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April 7, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Collins

Michael Collins
  (3:00 PM)

It's the fastest hour in golf! Masters Monday and the course was closed at 10 am, patrons were evacuated from the course, then told they could come back next year. This could be the greatest weekend in years or it could be an absolute bore fest. What say YOU?! BRING IT!!!

Keith H (Seattle)

Now that Matt Jones qualified for The Masters, we can't prank my boss over Tiger's replacement. However, my fellow employees are now on board at the next opportunity. PS. Fellow chatters, Michael DOES get back to you.

Michael Collins
  (3:01 PM)

Make sure your boss knows that even if Tiger was playing, Jones would have earned an invitation with the win. There is no set number of invitees, it can vary year to year. Should've let me call him!!

Bill (CT)

Who is you favorite? And give me someone outside the top 50 that you like.

Michael Collins
  (3:02 PM)

In my opinion there is no favorite this year. Even the first timers like Harris English and Jordan Spieth have a legit shot if they putt well.

Paul (U of Portland)

I've got a pimento cheese sandwich with your name on it, Michael! Because I know its your favorite. HAHA. All joking aside.. Rory has got to be the favorite in a lot of people's eyes right now (including mine).. Hitting the ball as good as anyone, just waiting for that putter to get hot. Could this be the week?

Michael Collins
  (3:04 PM)

Maybe but both he and Adam Scott couldn't close the deal on a Sunday that wasn't a major. You gonna trust them on Sunday here? Gotta see it to believe it first.

Steve (Toronto)

It surprises me that the pros don't hire a golf-knowledgeable kid to watch the TV broadcast of the morning round and makes notes whenever a broadcaster comments, ?All the players are reading it wrong. The ball actually breaks to the right? then forward these comments to the caddy shortly before his player tees off in the afternoon.

Michael Collins
  (3:05 PM)

Guys watch in the morning when they have an afternoon tee time but as far as putts. If the player and caddie haven't gotten their notes done by Wednesday night, they're toast.

Fred (Johnson City, TN)

Anyone who says they have been a golf fan for 20 plus years, and now has no interest in the Masters because Tiger is not playing is not telling the truth. He/she is not a golf fan, but is only a Tiger fan. I played college football, but the Masters, to me, is the biggest sporting event in sports, period. It is bigger than Tiger, bigger than Jack, bigger than any golfer. Do not lie and tell us you are a golf fan but cannot watch the Masters, or have lost interest, because Tiger is not there. True golf fans will be in front of the television every hour it is on, if possible.

Michael Collins
  (3:06 PM)

It's the Masters. Doesn't matter who's playing. Kind of like the Super Bowl. But when you tune in, you want a guy to root for and against.

Chris (Chicago)

Do you think Lexi Thompson has the chance to take over the ladies game? She plays a different game with her length than most of the ladies out there like Tiger did when he was younger.

Michael Collins
  (3:08 PM)

I do. The question is can she stay hungry like Tiger did. She's still not World #1 but when that comes, how long will she hold it.

Bob (Miami)

Is the masters your favorite major to cover? If so, Why?

Michael Collins
  (3:10 PM)

To be perfectly honest it's not. Because my job this week requires me to sit in the media center instead of being on the course absorbing the electricity and vibe, then talking to players. I wanna be out where the action is and this week that's very limited.

John (Kansas City)

Micahel, if the conditions are dry and fast, what do you think is going to be the winning score.

Michael Collins
  (3:12 PM)

I believe it'll be around -12.

Nick (Canada)

I can't wait till Thursday those four days are like my christmas. Except this year santa is missing (Tiger), but its still christmas even with no big guy.

Eon (Atlanta)

I read Michelle Wie talk about sticking to her game plan in the final round, even when she was 3 shots down with 4 to play. How difficult is it for golfers to change their plan of attack mid round?

Michael Collins
  (3:13 PM)

Extremely when your opponent isn't making mistakes. That's what a good caddie can help with.

Joe (Connecticut)

Hey MC - What is the best way to pick a winner for the Masters this year? Put everyone's name on a dartboard and have a throw or put them all into a canister and drawing a name out that way?

Michael Collins
  (3:14 PM)

I thought about doing it like I did for the Open one year. Put all the names on 3x5 cards and let my boys pick em.

Gabe (Maui)

Michael, Isn't a major championshp supposed to tough. I dont't thing -12 is a major cahmpionship-ese score. Dont you think score should be higher at the masters. Possibly around -5 or -6.

Michael Collins
  (3:16 PM)

This is the Masters. Where birdies coming down the stretch on the back nine on sunday is what it's all about. Not saving pars out of brutal rough. Just because it's a major doesn't mean low scores can't/shouldn't be shot.

Jacer24 (Rialto, CA)

I think you could narrow it down to 20... then throw darts.

Michael Collins
  (3:17 PM)

I'm doing a top 25 list due by noon tomorrow and I haven't even started cause I have ZERO clue!! haha

Nelson (DE)

Have you had a chance to see the course this week? How different does it look compared to previous years due to the winter storms that affected the trees on property?

