My Web.com Tour Caddie Experience [Video]
The tournament took place at Ashburn Golf Club’s New Course – a course I have been a member of for many years. I decided that I wanted to be a caddie.
Many of the players have full-time caddies and brought them along, but usually at these events, some players need local caddies to help them out.
Carrying a heavy golf bag up the hills of a golf course I know inside and out may not sound appealing to most, but having the opportunity to watch professional golf from inside the ropes is something that I could not pass up.
The caddie director told me about a week in advance that I’d be caddying for Canadian Roger Sloan. He was 80th on the Web.com Tour’s money list and to be honest, I had never heard of him before.
Roger and I met on Monday morning at the clubhouse. The golf course was buzzing with excitement as Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, Trevor Immellman, Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, and David Hearn were there to compete for the inaugural RBC Canada Cup. Roger and I were there for the Canada Cup pro-am and a bit of practice.
— GOLFest Nova Scotia (@GOLFestNS) July 1, 2014
I let him know fairly quickly that I had never caddied before. I was worried that my lack of experience would be an issue but he didn’t seem too concerned. He let me know a couple of things that he likes his caddie to do and assured me that I’d catch on pretty quickly. My main goal was to stay out of his way and not throw him off his routine. I didn’t want to offer advice unless it was asked for. He is a professional golfer, after all.
We had another pro-am on Wednesday. Adam Svensson, the top ranked amateur in Canada, and TSN’s Bob Weeks were in our group. Svensson, a 20-year old British Columbian who was also in the Nova Scotia Open field, has a bright future ahead of him. He is set to play a number of big tournaments this summer including the U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club. He dunked two shots from 50+ yards for eagles. He impressed even the 2002 PGA Champion, Rich Beem, who stopped to chat with us on the 15th hole. Rich was there to do on-course commentating for the week.
It was great to spend some time and chat with Bob Weeks. I have been following his work with Score Golf and TSN for many years. He is a great guy. Really knows his golf. He was on a tour of Nova Scotia and seemed to really enjoy what the province had to offer. He mentioned that the Scallops he had in Digby were the size of hockey pucks (they are, and they’re delicious).
Nova Scotia Open
The competition started Thursday and we had an early tee time. The crowds were small, but there was one special fan in attendance. Roger’s mom travelled from British Columbia to surprise him. He turned to me on the practice range and said, “My mom just showed up. I had no idea she was coming” with a smile. Roger shot opening rounds of 67 and 65 and sat at the top of the leaderboard. He didn’t get too excited knowing there was a lot of golf left to be played. I got pretty excited, but tried to play it cool.
Play on Saturday was called due to hurricane Arthur. There was substantial damage to the course that needed to be cleaned up. The grounds crew did an amazing job getting the course ready for 36 holes on Sunday. I spent most of my day on the couch resting (those bags are heavy).
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) July 5, 2014
After Hurricane Arthur
Sitting at the top of the leaderboard, we had the last tee time on Sunday morning. They wanted to make sure that the event finished on time so they didn’t re-group after the third round had been completed. I knew it was going to be an exciting day but I was not expecting what was to come.
The winds from the storm were still very intense. Scores weren’t all that good. Roger shot 71 in the third round and was tied at the top of the leaderboard with John Mallinger, who was the biggest mover of the day. We had a gallery with us the entire third round. It was a pretty cool feeling.
After a quick 15 minute break, we were back on the practice range warming up for the final round. Kay Cockerill from the Golf Channel approached me to chat. I was a bit surprised that it was me she was looking for. She is an on-course announcer and was going to be walking with our group for the final round. She wanted to know a bit about me for the coverage.
Roger’s fourth round was fairly uneventful until he hit the back nine. Four birdies mixed with a few bogies kept him right in the mix. A member of the gallery ran over to me as we walked off the 17th green to tell me what had happened two groups in front of us. The leader, Derek Fathauer, had missed a short par putt and fell to 11-under par.
Roger was tied for the lead heading to the 18th tee, but I kept my mouth shut. After hitting his second shot to the fringe he asked me, “Do you know where we stand?” I looked over at him with a smile and said “Yes, I do.” I don’t think he wanted to know, but he knew he needed to. “Do I have to make it?” he asked. “Make it to win? Or make it to stay alive?” I replied. “Make it to stay alive,” he said. “Up-and-down gets you into a playoff.”
Roger ended up winning his first Web.com Tour event with a par on the first playoff hole. It was a surreal moment. Everybody was so happy to see a Canadian win the first ever Nova Scotia Open on Canadian soil.
It was a special week. I can’t wait to do it again.