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Mark's Kaddy Korner in Biloxi
Professional Caddy, Mark Huber, is back in a familiar place
Posted Apr 04, 2012 by Mark's Kaddy Korner
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Apologies all around, sorry for my tardiness, it was busy last week and I'm just now catching up with KK. There are technical difficulties with my laptop so I'm writing from sis's 'puter and any misspellings, grammatical errors, or misspeaks are her fault.
I snuck out of California Monday afternoon after a wonderful evening with actor friends Jim and Sue Metzler, John Couch and Wendy. They whipped up roast lamb with all the fixings and a few extra bottles of vino. I was a little fuzzy boarding the flight but the evening's laughs and good times around the dining room table were worth it. A home cooked meal with friends and family are my favorite moments on tour.
It was a direct flight to Memphis and a six hour drive to Biloxi with only one minor snafu. When your credit card doesn't work trying to get your car out of airport parking, that's a problem. Luckily, it only took a few calls to clear matters up and I was on the road after an hour delay. I really wanted to beat the storm crossing the country following us from California. It didn't mess with me but it caught quite a few players and caddies flying east through Dallas. Steve Pate and Michael Allen's caddy rented a car and picked up some stranger in the DFW airport bar then drove to Biloxi. Gotta do what you gotta do out on the road sometimes.
I pulled in after midnight, checked into the Beau Rivage shacking up with my buddy Al for the week and looking forward to a little gambling and some good golf. Bob seemed to be primed and ready to go but the weather didn't cooperate. We snuck in a 18 hole practice round Tuesday and things looked good. Bob's distance control was right on, there was a little extra distance off the tee, and his attitude was good, if we could only get rid of the "yips" the bank account would be full. A good practice day on Wednesday and a Thursday pro-am would be all the tune-up we needed but Mother Nature didn't cooperate.
Weather and politicians are a lot alike. They blow in and out, give you a decent forecast then often times ruin your plans. You can't trust either of them but I'd much rather deal with the weather anytime. We were supposed to practice Wednesday late morning but I didn't get Bob's text till I got to the course, "Take the day off, it's too windy for me." I fumbled around the clubhouse, practice area and caddy tent collecting charity autographs, new jokes, old caddie stories and eating the best chicken salad sandwiches on tour.
The Gulf Coast Resort Classic at Fallen Oaks is in the middle of nowhere Mississippi about 15 miles north of the gulf coast. Fazio designed this dastardly layout on beautiful chunk of land speckled with large fallen oak trees, rolling terrain, a couple of streams connecting two large ponds and the worst bunkers I've ever seen on tour. The layout is wonderful, the greens puttable and in good shape, it's challenging but fair, however the traps should be dynamited and rebuilt. You could hurt yourself trying to extricate your ball, it's not right to be in the middle of a fairway trap and not have a swing. Everyone, volunteers, caddies, players, cart barn personnel, expressed the same sentiments, "Blow 'em up, start over!".
Wednesday afternoon and a possible caddy holiday coming up, what to do? In the old days the answer would have been easy but now that I'm old and mature I vacillated for about a half hour then headed for the house. Driving past the maintenance barn I could smell the catfish, oysters, turkey and Spam frying on the tee box. The Indian Car whipped into the parking area and they forced a cold PBR in my hand as I walked on the tee box.
Mickey, a local Cajun who happens to be a PGA Tour official, and his brothers were whooping up a spread of vittles for all the pro-am participants plus anyone else who stopped by. Tournament officials from Nashville, Milwaukee and a few other parts north came for the festivities and it got a little rowdy late in the afternoon. It's mandatory you have a beer in hand while frying fish, oysters, spam, deep-frying turkey and stirring up jambalaya. My family can fry fish with the best of them and put together a home-cooked feast better than anyone, I'd love to have a "Bobby Flay throw-down" with Mickey's family, it would be a spectacle.
I headed out early but had to stop by a couple of old haunts before hitting the casino floor. I've been visiting Biloxi/Gulfport since the mid-70's on our high school class trip, stops during Illinois State spring baseball trips and pit stops while traveling "Caddy Highway", I-10. Hurricanes relocated one spot, The Project Lounge, and a fire destroyed my other place, The Shed, about a month ago. It was rebuilt closer to the lagoon with 2x4s, old storm windows, corrugated tin, bailing wire, picnic tables and tar paper. They were up and running five days after the fire serving the best BBQ ever, the only difference, the new building isn't dripping with BBQ stains.
The Project should only be visited in the early evening but they serve up the best cheeseburger and rib eye sandwich on a long bun. No french fries or windows, only chips, sandwiches, cold beers and characters. "Tex", the 75 year old bartender is as bawdy as they get and her picture from younger years "dancing in the French Quarter" adorns the wall among all the hats. She was looking pretty good back then. Even though I'm trying to remove a few pounds I couldn't resist a few visits to both places.
Starting late Wednesday night the storm dropped 10-12 inches of rain with 40 m.p.h. winds the next 36 hours. It was quite the show from my eleventh floor room when it started. The Blackjack table wasn't kind so I basically hibernated in the room for the week. We picked up a roommate, Disco, Bruce Fleisher's old caddy and lifetime looper, 39 years I think he said, and he took the floor. Five years ago he was rolling, now he's having trouble finding a tour job and country club looping in Palm Springs. I hooked him up with Doug Tewell the week before, hopefully things turn around, he's a good caddy and good guy.
The storm cancelled Thursday's pro-am and delayed Friday's start till 2:30, I can't remember the last time I had two plus days off in the middle of tournament week. I took a drive through Waveland and Bay St. Louis Thursday afternoon, the area Katrina blew through five years ago. Folks get real skittish down here when the winds pick-up and I don't blame them. My brother and I did a little volunteer work just after Katrina and it was nice to see the area is returning a bit. Five weeks after Katrina it was a war zone, now there's life and signs of prosperity, the folks are a strong bunch along the coast.
I finally headed for the Beau Rivage's high-roller private course Friday about noon but had to detour a few times because of high water. We deal with the snow up north but this flooding stuff is a bit scary. I can't remember the last time I drove a cart through wheel high water or the van in and around 4 foot sand dunes on the coastal highway. We played 13 holes Friday and then were back in position at 8 a.m. to finish the first and second rounds. It makes for a long day, this old boy was tired Saturday night and so was my boss.
There weren't many highlights and we managed to earn a pension point with our 42nd place finish. I'm sorry, maybe it's old age, but I can't remember a lot about the golf last week. There were a lot of other things going on, I was preoccupied most of the week with family stuff. I'll try to catch up and fill you all in next week. There's good news and bad news but it'll all work out.
Take care . . . . . . . . Mark