You're carrying what?!
At every golf tournament, the same two questions come up:
How much does it weigh?
What's in it?
In the days and weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup, I asked around and found out what's in some bags, found out if there is a difference between a bag for a player on the European Tour and a player on the PGA Tour. But most important, I found out what's in the bag for the Ryder Cup.
The consensus was pretty clear -- food and rain gear are the essentials anytime you travel across the pond for the Ryder Cup, or when playing in the United Kingdom and Europe. A couple of American caddies even said they take peanut butter with them because apparently the UK peanut butter "sucks." (Hey, I've never tried it.) Let's just say it shouldn't be an issue finding good food in Paris this week.
But here's a sample of the more entertaining answers.
Ryder Cup and ... hair care?
Tommy Fleetwood's hair is famous. His caddie, Justin Finnis, is tall. They make quite the pair.
Michael Collins: What's the most important thing (other than the essentials) you'll have in the bag at the Ryder Cup?
Ian Finnis [caddie for Tommy Fleetwood]: Food, most probably. Tommy likes eating, and I like eating.
Collins: Anything weird in the bag?
Finnis: Tommy carries a lot of hair care products, obviously. [Deadpan, trying not to laugh.]
Collins: Hair care products?! In the bag?!
Finnis: I'm sick of people asking me what he carries. I say, "When he goes to the toilet, he puts a bit [of hair product] in." That's what I tell 'em. But seriously, the most important thing we're going to carry in the bag at the Ryder Cup is food. Ask Tommy: If I get hungry, we got big problems.
Collins: You get "hangry"?
Finnis [nodding]: I get very hangry. Ask anyone. I'm a very happy person. People think I'm aggressive because I'm so big [he's 6-foot-7 and does look a little menacing]. But ... when I'm hungry, look out. Don't speak to me, I'm hungry.
Collins: How much different is the bag on the European Tour compared to the PGA Tour?
Finnis: It's the heat [on the PGA Tour] -- hydration stuff. We never take that in Europe, unless we're in Dubai or somewhere hot. But not in Europe ... it's too cold. Wooly hats!
Hey, bartender, can I get a drink?
Justin York is on the bag for Chez Reavie. He came with an interesting answer about what's in the bag.
Michael Collins: Tell me something you carry in the golf bag in Europe that you don't carry in the U.S.?
Justin York: An extra jacket. You carry one jacket, but you have to carry an extra jacket because it's going to be freezing. So, you have one jacket because, even though it's a rain jacket, it gets soaked. You might have to ditch it or do away with it. But nothing out of the ordinary other than an extra jacket.
Collins: What's the strangest thing you've ever carried in the bag?
York: Actually, one time I carried a fifth of Casamigos [tequila] in the golf bag! It was a present to someone else, but I had to hide it the whole time.
Does it matter what I ask Joe LaCava about what's in Tiger Woods' golf bag? Don't act like you're going to skip this part.
Michael Collins: Most important thing in the bag going over to the Ryder Cup will be ... ?
Joe LaCava: Weather gear? Does that sound weird, because the weather's usually worse [in Paris]?
Collins: And is the weather gear you use different over there compared to the United States?
LaCava: Well, yeah, it'll be red, white and blue team gear. But it won't be different quality, I don't think.
Collins: No, I meant thickness because it's colder.
LaCava: I think they'll probably have the standard whatever it is. I think there's somebody in charge of the clothes, isn't there?
Collins: What's the Ryder Cup like for the caddie?
LaCava: It's awesome. It's a great experience. I mean, I love being [in the United States] because obviously the crowds are behind you, but there's a little something about going over there when they're against you. That is pretty cool, so I do like that, too. But the best part is the team unity. You're actually really pulling for guys. Not that you're rooting against them [during regular events], but you're really pulling for guys, and they're pulling for you. Everyone's having a good time. It's just a great team atmosphere.
Collins: Players say they've never felt nerves like they feel on that first tee. What kind of nerves are you, the caddie, feeling?
LaCava: I think they get nervous on the first tee because you just want to get [the ball] airborne, so to speak. Since [the caddie isn't] hitting that shot and it's only the first hole, there's no nerves for me. You may catch some nerves coming in, especially if it's coming down to Sunday afternoon, and maybe it falls completely on your guy. But it's a good nervous, because you're excited and you want your guy to do well obviously. And you know it's going to be a tight match and every single point is going to matter, so you get a little bit anxious/good nervous.
Collins: Of all the Ryder Cups you've been able to caddie, what's the best swag you've ever gotten? What's the one thing you still have and look at?
LaCava: That's a great question. Uh, to be honest with you, I don't know if I have one piece of any stuff. I like to give to my friends, who get a bigger kick out of it. Looking back, I probably should've saved some stuff for my kids, but I didn't. I'm not a big autograph guy, either, but I think I have some of the flags players signed, which is just kind of a neat thing to pass along to my kids. But I never kept a lot of things. I'm not a hoarder. I throw everything out.
Collins: You're the opposite of a hoarder!
Collins: You're a minimalist!
LaCava: Yeah. But like I said, when I see my buddies' eyes light up when I hand 'em Ryder Cup gear ...
Collins: That's worth more than ...
LaCava: Yeah, are you kidding me?! To me, it's just clothes. But for them, to see 2018 Ryder Cup logo on it, they get all jacked up.
Collins: And they're going to be able to tell that story forever, where if it's just hanging in your closet ...
LaCava: Right! And that's what it's going to do, just hang in my closet, because I'm never going to use it. I'm not going to, when I go out and play golf, wear my Ryder Cup logoed shirt. You know what I mean? It's just not going to happen.
[We laugh knowing the brutality of how bad your friends will make fun of you wearing that at your home course.]
Hey, go out for a pass
Collins: Strangest thing you've ever carried in the golf bag across the pond?
LaCava: [Thinks for a second and then laughs to himself.] Well, I've ... [catches himself] .. . not during a real round, but during a practice round, I've had a football in there to throw around. I did it when I worked for Fred [Couples].
LaCava: Yeah. Well, I brought it over there to throw around, and then I said [to myself], "Let me put it in the bag one day and see if we can throw it around." But nobody was really into it, to be honest with you.
Collins: Yes, because that's one of the things that makes us feel like home?
LaCava: True. That's what I mean. I want to throw the football around when I'm over there. Actually, I think I did it because it was the Dunhill Links, it was October and it was football season back home. So I was jonesing.