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)
Welcome to the fastest hour of my week! So I gotta know how all of you feel about this: Luke Donald plays and Rory McIlroy takes the week off and Luke loses the #1 ranking because he didn't finish inside the top 9. Does anyone think the OWGR are a bit of a sham?
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Golfers on the PGA Tour are Fathers & Sons
Michael Collins (3:00 PM)
There is one thing I know for sure... every guy on the PGA Tour is a son.
Who do you think will be the most negatively affected by their Masters dissapointments? Woods, Mickelson, or McIlroy?
Michael Collins (3:02 PM)
Definitely Woods. We saw what McIlroy did after much worse last year, and Phil was done in by two triples so there's nothing wrong with his game. Tiger on the other hand... just a regular guy trying to find his swing, again. Uh Oh
next victory for tiger and how many majors?
Michael Collins (3:04 PM)
No majors this year. Next win, Bridgestone but that right now is a HUGE if. And I'm about as confident saying he's gonna win there as I am saying it's gonna rain broccoli tomorrow somewhere in the world.
Jack (San Francisco)
Since the Augusta hoopla has passed, we can move on to the Open. Thoughts on the history of upsets at Olympic? Maybe Sang-Moon Bae taking down Tiger on the back nine Sunday?
Michael Collins (3:06 PM)
I made a stealthy trip out to Olympic last month to check out the US Open prep and I'll tell you this, the way Tiger is playing now, he'll be lucky to make the weekend. Watch for McIlroy or (this is gonna sound weird) Phil to battle with an unknown on Sunday.
Why are none of the top guys playing in the Texas Open. It is a pretty bad field
Michael Collins (3:09 PM)
I did a video blog about it that should post soon. You can also look at it as a chance for an unknown to make a name for himself and get a Masters invite. But the truth is it's because of the date, it's a typical week off. That's gotta change
Michael Collins (3:11 PM)
I gotta be honest, the fact that McIlroy didn't play and moved up in the world golf rankings makes me feel the same way about the rankings that I feel about the BCS system.
Ken (Moseley, VA)
Michael,I am hoping with your "insider connections" and your wisdom you can help answer the biggest mystery question out there......why can't David Duval turn it around? I am a HUGE fan and it pains me every week to see the one step forward but two steps back. Last year his putting was horrific, but he was going tee to green quite well the 2nd half of the year. This year, he is back to spraying it, but his putting has improved. Generally speaking, he does not 'scramble' well. Can he get his card back? What does he need to do? Any "inside" insight? Are you a believer? Thanks.
Michael Collins (3:15 PM)
Full disclosure... I too am a HUGE Duval fan and he is someone I consider a friend. The biggest thing for DD right now is getting his putting sorted out, the problem with that is he doesn't have the same feel with his putter he did in his prime and age is the biggest factor. Unfortunately that's not realy something that can be "fixed" it's just something that one week will be good and another week won't be. But do I believe? HELL YEAH!!
Why can't Tiger's week at Augusta just be considered a "bad" week? Rory, Donald, Stricker, Kaymer, etc. didn't exactly light the world on fire. Donald was wasn't great this weekend in Hilton Head,either. Tiger's never going to be like he was, so why can't we just expect the good with the bad. It's amazing how everyone can flip flop on his expectations every week!
Michael Collins (3:19 PM)
Because it's Tiger and he will have unfair expectations on him from now until another dominant player comes along. And when he puts up a 61 on a Sunday and then wins a tournament in tough conditions the thought of him back tracking confuses even the most seasoned veterans.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
What were your thoughts on Rick Reily's article on Tiger? I thought it was awful. Rick want's us to feel bad for Tiger's family wheb he has NO IDEA what the family dynamic was like. Just because someone is suffering from a disease does'nt make them a good person. Tiger never talks about his personal life, so Rick is only getting one side of the story.
Michael Collins (3:23 PM)
Rick is an amazing writer and you said it already, when it comes to Tiger and anything off the golf course, it's always one sided and that's usually not from Tiger's side. Doesn't mean that side shouldn't be told, just means it from one side. I have half siblings that only got in touch with me when they needed money so it hit a nerve with me as well.
Keith H (Seattle)
Michael, those of us at a certain age (senior tour plus) remember the mess of the 18th green at Olympic back in '98. (i.e. the Payne Stewart putt rolling down the hill for seeming-ever.) Have Olympic and the USGA done any leveling to the green?
Michael Collins (3:24 PM)
YES! Thank goodness, they soften the "contour" of that green so it will not be as severe as it was in '96
About the world rankings...it's not like McIlroy made a BIG leap. He was barely behind Donald last week, he only gained a few hundredths of a point in the math this week, and it just happened to be the difference between #1 and #2. I'd be a bit more worried if there was a decent margin between the two heading into the week
I have problems with the owgr, but this isn't one of them. Look at it this way Donald's performance was below (his owgr) average, so his ranking was lowered to more accurately reflect his performance. In the process it dropped below Rory's average.
Ed (Long Island)
OWGR changing when a guy doesn't play doesn't bother me. To me all the list shows is how consistent a player has been over the past 24 months in a mathematical calculation. It doesn't tell me who is the best player in the world, just who was the most consistent, which are 2 different categories. It can be one and the same (see Tiger in his peak) but is not necessarily the result of the calculation. Do writers find it hard to fill columns between now and the US Open?
Michael Collins (3:28 PM)
Nah, now is the time writers get to write all those really cool stories about things and people they'd never get to if there was "big" events every two weeks. One of my video blogs is about how I got to go on a fighter jet ride last year at the Valero!!
Did you try the Snug Bar and Grille in Augusta while you were there?
