CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hanging out on the Web.com Tour last week with Steph Curry was pretty awesome. What also meant just as much to me personally was how many players and caddies approached me to talk about Caddie Confidential. They all read along for the same reason all of the rest of you do ... to get the true inside scoop, no punches pulled, no pc answers so a sponsorship won't be lost.
Just another anonymous caddie telling you the truth ahead of this week's PGA Championship. Enjoy!
Collins: All the players in front of the camera are saying the course (Quail Hollow Club) is fine, but off camera that ain't what they're saying. What's the truth?
Caddie: I would say most of the guys are not happy with No. 1 or No. 4, to be fair. I would say No. 1 should be played as a par-5. The green was designed to be a par-5 green. No. 4, I think the green is just too penal. It's too severe for the length of shot. I think if it was a shorter shot, you'd actually have a third (tee) box for that to be fair.
Collins: The irony is, I was told by a member that the fourth green was going to be blown up on Monday and redone. What does that tell you?
Caddie: (laughing) Probably not a good design. Not the best.
Collins: How much different is this golf course for a major compared to when it was a regular tour event?
Caddie: Well, obviously the changes with the softness and all that, but you know it has changed a lot. Like on No. 11, the stroke average there will be a half a stroke higher because of the length of the hole ... you were usually hitting driver, wedge. We hit 5-iron in the rain. So you have holes like that and then you still have 17 and 18. I mean the "Green Mile" is still the "Green Mile."
Collins: What about in terms of length?
Caddie: Oh man, the golf course is probably 500-600 yards longer now. It's significant ... we had 230 yards into 18, a back flag (hole location), and had hit a 300-yard drive. (That's) in rain and tough conditions, but still. You're having 230 yards into the last hole I mean sometimes (in the past) we'd consider hitting 3-wood off the tee and hit 7-iron up the hill or something like that. Now you're hitting driver and not even 4-iron to the front edge of the green. It definitely has its teeth.
Collins: Is there a change in the "vibe" here compared to when the Wells Fargo is played here?
Caddie: Honestly, it's just more of the "buzz," more media attention, it's crazy. The driving range is an absolute zoo compared to how it is for the Wells Fargo. It really is. You see more coaches, you see more agents. It's just the dynamic of the importance of this event. It's definitely a lot different, there's no question about that.
Collins: Which hole will be the hardest to caddie?
Caddie: Personally, I think 17, by far. The (par-3) 17th hole plays havoc with the wind, trying to hit the ball the right distance, not trying to carry it too far, obviously bringing the water into play ... 17 to me has always been the toughest hole to caddie out at this golf course or even on the PGA Tour. It's a nerve-wracking shot.
Collins: That might be one of the only par-3s that when the ball is in the air no one is talking to it.
Caddie: Time stands still. (We both laugh.)
Collins: What makes the PGA Championship different from the other majors from a caddie's point of view?
Caddie: Well, I think it's still really neat to see the elite club pros play. See what they can do and how well they still can play based on what they do in their regular jobs.
Collins: Have you heard any tour pros complaining about the 20 PGA Professionals playing this week?
Caddie: No. That's this event. That's what it's all about and I think anybody complaining doesn't understand why the event was created or why the event is still here. I think if they ever took away the PGA Professionals, the PGA Championship would be tarnished in my opinion.
Collins: What's the one thing people will be surprised to know about this golf course?
Caddie: People watching on TV or out here walking around?
Collins: You pick.
Caddie: Well, I'd say for the spectators probably walking the golf course. How difficult of a walk this place really is. I mean you've caddied here in your career, so you know Michael. It's one of the things that will be a "pleasant" surprise to all the people that come out, what a difficult walk it is.
Collins: I don't know if I'd use the word "pleasant!"
Caddie: (Bursts out laughing.)
Collins: Was there anything about the course that surprised you?
Caddie: Yeah, how open they made it. How many trees they took out. I think they tried to give it more of an Augusta feel. Holes like No. 5 and how they opened it up. I heard they took 2,100 trees out, so they opened up a lot. It was a lot tighter and demanding off the tees. Now it's more open (and) you feel like there's more room off the tee box.
Collins: But is that a false sense of security? Just because it looks open ...
Caddie: I would say there's a little more room and the fairways in spots are wider now.
Collins: It's a major so not a lot of caddies going out partying this week?
Caddie: I did my duty last night (Tuesday.) I got my one night in. I got a day to recover. (Laughing) Shake the cobwebs out. I'm drinking water the rest of the week.
In unison we say "Electrolytes" then laugh knowing how true that statement is for the rest of this week.
Caddie well this week my brothers.