Caddy Talk...

Out of my mind on Wednesday morning and time for caddie stories. Where did all the old caddies go? I yearn for the days when the caddie yard @ Agusta was the only source for the players competing in the Masters. I still think, at some level, that the “old timers” have an edge when it comes to reading a green. Case in point: my friend, and neighbor, has been a caddy @ Oakland Hills before Oakland had hills and knows those greens as well as he knows that the sun will rise in the east. Where is he during tournaments time- sometimes at home laughing about all the miss reads!! He is on stand-by but still waiting for the golden loop.

Another story: If I was tour today, I would use a plumber for my caddie. Ok, stop laughing and I’ll explain. Was helping a guy long ago with his swing motion. He kept saying that if he could swing like me then he would be able to play on tour immediately. I said- “well can you spell putting?”. He said that he was a plumber, but was the kind of plumber that installs those massive 10’ concrete drain fields along highways and such. Back before lasers and satallite, alignment was done by an experienced eye. He said he could spot a 1/8" gradient at 40 yards. HOGWASH. Well, I saw him do it. Incredible ability to read land and slopes. Lasers and GPS are taking over but still some health 50 year olds out there who would make great caddies.

Ok, quick one from one of my visits to the Old Course.

There is/was a caddy there who was pretty much blind. His tactic to avoid detection was to just wait till his golfer walked off the tee and then follow him to his ball. He was a good looper otherwise I was told.

Anyway, he’s following his player one day into the rough not realising his player is headed for a comfort break. He walks on a bit and announces “I’ve found it sir!”, the player walks over, looks at the object on the ground and declares “That’s a mushroom!”

Some of the long term caddies are the best. I had a Caddy at Pebble Beach in 97 who told me he was a 4 handicap. He read ever single putt for me perfect. After seeing me hit 2 irons shots, he just handed me irons the rest of the day after getting the yardage. He was dead on. Its really an art and some of these guys are great.

I caddied in 2 US Opens (84 Womens Open and 01 Sr. Open), both at Salem. As a kid I started Caddyn at Salem CC in Peabody, MA and the 2nd year I caddied I got a bag in the Womens Open. Caddying really gave me a real appreciation for the game and I’ve seen it all out there. When I was 15 I probably weighted about 118 lbs and carried two tour bags on ocassion, not these little 4lb carry bags the kids carry today. I don’t think they would even let a member shore a 10lb leather bag anymore. It was no mercy back then, but it was worth all the effort. I love hanging around the caddy yard even years after when I moved up to the bag room. There were some real characters who used to caddy. Alot of the older guys, thats all they did for a living. They knew more about the game than just about anybody and loved golf. There was one guy “Don” who used to do 2 loops a day, he was probably in his late 60s. When he made the turn, he would run over to the bag room, strip down and lather himself up with Sun Screen. He was a piece of work. He was the nicest guy in the world,I don’t think he ever uttered a negative word about anybody. He did his job like he was part of the secret service. You’d think it was the most important job in the world. The members were lucky to have caddies like that. I think they are hard to come by now.

I had the good fortune to play Pinehurst #2 back in 2000 and employed one of the old-timer caddies. On a good day my putting is average and my green-reading skills are equally mediocre. You may have heard about the greens there… they can be tough, but I made more putts that day with him reading the greens… it was amazing. And it wasn’t like some of his reads were a few inches of break different than mine … I was reading some to break the opposite direction!

I too think the Augusta caddies could provide an advantage, particularly for those players who don’t have 20 Master’s tournaments under their belts. Unfortunately with the big-business of golf there would likely be a lot of dissenting by the caddies the pro’s use day-in-and-day-out.

As long as y’all are at it talking about caddies this goes out to everybody on the west coast. If anybody sees ‘Little Stuey’ me and Tike over at El Cab would still very much ‘like to have a word’ with him. Dude’s been dodging us for years. And every Player west of Texas knows exactly who I’m talking about.

A lot of the caddies at Pebble an Spyglass are college players at MPC and some other schools around the area and there’s a few high school and prep players from the Robert Louis Stevenson School. Some really good sticks have come out of the loop an the penninsula.