Michael Collins (3:30 PM)
NO! I was leaving the golf course so late every night Farrell and I usually just ordered take out or got food delivered to the townhouse we were sharing.
What has happened to Nick Watney this year? I think he has been a disappointment so far.
Michael Collins (3:32 PM)
Maybe a little bit. But no missed cuts, 3 top twenties, and a top ten. He was hurt early in the season but I don't think he's gonna get shutout of wins this year.
Tom [via mobile]
Pop quiz, Mike. In between your player and his ball lies a gator. You grabbing the rake or the rule book?
Michael Collins (3:33 PM)
Rake, but that's because I love reptiles and amphibians. I won't let people kill snakes on the course when I see them.
Tom [via mobile]
Speaking of Reilly, he's taking a beating on Twitter, so you're the guy to settle this: was Rick's suit pink or salmon?
Michael Collins (3:34 PM)
Pink! Calling it Salmon is just a guys' way of not using the word pink.
Michael, you said your looking at Phil to be there at the open on sunday. Because he's been playing well this year, or is a track that you feel really suits his game?
Michael Collins (3:36 PM)
Both. And the fact that he's a west coast guy so the greens won't be foreign to him will really play into his hands
Patrick (Moundsville, WV)
If Carl Petterson were to contend at a major, where would the Swede have the best chance? I'd say the PGA.
Michael Collins (3:37 PM)
I'd have to agree. Greensboro, Hilton Head, Kiawah, kind of makes sense to me.
Ed (Long Island)
I'm a Phil fan, but thought his comments about pulling out of one of the Texas tournaments in favor of the Nelson went a little far. Why criticize the tournament he's decided not to play?
Michael Collins (3:38 PM)
My mom was always right, "if you don't have anything nice to say..."
I think I'm officially rooting for a Golf Boys grand slam this year. Over/under, say, 4.5 combined majors in their careers?
Michael Collins (3:40 PM)
WOW! That's a real vegas line right there, uh, I'll take the career over!
Everyone has a bad swing week every once in a while, Tiger hadn't had one since Fry's really, maybe the PGA. The nice thing was he putted well. He's still got the second best scoring avg on tour this year, think we're all overreacting a little. We will see at Quail
Curious why you are so down on Tiger at the moment. He had one bad week. Other than that his stats this year (and the last part of 2011) have been at pre-2010 levels. Lets no overreact here.
Michael Collins (3:44 PM)
Not overreacting, but I also don't want to downplay a serious swing issue that we thought was fixed and apparently is not. And do y'all remember the last time Tiger played Quail Hollow? 15th green, first time I ever saw him quit during a tournament. Dead man walking for the Green Mile.
Sean O'Hair played his final round in under 2 hrs yesterday, impressed?
Michael Collins (3:45 PM)
small course with no big walks from green to tee, no, not overly impressed.
So if Carl Petterson keeps up his good play, do you think he will make the Ryder Cup team (for Europe, of course)? I think there is something to be said for the Euros picking up a regular U.S. PGA tour player when the Ryder Cup is being played in the States.
Michael Collins (3:46 PM)
I'd have to agree from the standpoint of the Euros being the away team so the more guys they can stack the team with that have experience over here the better their chances are.
Jace Burgess (Cedar City, Utah)
Does Bubba have what it takes to be a consistent winner at this level?
Michael Collins (3:47 PM)
Oh yeah. And with his new serious attitude on the course and now the belief in it with a green jacket in his closet, expect this man to become a force.
This might seem like an odd question, but what percentage of players are overtly religious? When guys like Jack, Faldo, Watson, etc. won, they didn't attribute their win to Jesus. Now, it seems that half of the tour think that their wins are part of God's plan (see: Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson).
Michael Collins (3:50 PM)
Legitimate question, I'd say there are about 20 guys on tour that are very strong in their religious beliefs and another 60-70 that believe strongly but even if they won won't bring it up at the press conference or trophy ceremony.
Carl will have to be a captain's pick bc he's not a Euro Tour member
Michael Collins (3:51 PM)
great call, thank you
Who is your favorite golfer that we've probably never heard of? Could be favorite as a person or a golfer.
Michael Collins (3:54 PM)
On tour right now I have a long history with Tommy Biershenk. That's a hard question for me because for me none of them are "unknowns".
James ((Detroit, Michigan))
Mr. Collins Mix! What do you think the winning score will be for the US Open this year? I see +1 winning the tourney. They will not want a repeat of Congressional!
Michael Collins (3:55 PM)
But just like last year, Mother Nature will not be told what to do, so we gotta be real careful making predictions this far out without knowing what the weather is gonna do the weeks before.
What do you think about the current collegiate golf system in terms of preparing players for PGA (i.e. Bud Cauley and Patrick Cantlay)? as opposed to the Rory model and simply skipping college?
Michael Collins (3:57 PM)
It's a moot point now that the system is going to change and most guys are going to have to go to the Nationwide Tour first. I HATE THAT!
I'm spending a week in Orlando, where should I try and play (funds are NOT limitless!!) thanks
Michael Collins (3:59 PM)
definitely hit Orange County National's two courses, get a feel for q-school
Who is your favorite caddie to hang with? And are we ever getting a top 10 caddie ranking? :)
Michael Collins (4:01 PM)
Don't have a favorite caddie to hang with, I'm a social butterfly. And the top ten caddie rankings will be a future mini series! HAHAH
Michael Collins (4:02 PM)
Once again, time flies when you're having fun! Thanks all for the chat.Next week, same Bat time... same Bat channel!!!ESPNCaddie@gmail.com@ESPNCaddie on twitterPlay wellMC