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Mark's Kaddy Korner on the PGA Tour
A great week for pr caddy, Mark Huber
Posted Aug 21, 2012 by Mark's Kaddy Korner
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I'm gonna do some rambling here, only because I'm close to brain dead in Seattle and sipping on my second Stag beer cousin Doug slipped in my duffel when I dropped off the new Indian car in St. Louis. He and wife Marilyn are integral pit crew members for the caddy crusade, in fact, brother Dan's van was parked outside their place the last couple days as he passed thru on his way to Knoxville. He was "let go" via phone Saturday night prior to the Web.com Kansas City event but picked up Steve Allen within a couple days.
It's the nature of the business but still it ain't right. If his man, Jerod Turner, had the "kahunas" to do it face to face Friday afternoon in Springfield, MO Dan could have attended the Huberfest reunion, some of these guys have no consideration for our lives off the course. I'm a lucky one, Bob's as good as it gets when it comes to off course activities and works around my schedule from time to time. Top players have released veteran caddies by text, by agent, by phone message ---- be a man do it face to face. Sorry for the rant, I'll get back to the best week on tour so far this year.
Endicott, NY has been hosting the PGA Tour in some fashion since the early 70's. Long time tournament director, Alex Alexander, created an event the community participated in, there were no major corporate sponsors only the local businesses, civic organizations, schools, churches and citizens making this event a favorite stop. Fine dining in the Enjoie complex behind the first and tenth tees is a hand full of "Spiedes", a spicy, marinated mixture of tender meat wrapped in a sweet hoagie bun that drips of your chin. There's also a bunch of folks drawing beers for the thirsty patrons watching golf and waiting for the Friday night concert and local band performing every night in the tent. Sitting under the large oak trees guarding the tee boxes may be the best people watching spot on tour. It's a mini-Phoenix Open nestled in upstate New York's southern tier.
The PGA Tour outgrew the narrow, tree-lined fairways a few years ago and moved to Turning Stone an hour or so north. The Champions Tour and Dick's Sporting Goods, a local hardware/sporting goods/bait shop turned megastore gladly moved in. Marty and Stacy Stack, Dick's offspring, have maintained the local fair, improved the course and brought the strongest field of the year to little Enjoie GC. Watson was here, Freddy wasn't and only four of the top 60 players didn't make it. Everyone has fond memories of this place. Bob finished second in 1976, his first year on tour, to Bob Wynn when he sank a forty footer on the 18th. He recited the memory like it was yesterday to our Wednesday pro-am crew while waiting for the fairway to clear.
It was tough leaving Havana Sunday afternoon following the Huberfest festivities, and I only got as far as Sis's in Mahomet, but did get off early Monday morning and cruised into Endicott about 11 p.m. A detour in Indianapolis dropping off a bottle of Templeton Rye for the Bob & Tom crew held me up a bit, but promises are promises. The '93 Blazer may make the traveling squad, it purred all the way east and cruised thru the mountain passes with ease. Once I get the XM radio hooked up, all will be well. I busted my butt to get there late Monday for a nine o'clock tee time Tuesday. At 11:30 Bob called with all sorts of apologies, his clubs didn't make the flight and he wouldn't be there till 1:30. The extra sleep would have been great, oh well, it's the nature of the business.
I had a feeling Bob would be on top of his game. The course is perfectly suited for his game, he loves the small town atmosphere, plus we'd been knocking on the top ten door the last few weeks. He played well in the Wednesday pro-am, our team tied for first, I only got a handshake but they did sneak me in to the pro-am party afterwards. Bob and I had a few drinks with the boys, snarfed the shrimp and hors'dourves then I met the Dick's Sporting Goods crew down the road.
I was holed up in the Binghamton Motel 6 during the week and only heard stories about the after hours activities at Enjoie. Every time I mentioned my "digs" a total stranger/volunteer offered me a place to stay, the hospitality is truly amazing here. Sorry Des Moines, Birmingham and Minneapolis but when I'm at Dick's it's the best event on tour. I mentioned I wanted to go kayaking and within the hour the caddy crew had a kayak lined up for Thursday, my day off. Thursday evening I accidentally stumbled onto a great jam session with Bob Weisberg, John Denver's guitarist, and a local crew at McGirk's Irish Pub situated next to a golf course. Nice evening after an afternoon of kayaking.