Michael Collins
  (3:18 PM)

Course is closed and the cops gave me the Keystone so when I got in I couldn't walk around. Will be here early tomorrow to walk the whole thing with a couple different guys.

Brandon (UT)

I know a couple of guys I root for even with tiger out of the field. Mickelson, Spieth, Adam Scott. Against may be a bit harder, but for all that I like seeing him near the top of the standings, waiting for Sergio to implode is always fun.

Michael Collins
  (3:19 PM)

That's the spirit! but Sergio just may disappoint you this year and have a chance to win on Sunday afternoon.

CC (Atlanta)

Is Phil in your top 25?

Michael Collins
  (3:19 PM)

Absolutely

Geoff (Easton, PA)

All winners on tour this year have either been American or Australian... so I'll go with Kuchar to win if it's a USA player and Jason Day to win if it's an Aussie!

NewportLefty (I81)

No dartboard needed. Masters champion this year is one of the following; Phil, Bubba, Sergio, Rory, Angel, Adam, Zach, or Ernie

Chris (Chicago)

@ Gabe - That is really narrow minded... I want the last few holes where players have chance, not try to survive! This is the only fun major left in that way!

WindyCity (Chicago, IL)

With all the rain, is the course expected to play wet/soft? if wet/soft, what type of player (Rory?) will have the edge? Or will it drain by Thurs for dry/hard/fast?

Michael Collins
  (3:21 PM)

No more rain in the forecast for the week. Course should be perfect. And since they closed it to play today by the am practice rounds... like it never happened. I'm telling you, this place is more magic than Hogwarts!

Milan (Denver)

Starting to plan my sick days for Thurs-Friday. Is pretending to cough all week enough to do it? Or should I take more drastic steps?

Michael Collins
  (3:23 PM)

Make sure to puke in a trash can Wednesday at work, while wearing winter clothes (the sweating will make you look feverish). No one will want you around Thursday or Friday!

JA (Philly)

What do you make of Phil's SHO performance in terms of how it sets him up for this week? He was refreshingly honest about how nervous it makes him heading into Augusta without significant results. I feel it's when Phil expresses this type of humility that he is most dangerous.

Michael Collins
  (3:25 PM)

Agreed. When he talk openly about how he feels, it's like he lifts a weight off himself. A lot of other players should follow his lead.

Patrick (Pittsburgh, PA)

Need some fantasy help, Mike: Furyk or Luke Donald for my third slot?

Michael Collins
  (3:25 PM)

Luke

Jason Crook (Lincolnton, Ga)

What is your favorite restaurant in Augusta?

Michael Collins
  (3:25 PM)

Don't have one.

Bryan (@bftpro), Sitting in the Atlanta Airport [via mobile]

Do you think Kuchar's mis-steps yesterday will make him more aggressive and alert or more nervous and timid? I understand that it's Agusta, but he seems to find his swing in the big events over the last few years.

Michael Collins
  (3:28 PM)

I think it'll make him more aware of his situation this week. I mean, when in doubt- take the safe route. Stay away from trouble and even if you make bogey it was the worst score you could make.

Andrew (WI)

Rookies try to plan out how to be sick enough for Thursday and Friday. Veterans ask for those days off back in November.

Michael Collins
  (3:28 PM)

Teach us Obi Wan!!

Dan (CA)

With Tiger out of the field I'm getting 100% behind Rory. Think he can do it?

Michael Collins
  (3:29 PM)

Yes. He can... but he's gonna have a day that could be either 76 or 70 if he makes his bad day a 70 instead of a 76 he'll win.

james (Atlanta)

Does my boy Vijay have a chance or he washed up??

Michael Collins
  (3:30 PM)

Not washed up by any menas but he ain't winning this week. he's still too wrapped up in the lawsuit and no amount of range practice will get that out of your head.

Matt (Minnesota)

MC, if an aging baseball player who spent much of his career hitting it harder and farther than anybody else suddenly had his body break down, the media would be screaming steroid allegations. What makes Tiger any different?

Michael Collins
  (3:33 PM)

It ain't Tiger. It's the sport of golf. NFL and MLB all publisize penalties when guys get busted doing anything. Have you ever heard of a golfer getting a DUI? Think it's never happened? Golf won't tell you when a guy gets a fine. There's a reason for that. Perception is reality.

zachattack (Iowa)

What tours have you caddied on. I know PGA any others. Have you ever caddied at the Masters?

Michael Collins
  (3:35 PM)

Never got to caddie here. And never caddied an Open in the UK (that one doesn't bother me). I caddied a bunch of qualifiers, Web.com Tour and this summer I'm gonna caddie for a kid in an amateur event. Kills me that I never have put on the jumpsuit here though.

Alex (London)

Re: Matt in Minnesota, I understand the question, but until the tour starts to discuss doping tests, we'll NEVER know. It's not like MLB who've been pressured into revelations they'd rather we never found out. Tiger's no more likely a drug cheat than Padraig, for example, and anyone who thinks otherwise is using assumptions that don't bear the weight of truth (it's not just the strong home-run guys that benefitted from PEDs).

