Imagine Golf Blogs

Making the Money List

A good day for professional Caddy, Mark Huber

Posted Oct 05, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

I’m sitting in a rest area outside Cape Girardeau, MO finishing KK Tuesday morning, it’s been a whirlwind week but we’re gaining on the Schwab Cup Tour Championship. I know, southern Missouri is not on the way to Houston but there was a minor detour through Indianapolis to pick up the van, switch out stuff from Wendy’s truck and then swing through Havana for a home-cooked meal and a family pow-wow.

 

Bob and Becky kept a good eye on the Indian car; we tucked it under their carport before taking off last Tuesday afternoon for Raleigh, NC, another fateful friendship developed on the road. It’s a small world, it only went to one degree of separation before we connected last week now they seem like lifelong friends. Storing a car for week may seem minor but it sure means a lot to an itinerant caddy on a day to day schedule.

 

Fall road trips are my favorite. Leaves are starting to turn, farmers are picking corn, combining soybeans and mowing hay, the air is cool, crisp and fresh and there is meaningful baseball on the radio. Ten hour drives are much simpler and I look forward to the highway therapy, it’s my escape, my thinking time, gives me time to regroup. For some reason I’m more relaxed after a long road trip than a flight.

 

The SAS Championship in Cary, NC is one of our top tournaments, the field was strong, the galleries were large and supportive despite football season, and Mr. Goodnight, SAS CEO and creator, makes sure the players are pampered inside the 60,000 square foot clubhouse and the only five star hotel in North Carolina. SAS is one of the top companies to work for in the U.S., their employees receive every benefit possible and this tournament entertains SAS clients from around the world.

 

The road trip to and from was relaxing but things are getting tense on the course. Players are battling for money list positions and it’s wearing on them and their caddies. The top thirty is most important but other spots on the list, top 50 for example, guarantee exemption to most tournaments next year. There were quite a few thrown clubs this week, a number of “F-bombs” and one caddy firing on Friday. A caddy’s number one job is to take the blame for everything that goes wrong plus show up, shut up, and put up. One caddy forgot the basics and was loudly dismissed during the round.

 

You have to be on your toes this time of year. Hands need to be away from the bag when that club is slammed upside down into the narrow slot after a muffed chip, fingers have been broken, and a club may come flying at any time. I really don’t mind a little anger, it shows they care, but they have to get it out of their system before the next shot. Bob’s good at that, there may be a burst after a three putt but he usually takes a brisk walk to the next tee, regroups and splits the fairway with his driver. “Red-ass” tee shots usually travel a bit farther, reduce your rage and help you forget the three-whack.

 

You just can’t carry the fury from shot to shot; it makes for ridiculously high scores. We watched a 78 and an 81 over the weekend, it was painful. The Saturday 78 was out of anger, fired by a miserable human being and the Sunday 81 came from a great guy who developed an “I don’t care attitude” after his smooth nine on the ninth hole. It’s a tough game, it takes its toll on everyone.

 

Bob’s handling the top 30 pressure well. We’re not dwelling on it but recognize what we need to do. During the pro-ams we talked about it briefly, spent a little extra time putting on the new surfaces and relaxed while our partners hacked it around. Prestonwood CC has redesigned every green over the past couple years and it takes a while to get used to them. There were a lot of guys shaking their heads this week as putts skittered by the cup rolling opposite the intended line. I think we missed 5-6 putts inside six feet every day but so did everyone else if you believe what you hear in the caddy shack.

 

We definitely had our chances going into Sunday, five under, four back of the lead and windy conditions make it real interesting. I was up early, a bit nervous so ran a few errands before the round. Prestonwood might be our toughest wind course on tour. The tall Carolina pines, twisting fairways and swirling, gusty breezes make club pulling difficult and we were in between clubs a lot. Our decisions were fairly accurate but the three-putt on the first hole and the short birdie miss on the second didn’t help our start but he hung in there finishing tied for tenth after a twelve foot par saving putt on the eighteenth.

 

That last par saver snuck us into 29th on the money list. It was huge, both mentally and monetarily and Bob had a gratifying smile as we packed up the car. He was on a charter flight to Houston; we were making the long road trip.

 

He asked, “When you getting in to Houston?” “When do you need me?” I replied. “Wednesday morning at the earliest for the pro-am but if you need some extra time for family let me know, I’ll find someone” he said. Bob’s in the middle of making the Tour Championship and he’s thinking about my family, it doesn’t get much better.

 

- Mark Huber

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