Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of the Feet

We missed the cut.

By one stinking stroke.

I accept full responsibility. I will never forgive myself for voicing doubt over the amount of break on number four during the first round. At that point Lindsey was one under par and putting beautifully (she is ranked number three on tour with 28.462 average - not bad for a "rookie"). She saw two balls, I saw less.

It was two.

Then she was left with a downhill slider that didn't slide and in less than a minute went from one under to one over. It's just not fair.

Lindsey recovered from my blunder quickly, however, parring all but one hole on her way to an opening 38. A second 38 on the back put her in a solid position for Saturday.

Unfortunately that 38 on the back nine could have easily been a 36 or better.

Why? For starters the skies parted and we had over an inch of rain late Friday. Lindsey was just ready (as in already starting her backswing) to hit her approach shot on 15 when the horns sounded. Lightening, wind, heavy rain, hail, you name it, it was headed our way. As a result over 70 players had to complete the first round Saturday morning.

At 7:00am Saturday morning.

The temperature was a brisk 51 degrees the next morning, and it was made even brisker but an 18 mph wind straight out of the north. Lindsey hit her storm-interrupted approach shot, off a water soaked fairway, into the wind --- 20 feet from the cup. Expecting slow greens after all the rain we had, her first putt went a little long. No problem - Lindsey sank 4 and 5 footers all tournament (no wonder she's 3rd in putting), but this one rimmed out. From birdie to bogey. And an indication of how the day was to go.

So, we finished round one a little after 8:00am Saturday. Then, an an hour and a half later we started round two. Temperature still in the low 50's. Winds still in the high teens. Oh, and to compound misery (although we were playing in Kansas), we started on the back nine, by far the tougher of the two nines. Then it was bad bounces, no bounces, poor bounces, cruddy bounces, lip outs, you name it. Shortly after we started round 2 Lindsey had a shot absolutely clear a bunker, then hit a mound and bounce straight back into the sand. It's just not fair.

So, no thrill of victory.

Not this time.

Lindsey is a great competitor and as soon as she gets a decent caddy she'll do fine. As for the agony of the feet - my dogs are barkin'. My thighs are tingling. My quads are quivering. Well, you get the idea. I'm not real sure I could have gone another round. But, I figure I didn't do to badly for an old geezer of 64 with two grandkids (one of which will be a teenager this year). And, fortunately for me, a wonderful lady of 63 with two grandkids (one of which will be a teenager this year), picked up the bag for the completion of the first round so I only had to carry 18 and not 21 plus. Thanks, Sweetie. Now we're both pretty beat, but we just have this one question...

Anybody need a caddy?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Life as a Tour Caddy

Life as a Tour Caddy - Imagined:
  • Arrive at the golf course a half hour before tee time.
  • Park in the VIP parking ten yards from the first tee.
  • Pick up some free food and drinks reserved for the players (and their caddies).
  • Step inside the ropes.
  • Bask in the glory of your player as the players are announced. You can almost hear the announcement: On the first tee, from Sarasota, Florida, Lindsey Bergeon, Member of the winning 2007 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championship team WITH her caddy, from Ellendale, North Dakota, winner of the 1962 Ellendale City Championship, currently residing at Lake Lotawana, Missouri, CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK COMSTOCK. Let's give them a big round of applause!
  • Watch as your player puts her first approach shot 15 feet from the cup.
  • Check the break from both sides and advise player of right to left break of one and one-half inches.
  • Watch as your player drops putt for a birdie on the first hole and thanks you for great read.
  • Repeat as needed for the next 53 holes.
  • Watch as your player drops final putt for a one-stroke victory.
  • Receive hug and 10% of the winnings for your great advice and help.
Life as a Tour Caddy - The Reality:
  • Arrive at the golf course a half hour before tee time.
  • Park in any parking you can find within a mile of the course.
  • Gaze longingly at the free food and drinks reserved for the players (and their caddies), but you're too busy making sure your player has everything she needs but NOT too much (14 clubs, max), and gets checked in on time and picks up her scorecard and her towel is wet, but not too wet, and plenty of tees and balls, and, on a day like today, an umbrella.
  • Step inside the ropes.
  • Double check everything as the players are announced, hardly hearing your player's name since this time you've counted 15 clubs and you're breaking out into a cold sweat since that is big, BIG penalty, and make sure you're to the right side of the golfers and about eight feet away and slightly to the rear and hope you can see where her drive lands.
  • Receive her club back and clean with the wet (but not too wet) towel, cover and place in bag. Oh, crap. Player has taken off like a shot and is 30 yards away and you have to practically run to catch up before she arrives at her tee shot and is ready for you to hand her the yardage book but not the scorecard book and be ready if she asks what direction the wind is coming from and how strong and how many clubs different.
  • Watch as your player puts her approach shot 15 feet from the cup. TRUE STORY.
  • Check the break from both sides and advise player of right to left break of one and one-half inches. TRUE STORY.
  • But then take a look from the other side of the cup and realize, oh, crap, IT BREAKS THE OTHER WAY. But this is the very first hole of your tour caddying career and you don't want to yell, STOP, STOP, I WAS WRONG, IT BREAKS LEFT TO RIGHT!
  • Watch as your player drop putt for a birdie and thanks you for great read. TRUE STORY.
How that ever happened, I'll never know. But it did. One under for the first three holes until a small hickup (okay, okay, I overruled my player's read and I was wrong for real) put her one over. She (we) got through the rest of the front nine with only one more bogey for a 38. Lindsey was only one over on the back nine before weather forced play to stop. We'll be back at it at 7:00am tomorrow to finish the last four holes, then go straight into the second round.

There were times today when I felt like the proverbial one-armed paper hanger. I'd forget to get the scorecard book out of my pocket after Lindsey putted out and then I'd have to be digging around for that while taking her putter and digging in the other pocket for the cover while trying not to distract the players still putting and since I was the only caddy trying to hold the flag stick and keep the flag from flapping and the wet (but not too wet) towel from flopping and getting Lindsey's driver out and uncovered and by now the scorecard book is ready to put away and it's time to get the yardage book out. Oh, crap. There she goes again. She's thirty yards away and it's time to catch up again. Whew.

Put all that together with the fact that I haven't walked 18 holes of golf since last summer, and even then I used a pull cart but today I'm carrying "the bag". Tougher than I expected? Yes. A great experience? You betcha. Priceless. For all the rest, there's MasterCard...