They sent us off one tee Friday even though the weather forecast was nasty and we paid for it. The storm rolled over the hills quickly and we were called off the course with five holes to play, the last group was only on the third hole. We were in good shape, a couple under, but there were quite a few guys going deep. John, our bib and towel guy, lined us up with Binghamton Mets AA tickets and Bob, Tom Watson and I enjoyed an evening at the ball park. Tom threw out the first pitch then we spent the game in a luxury box talking baseball, not much golf, and stuffing our face with a few dogs (I've got pictures). It may have been a first, I didn't have a beer at the park. We had to be in position at 7:30 a.m., my old body was tired and aching a bit.
The double bogey on our second hole, the difficult water lined fifteenth, was followed by two birdies finishing our first round at even par, I think. We started the second round two hours later and could have gone deep if not for a couple lipouts plus maybe a mental lapse of two. The wind fooled us a couple times and we probably made some unnecessary bogeys. On the par three fourth Bob we had 159 to the hole, Bob wanted to hit 8I into the wind, I talked him into 7I. A 6-footer for birdie, in fact, all three birdied the hole, don't think I've ever seen three twos on a hole.
On the downwind seventh par three he pulled out 4I for the 198 yard shot. Nothing was said, the ball bounced over the green and spelled bogey. I got my butt chewed discreetly for the error but got no pat on the back for the 7I pull a few holes back. Oh well, it's the nature of the business, we only take the blame for what goes wrong. It was a long day Saturday and I was fading over cocktails at my buddy Bogey Tom's friend's house about 8:30 so I headed for Endwell Greens and a couch with a farmhouse full of caddies. Fuzzy has the nice place on top of the hill and about 6-8 caddies man the 100 year old farmhouse for the week. I put my reservations in for next year, no more Motel 6 or Red "Black" Carpet Inn across the street from Enjoie.
We were -2, 7 or 8 shots out of the lead and not a legitimate shot to win but he gave it a go. We had one u-turn at the cup and three that rolled over the edge plus another bogey on 15, we played it 3 over for the week, and still managed a 65 sneaking into top ten for awhile but ended up fourteenth. It was the low round Sunday and I think tied the week's low. It was nice to cash a check and made the ride west towards St. Louis manageable, I actually think there was a bit of adrenaline flowing after the round. I wish I could have stuck around for the end and the party afterward.
Willie Wood, one of the all time nice guys, won in a playoff with Tom "Scruffy" Williams on the bag. Both had been down on their luck the past few years, Willie struggling on the Nationwide with no status out here, he Monday qualified this week, and "Scruff" lost his Indian Car of 20+ years a few months ago. After they took a chunk out of the check for the Sunday night party they will be a force the next few years. It really couldn't happen to two nicer guys, they both deserve it.
Speaking of nice guys, my man got a nod Saturday afternoon. It was a long day, Bob bogied the last two holes and was visibly upset behind the clubhouse. There was a bit of heat oozing, he slammed the bag around a bit and did some fast zipper work when retrieving his personal stuff. A local golf coach noticed the ordeal but also watched as Bob signed every autograph seekers memorabilia with a smile and a polite word. After Bob scurried into the locker room the coach mentioned his observations. I relayed the story to Bob Sunday on the front nine, he blushed and went about playing his best round of the year. Maybe the "Golfing Gods" were watching also. It's the nature of the business, if you respect the game, do things the right way, it will reward you sometimes.
It was a long way from Endicott to Dayton, OH to St. Louis then catching a 6:30 flight to Seattle but it was a lot easier after a 65. The Waffle House BLT on Texas toast with an egg washed down by a fortified raspberry iced tea in another Motel 6 early Monday morning tasted a lot better after a 65. We had a chance to win Seattle last year and I like our chances after last week's 65. Those 65's are awful nice.