There probably aren’t many people who switch careers from stand-up comic to sports reporter, with 10 years as a professional golf caddie thrown into the mix, but ESPN’s Michael Collins is unique in many ways.
Collins, who has reported on golf for ESPN.com since last August, is part of ESPN’s coverage team for the 112th U.S. Open that teed off Thursday at San Francisco’s Olympic Club.
His years of carrying the bag for various PGA Tour pros and his time on the comedy circuit (20 years), allows Collins to offer a different perspective in his videos and live chats.
“The thing I try to bring that’s a little bit different than everyone else is I try and bring a lot more fun into it,” said Collins, who will be moderating ESPN.com’s CoverItLive coverage for almost 12 hours a day during the four-day U.S. Open (visit the “Golfcast” from Championship Central).
“I try and bring out as much of the personality of the golfer as I can,” he said. “And I think because of my background and where I came from, I have a level of trust with these guys that they know they can let their guard down around me.
“Because of that, most of my best compliments are from the interviews I do with the golfers because they are so much different with me than they are with most other reporters.”
In addition to moderating CoverItLive at Olympic, Collins is using his caddie experience in daily “Red Light/Green Light” segments, discussing pin placements and which holes might be easier or harder that day. (See below of one of those video segments.)
But being busy is nothing new for Collins. In a recent span, he went from his home in Florida to New Orleans, back to Florida, to Charlotte, N.C. for a week, back to Florida, to Jacksonville, Fla. for one day, to ESPN’s Connecticut offices for four days, home long enough to unpack, do laundry, re-pack and then out for a week in Ohio.
“Believe me when I tell you, right after the U.S. Open, I’m going on vacation for a week, and it’s going to be like a Corona commercial,” he said.
“I’m basically going to throw my iPad, my laptop and my phone into the ocean, so I will be completely unplugged for a week. I’ll need a week to sit on the beach and decompress.”
And then, no joke, he’ll be off to England for the Open Championship.