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Caddie Confidential: Arnold Palmer's tournament isn't a favorite

According to this week's anonymous caddie, Bay Hill is "nearly one of the worst" courses on tour. Michael Cohen/Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. -- I was on the golf course with some caddies this week when a man approached us and said, "Excuse me. I really don't mean to offend you, but ..."

Before he could even finish, a caddie and I were looking at each other thinking the same thing: Here it comes, something ignorant or not nice.

"Are you Michael Collins?"

Confused. "Yes sir, I am."

"I knew it! I love the caddie stuff you do! It's great, man. Please keep it up!"

After the caddies and I had a big laugh about how ignorant we were by thinking the worst, a great conversation was had about how cool it is having golf fans embrace the caddie insights and truth.

To the fan who said those kind words: Your actions led to three more caddies agreeing to be a part of Caddie Confidential later in the year. Here's this week's entry from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Enjoy.

Collins: Let's start here. What's the talk around the caddie tent about the field and the players who chose not to show up?
Caddie: I really think they don't care, to be honest. ... I personally think it's not a good golf course. If it was me, I'd have a week off. That's just my opinion.
Collins: That's funny, because when you asked many players and caddies away from the cameras and recording devices about the Florida Swing, a lot of them say Bay Hill is the worst course in the rotation. Why?
Caddie: Because of the condition of the course. The greens are normally terrible, and it just comes in a bad spot (on the schedule) for these high-end golfers who have to play "the other tour," as they call it (the WGC events).

Collins: Give me one good thing about the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the caddies.
Caddie: For the caddies? Oof. I don't think that there's any. Maybe the prize money (laughing)?
Collins: That's the irony. As revered as Mr. Palmer is in the golf world, this tournament is not high on the "caddie favorite" list.
Caddie: No. It's nearly one of the worst all around. But it's slowly improving. But, yeah, if it wasn't for the prize money, and we didn't have to go, we probably wouldn't.

Collins: What's the field going to be like here in the next couple of years?
Caddie: I think it's going to be s---. It'll be all right next year, and then the first year the golf course doesn't come up to par, it's just going to drop off big-time. It'll be like another Byron Nelson.

Collins: Let's switch to Tiger Woods. What are caddies saying?
Caddie: I think it's going backwards, to be honest. I think he's done. As sad as it is to say, I think he's done. I think he's just s--- scared now that he won't be able to break 90 around the golf course.
Collins: You think it's more mental than anything else?
Caddie: Yeah.
Collins: That's the debate. Is it a physical thing or a mental thing for Tiger now?
Caddie: Well, first of all it was physical, obviously. But now, when you get the chipping yips, and you can't drive it on the golf course, now it's turned into everything. Mental, physical, yips, whatever you'd like to call it.
Collins: Now it becomes about desire?
Caddie: Yeah. He, honestly, probably should hang up the (golf clubs), but it would be sad to actually not see him play, because he was that good.

Collins: Back to the golf course (Bay Hill). What's the hardest hole to caddie and why?
Caddie: (Thinks about it for a bit.) Would probably have to be the (par-5) sixth. Because you've got to hit it around the water, and they (players) try to take too much of an aggressive line, and they don't clear the water a lot (laughs). And then the second shot, they try to be too aggressive, once again (laughing). Those rocks come in pretty quick up by the green. But then if you hit it right, then you have to chip back towards the water, so it's pretty tough.

Collins: Your favorite hole?
Caddie: I like the 10th because a lot of the guys s--- themselves because they've got to hit 2-iron or whatever, but there's actually a lot of room up there to hit driver. They don't like it because they can't see where it lands. It doesn't matter where it lands. Hit it at that spot right there, and it's perfect. And I'd rather hit a sand wedge in than a 6-iron after a flubbed 2-iron!

Collins: Which hole needs to be changed?
Caddie: I would change the (par-4) 15th. I'd actually move it back to the tee across the road (moving it forward), where it used to be. So you could (try to) cut the corner. The rough is that thick; you've still got to be aggressive with it (the driver). Now you just hit driver at the left tree there. It's actually an easier driving hole now.

Collins: Give fans a secret "hole to watch" that no one talks about.
Caddie: I would say the (par-4) 11th hole. Just watch out for the guys dropping it into (water). They go and try and take just a little too far left and hit it in the water there. Off the tee. Guys get a little aggressive, and they'll be dropping it a few times.

Collins: Off the course, what's your "hot spot" this week?
Caddie: Probably Rocco's Tacos. That's actually a very good spot, and it's close.

Collins: What will be the hardest thing about caddying this week?
Caddie: I always say the walk. People don't realize this, but when your player is playing like sh--, the bag's really heavy and it takes a long time to walk the golf course (giggling feverishly).
Collins: Well, you're seeing a lot more of the course!
Caddie: That's right, you do see a lot more! You're zigzagging.