John Rollins goes from caddie to spot in the field – as a player – at Pebble Beach

John Rollins
John Rollins was supposed to be at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week as a caddie. That all changed when he found out early Thursday morning that he was in as an alternate to play with a tee time just three hours away. Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

How’s this for a crazy story?

John Rollins – a three-time PGA Tour winner, who hasn’t played on the Tour since the Barracuda Classic in 2018 – was scheduled to be at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week, but as a caddie, for buddy Hunter Mahan.

But, as’s Jim McCabe points out, things didn’t exactly play out according to plan.

At 5:30 on Thursday morning, Rollins received word that he was in the field as a player – from the alternate list – after several players withdrew and had a tee time three hours later if he wanted it.

Rollins said he was “outside the top 20” on the alternate list and figured there was no chance he’d be playing, which is why he agreed to caddie for Mahan in the first place.

The 43-year-old did tell McCabe that he wasn’t sure what to do at first: take the spot and play or honor his commitment to Mahan.

Thankfully for Rollins, Mahan made the decision an easy one.

“I had to really think about it,” Rollins told “I asked myself, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ Hunter (Mahan) is my friend and I was here to caddie for him, so I called him. Hunter (whose tee time was 10:01) and his wife, Kandi, were more than gracious. Hunter said, ‘There’s a reason you’re here, so go and enjoy.’”

So, that’s what Rollins did.

Instead of a first round of caddying at Spyglass Hill, he went to Pebble Beach as a player and opened with a 1-over 73. The round included two bogeys and one birdie.

“I didn’t play terribly,” he said. “Actually, I was OK, everything considered.”

Mahan, meanwhile, shot a 1-under 71 in his first round at Spyglass.

Rollins told McCabe he did learn something from the mad morning scramble.

“My heart is still in the game. I know that and I know the success I’ve had out here.”

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