The media fly. Tom drives. The media sleep in hotels. Tom sleeps in his car. The media sit in the media center. Tom walks the course. It’s the PGA Tour, seen and written differently. Following is an excerpt from Tom’s e-book on the 2010 Bob Hope Classic.
By Tom Collins
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
SO HERE WE ARE Wednesday morning. As excited as I was for this moment, I’m exhausted. I’ve been staying at a campsite right around the corner from PGA West. Fortunately, they have wireless, and if you buy a week-long pass, it costs less than $15 a night. I’m sleeping in a tent, sure, but you really can’t beat that price around this area.
Last night I experienced 40 to 50 mph winds that ripped my tent out of the ground while I was trying to write. I ended up wrestling the tent to the ground while the wind tried to yank it away from me, and I wedged it underneath a picnic table and slept in my car. At first, I tried to sleep in my tent, but the wind wrapped the tent around my body like a cannoli and I was almost unable to escape.
After setting up my workstation this morning, I decided I would head over to watch groups play at Silver Rock, because that was where all the celebrities would be playing and as far as I was concerned, La Quinta Country Club does not exist.
As I walked up to the driving range, I watched Pat Perez hit what looked like 7-irons while Jason Dufner leaned on an iron and joked around with him. I had listened to Perez in an interview the day before, and until that point I had no idea how funny he is. When asked if he had any stories to share about Jack Nicklaus—as Jack is turning 70—Perez gave a shotgun from the hip response saying something to the effect of:
“You know, I doubt Jack even knows who the hell I am. I love his tournament [the Memorial], but out of 102 players I’m usually number 100. Jack came over to me after I had just shot a 78 in the first round and asked me how I was doing. I told him that I would be leaving tomorrow, and Jack looked at me like I was crazy because he just assumed that I was going to try to make the cut. But he just didn’t understand...I’ve played in that tournament for six years now and 78 is actually pretty average for me there.”
Aside from being incredibly funny, Perez also commented that the new grooves are really screwing up his game because he can’t seem to figure out when his wedges are going to stop. But as I watched him hit balls at the range, I thought about the wind and the links-style layout of Silver Rock and couldn’t help but feel that dulled grooves might really be helpful. The last thing you want on a links course is a lot of spin, so I thought that despite his skepticism, Perez might actually do pretty well today.
Bo Van Pelt was playing with Kurt Russell, and they started on the 10th tee. Following them were players like Justin Rose and Alice Cooper, Justin Leonard and Bruce Smith, Tim Petrovic and Ron White, and Dr. Phil and Kevin Nealon. So I thought it would be a good idea to start on the 10th hole, follow Van Pelt around for a while, and then start dropping back every so often to catch some of the other players and celebrities.
After looking at the 10th tee, I realized that Justin Rose was on deck, so I needed to jump ahead to catch up to Mr. Van Pelt. On my way, I ran into Rickie Fowler, who was playing with that guy who played Mr. Peterman on Seinfeld. I think he was also on Dancing with the Stars, but I could be wrong, because I think I’d rather shoot myself than watch that show.
Recently, Puma announced they will be creating a clothing line with Rickie Fowler as the main figurehead, and today I would say the color Rickie was wearing was “manly peach.” To be honest, I couldn’t really figure out what color it was, so I turned to a younger guy and asked him what he thought.
“Maybe he’s colorblind.”
Perhaps. But I don’t blame the wee Fowler, because if I was on the PGA Tour, I’d be wearing clown pants I’d be so happy.
Tom Collins is a former caddie who is following the PGA Tour in 2010. Learn more about his original e-books at TheReluctantJamBoy.com.