Michael Collins
  (3:37 PM)

Very true and remember what happened to the people who first tried to expose Lance Armstrong. Doesn't matter that they were right, they still can't get a job.

Dan (Lancaster, PA)

I like your analogy with the Super Bowl, but like you said, need a guy to root for. I'm a Tiger fan. Also a Lions fan in football. If the Lions aren't in the SB (HA!), I'm not rooting for anyone. I'll watch. But not even CLOSE to the level of excitement/watchability as if they were in it. Same with Tiger...maybe even to a larger degree.

Alex (London)

MC, just wondering. Do you ever root AGAINST a specific player? Don't need to tell us who, unless you really want to...

Michael Collins
  (3:39 PM)

I have in the past. Wouldn't be human if I didn't but I really try not to. So many people see only the bad and dark, I choose to see the fun and positive. Had a guy one time tell me, "You decide what CD goes in your head every morning." I never forgot that.

Jon (Memphis)

when do the pairings and tee times come out?

Michael Collins
  (3:39 PM)

Tomorrow afternoon I think

Todd (Charleston, SC)

Do you think Day's injury and/or layoff will affect him this week, and who do you see as a young dark horse this week?

Michael Collins
  (3:40 PM)

Talked to someone close to Jason and they said he could have played Arnold Palmer. Now he's ITCHING to go. Hope he's not too jacked up Thursday.

Daly's Diet Cokes (NY)

A 10 handicap stands on 16th tee Sunday with a 6 shot lead - does he/she win?

Michael Collins
  (3:42 PM)

NO CHANCE!!

Eon (Atlanta)

I will never get why "golf" fans get so upset at the notion of there being "Tiger" fans. All sports has casual fans and casual fans are good for the sport. It's self defeating to hate "Tiger". More exposure is good for the game.

Michael Collins
  (3:44 PM)

You're almost right. It's good to have "haters" because it creates debate and arguement which is good for business (golf). Like the Yankees in baseball or the Cowboys in football (as an Eagles fan you KNOW where I stand there).

Dan (CA)

Is "fan" considered the 'f' word this week?

Michael Collins
  (3:45 PM)

Oh yeah. Spectators is the "S" word. This week there are only patrons.

Dale (Augusta )

The Masters has been won by a first timer three times. Which of the first timers do you think has the best chance this week?

Michael Collins
  (3:47 PM)

Actually (other than the first one) Fuzzy is the only winner in his first appearance and this year he said he expects a first timer to win.

Milan (Denver)

Does Tiger watch this week?

Michael Collins
  (3:48 PM)

HELL YEAH! If he says he didn't watch he's lying. And he knows I'd say that to his face.

Elaine (North Carolina)

I love you Michael Collins. You are the most unbiased writer in the golf world. Tks for being such a great example of professionalism!

Michael Collins
  (3:50 PM)

Wow, thank you. *blush*

Keith H (Seattle)

Would you classify Ryan Moore a darkhorse? (Even though he's #10 on the FedEx..)

Michael Collins
  (3:50 PM)

Yes.

Nelson (DE)

Which of the playoff formats amongst the 4 majors do you like the most and why?

Michael Collins
  (3:51 PM)

I love the PGA and Open's playoff format. Give me 3-4 holes. I wanna see how bad a guy wants it. But 18 is too much.

Jacer24 (Rialto, CA)

MC, do you see in the next 10-15 years a woman playing her way into the Masters field?

Michael Collins
  (3:52 PM)

Nope. Courses on the PGA Tour are WAY too long for the women of the LPGA Tour.

Ashley (Taccoa,Ga)

I cant tell with all your answers to Tiger questions. Do you like him?It seems like you might not believe him or trust him....

Michael Collins
  (3:56 PM)

First... good. I want to be unbiased with all golfers regardless of if they are my friends or not. Second... Tiger is a friend and I do like him. He's fun to be around, our kids are the same age, and we both like the same tv shows. Finally... I think he never tells the media the whole story, but that's been his M.O. for his whole career. With his injuries I believe it's been a mistake.

Jay (PA)

Any problem with the Paulina Gretzky cover issue?

Michael Collins
  (3:59 PM)

I understand the want to sell magazines. Maybe you couldn't get one of the LPGA Tour's really beautiful women to pose like that for a cover shoot, but now what? Maybe you sold an extra 1000 copies but at what cost to your relationship with the LPGA and it's players. Of course who am I to throw rocks in a glass house?! I'm part of the "evil media" now too! haha

Michael Collins
  (4:01 PM)

DANG!!! Over already?! It's okay. I'm doing the GolfCast starting Thursday and going ALL DAY so check ESPN.com and come hang out if you're stuck at work and can't watch. Thanks everyone! Talk to ya soon. Your caddie, MC ESPNCaddie@gmail.com or @ESPNCaddie on Twitter