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 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
By Tom Collins
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
AFTER COLIN MONTGOMERIE, AKA “Monty,” tapped in for his bogey, we were all treated to a nice long wait on the 12th tee. I have no idea why—perhaps all of the players were trying to hit the par-5 in two. The group in front of us hadn’t even teed off yet. Monty walked over to a volunteer and asked if he could sit down in one of their chairs. When he sat down—after making a painful sound—he let out a deep sigh.
“You know, I always wanted to be a marshal.”
The volunteer with the “Quiet” sign just looked at him, as if to say, “Yeah right.”
But Monty sounded nostalgic, like that really was his lifelong wish. A ball fell out of Monty’s pocket, which prompted the young guy next to me to spring into action.
“Monty, you lost a ball.”
“No I didn’t, I just made a bogey.”
“No…out of your pocket.”
“Oh, so I have. Here you are.”
Monty tossed the guy the ball, and then continued to stare at the pond.
I looked over the man’s shoulder, and saw that Monty was playing Pro V1x’s. Perhaps he wasn’t playing Balata balls along with a lot of the other players because he wasn’t exactly the longest on tour. Another man next to us with a beer in his hand—who must’ve been a friend—started chuckling.
“Well, you just got a ball from Colin Montgomerie. Now you can check that off your bucket list. That ball can go right alongside your hole-in-one ball at home.”
“Actually, I don’t even want it. Do you think it would be rude of me to throw this in the water?”
Now I know Monty’s gotten some bad press over the years, but a ball from a player is a ball from a player. I jumped in, if only to change the subject.
“Did you hear Monty say he always wanted to be a marshal?”
“Yeah. What a dickhead comment. That volunteer should’ve beaten him over the head with that ‘Quiet’ sign.”
Monty had sounded sincere, but then again, how ridiculous would that be to have Colin Montgomerie drive up to you on a cart and bark in your face to speed up play? Then he’d REALLY be a jerk. Moments later, Monty stood up to get his driver. Monty asked the caddie for another ball, and the caddie asked where the hell his first ball went.
“Oh, I gave it to that lad over there, in one of my more generous moments.”
The guy who had been the recipient of this generosity—in a jerky move of his own—motioned to Monty.
“Here, you can have it back.” He tossed it to Monty.
“No, please take it. I get them for nothing.” Monty threw it back.
Tom Collins is a former caddie who is following the PGA Tour in 2010. Learn more about his original e-books at TheReluctantJamBoy.com.