also glad to see you here during the Olympics barrage. Nice to see John McEnroe is now a member of ESPN. He's come a long way since childhood and is a great commentator.During this time of Tiger withdrawal besides rooting for Stricker to have a great week at the WGC as well as Kuchar getting back in stride, what can I do to keep focused?
Michael Collins (3:58 PM)
Glad you're here too. Well I live in FL so I just go play golf (it's 72 right now and I'm going to hit balls as soon as we're done here) but if you're somewhere cold, find an indoor simulator just to swing and stay loose. Also gets you out the house for an hour or so.
Matt D. (Woodbury, MN)
As always, really appreciate your chats here in snowy Minnesota. As a California boy who married his way into the great white north, just talking about golf helps soften this miserable winter. Thanks, Michael!
Michael Collins (4:00 PM)
You're always welcome to come visit me here in FL for a weekend... bring your clubs and checkbook! HAHA No checkbook needed.
Michael Collins (4:01 PM)
It just goes by too fast!! Same time next week? DEAL. Enjoy match play. And as always, if there's a question that is just driving you nuts, email me. ESPNCaddie@gmail.com or hit me on Twitter @ESPNCaddie Have a great week everyone. Your caddie: MC