It’s only fitting that the idea for a podcast about golf was born on a golf course.
Late in 2017, Matt Barrie and Michael Collins, hosts of ESPN Audio’s weekly Matty & the Caddie podcast, were enjoying a round of golf together in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Barrie’s birthday.
“We started talking about how many pro athletes play golf, and how many celebrities, and how golf is the great connector,” said Barrie, an anchor on SportsCenter. “We literally said we should do something using golf as a backdrop. To dive into their lives and learn how they came to play the game.”
Collins, a senior golf writer for ESPN.com who also contributes golf coverage to SportsCenter, and Barrie kept the conversation going and eventually taped a pilot episode at the Masters Tournament in 2018. After some refinement, the podcast officially launched in June 2018.
Since then, the program has attracted a lineup of guests that has included Steph Curry, Reggie Jackson, Sterling Sharpe, Brian Urlacher, and Joe Carter as well as comedian George Lopez. And guests from the golf world have included Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, John Daly, and Curtis Strange.
New pod is up! ”The Great Salmon Debate.” Among others. @espncaddie over explains fish to @mattbarrie. Is The Players, a major? Caddie gets blocked on Twitter by a Golf Channel employee. And, so much other…STUFF. https://t.co/dBQECdaf2I pic.twitter.com/7Ficxj2V93
— Matty & The Caddie (@MattyAndCaddie) February 26, 2019
“The connectivity there is golf,” said Barrie. “They all love the sport and play.”
Barrie and Collins had never met in person when they first worked together on the former ESPN.com program Across the Pond, which was done via Skype and featured the two discussing the PGA TOUR and European Tour.
“From the first two times we did it, we knew we had a good rapport back and forth,” said Collins. “You just knew, we’ve got kind of a special bond, even though we had never met or anything. When we just sat down and started talking golf stuff, we really hit it off.”
They first met in person at The Players Championship in 2016, when Barrie was on assignment for SportsCenter, and he asked that Collins be included in a segment about the famous “Island Hole” at TPC Sawgrass.
“Matt and I were on the very same page from the beginning, and we stay on that page to this day. And he is all-in with everything we do,” Collins said.
“We understand how golf is a love sport for so many athletes and celebrities in other genres and that’s what’s been the big payoff for us,” he said. “Everything that we knew golf brought to the table from other places has come to fruition and proven to be true.”