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Basking in the Glory of a Win
Professional Caddy, Mark Huber enjoys victory
Posted Jun 17, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner
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Doing laundry and writing KK on a beautiful sunny northern Wisconsin day isn’t what I’d like to be doing, I’d rather be fishing. But, KK is going to be fun this week. I don’t think I’ve ever had a week off after a win; it’s usually straight back to work, driving to the next tournament and ready to go Monday night. I really was able to enjoy this one.
Immediately after a win it is blissful chaos. There are so many folks gathered around and so many things to do you have trouble thinking straight. Simple things like finding the scorecard. Usually Bob has it or it’s on the cart steering wheel. Sunday he stashed it in the golf bag front pocket and I panicked when I couldn’t find it. The press, tournament bigwigs, volunteers, and Ron Keener watched me run around frantically searching for the card. They got a laugh and we disappeared into the scoring tent after the card was found.
The scoring tent is a calm respite just before the trophy presentation and celebration. We made sure the card was right, took a bunch of deep breaths and I asked Bob if there’s anything I could do while he attended to the formalities. He couldn’t talk; his eyes were welling up, so we sat there for a brief moment until Phil Stambaugh, PGA media rep, entered and gave Bob the trophy presentation/media schedule. His wife, Peggy, handled the Golf Channel interview, Bob was too choked up to talk, but for the next couple hours he was as cool as coming down the stretch.
Everybody wanted a piece of him. After securing the bag, making a few calls and slamming half a beer (the other half ended up on Bob’s bag, please don’t tell him) I retreated to the back of 18 green watching the ceremony with my high school buddy, Ron Sudduth, who carried the final group boom mike for Golf Channel and Ron Keener, our renowned caddy concierge. Caddies are never a part of the ceremony but I sure enjoy watching from the shadows, it’s a relaxed, accomplished feeling that makes all the hardships worthwhile. A few volunteer friends and pro-am partners stopped by, we chatted and celebrated a bit but everyone was watching the trophy presentation.
Bob was shuffled off to the media center and I scurried to my van for a quick change into flip-flops, BogeyPro tee shirt and hat, loaded the clubs and sipped a refreshing MGD. Media interviews are a bit redundant and usually that’s when I take care of all the caddy valet stuff, I didn’t want to miss the Champions Toast on the clubhouse veranda. Pizza, beer, casual conversation with a bunch of tournament folks and pictures with the winner’s check are caddy highlights. I savored every minute then Bob politely headed for the parking lot, I was close behind.
We needed to pack up and take care of business matters, another caddy moment. Normally, when a pro writes you a check on a car trunk it’s not more than a salary check. This one was bit larger, I tucked it safely away and Bob said, “Don’t cash it for a few days; the PGA Tour doesn’t deposit the pros money till Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Bob and Peggy were heading to Europe the next day so I followed him to his hotel, loaded his luggage and bag into my van. I was babysitting clubs and luggage the next two weeks. He shook my hand, said, “Thanks for sticking with me, I appreciate all your help, see you Endicott.” We had missed the cut the week before and hadn’t finished higher than 56th all year, this week was an unexpected pleasure and time for both of us to sit back and enjoy the win. Quiet moments with your pro after a win are very special.
I made a beeline for Legends sports bar for a few cold ones, a bite to eat, and the tournament delayed broadcast. Usually there is someone to celebrate with but everyone had left town and I was on my own. Four locals were watching the tournament and I recognized two of them, all were cheering loudly for “Disco”, Mark Brooks’ caddy, so I sat there quietly watched the tournament and NBA playoff game, sipped my Miller Lites (they were out of MGD) listening to their banter. These guys knew everything about the tournament and were quite inebriated, but I just sat there answering congratulatory phone calls and texts from friends, family and old bosses. I was a great way to celebrate but I couldn’t resist chiming in when we were on 18.
One old boy slurred, “This putt breaks about a foot right to left.” I quietly said, “No, it’s pretty straight.”
“How the %#&@ do you know?” came an angry retort. “I was out there and watched it,” I politely replied. “You can’t tell anything from the stands,” he chuckled and dismissed me with a wave. “I was a bit closer than that,” was my reply but he wasn’t listening.
A few minutes later the camera caught Bob and I discussing the possible playoff and admiring the uniformed soldiers at full attention surrounding the green. My bar mate looked at me then to the camera and back again. “You S.O.B., you’ve been sitting here all this time and haven’t said a word!” I apologized; bought them a drink and we had a good laugh. I can’t wait till I see “Disco”.
It’s been a long week, a bit too much celebrating with my bottle of Templeton Rye whiskey the Principal Charity Classic presented to the winning caddy. They also handed out two free Delta tickets, a Visa gift card and the winning caddy gets a Lexus for next year’s tournament. The large winner’s check ended up in the Stag Tap after a Monday celebration with some old home town buddies.
There were calls from all over the globe, they were all greatly appreciated. Bob Murphy called late Sunday night after the telecast and yelled, “It’s a good damn thing he didn’t let you read the putt on 18, you’d have never won.” Another old boss, Doug Tewell, called Monday morning asking for a loan.
The last few years have been a bit difficult but weeks like this make it all worthwhile, especially when you get to share it with friends. Sunday I played with Jamie Dunn, Holly Evenson and Mark Polancek in the June Cleavage scramble for cancer. The golf was miserable but there was a lot of fun and it was almost as enjoyable as the previous Sunday. Golfing for a good cause is what it’s all about.
- Mark Huber