The Me-Me caddie

By Jason SobelAugust 8, 2011, 5:42 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Four years ago, I spent a week caddying on the Nationwide Tour, which essentially makes me an expert on all things bag-toting.

I'll spare you the gory details, other than to mention that my man Roland Thatcher and I were on the leaderboard at one point, only to find ourselves slamming the trunk on Friday evening after missing the cut.

Even so, I learned plenty that week. Simple math isn't so simple. Never leave your player's golf bag in a place where it can double as a target.

And two guys without a weekend tee time can consume an awful lot of pizza and beer while watching multiple football games.

I gleaned some knowledge from my fellow loopers that week, too. Their main piece of collective advice was that I try to refrain from becoming one of the We-He caddies. You know the type. They sound like this: 'We started out with a birdie on the first, but he made a bogey. We battled back, then he made some mistakes late in the round.'

We-He caddies have been around since professionals started playing the game for money, but for perhaps the first time in the history of the profession, we witnessed a Me-Me caddie Sunday at the conclusion of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

For the four people around the world who still don't know the history behind the story, here's the par-3 version: Steve Williams caddied for Tiger Woods for 12 years. They won 13 majors together. While Woods was injured this summer, Williams started working for Adam Scott. Woods didn't like that and fired him. So Williams started working for Scott full-time.

It was golf's equivalent of a mob boss ordering his consigliere whacked, only to watch him get saved by another family.

There was quite a role-reversal for Williams' image, too. Long known as the sullen, obtuse bodyguard for Woods who never saw a camera he didn't want to heave into a water hazard, the caddie transformed into a sympathetic figure overnight. He became just another poor schlub whose company decided to pursue other options and summarily dismissed him from his assignment. He was one of us.

The support for Williams from the Firestone Country Club galleries was tangible throughout the week, but never more so than on the final hole.

With a three-stroke lead, he watched his man Scott pipe a tee shot into the fairway and the two began their victory march to the green.

Meanwhile, the swelling, frenzied crowd grew louder and louder. The fans weren't cheering for Scott, though. It's not that they were rooting against him; it's that nearly all audible accolades were foisted upon the man carrying the bag. A former bully from the dark side, Williams was for the first time being accepted as a beloved character.

In an unprecedented bit of hilarity, before Scott made a clinching 5-foot birdie putt, the caddie had to silence the gallery from yelling for himself. When the ball dropped into the bottom of the cup, Williams pumped his fist a celebratory gesture not unlike that of his former employer and hugged his player.

Redemption. Vindication.

Within seconds, CBS commentator David Feherty sidled up to Williams, put the microphone to his lips and asked what this win meant to him.

“I’ve been caddying for 33 years and this has been the best week of my life,” said Williams, who has also caddied for Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Peter Thomson and Ian Baker-Finch. “I’m not joking. I’m never, ever going to forget this week. It’s the greatest week of my life.”

Uh-oh. The invention of the Me-Me caddie.

He talked about his 33-year caddying career. About his record as a front-runner. Even offered a comparison with his moonlighting gig as a race-car driver.

During the short interview, though, Williams never showed any humility for his role in the victory. He never acknowledged the irony in a caddie getting more attention than the player. And most importantly, he never mentioned Scott. Didn't say he was thankful for the opportunity to work with him nor did he commend him for such stellar play.

Instead, Williams ensured that he would be the biggest story on this day, rather than deflecting all glory to the man who finished atop the leaderboard.

The result was that the sheer delight from the hordes of fans screaming his name on the course never transcended to those watching at home on television. In person, Williams was a conquering hero. In living rooms and 19th holes around the world, he was an arrogant scene-stealer, reveling in the attention and taking all the credit for his player's victory.

Caddies often garner too much credit for a player's success and shoulder too much blame for the failures. That's also a fitting metaphor for how Williams' scenario unfolded. Those behind the ropes heaped too much praise on him for the victory; those watching on TV issued too much blame for his lack of grace.

The truth rests somewhere in between. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Scott's first title in more than a year coincided with Williams' first week as a full-time employee. Nor should it be ignored that the caddie used this victory as a forum to promote his own agenda, which can be summarized thusly: 'I don't need you, Tiger.'

The fact that general reaction in the hours after what Williams referred to as 'my 145th victory' has been negative speaks to the power of media and common sentiment toward the role of caddie.

More than anything else, though, it's about Steve Williams and how the Me-Me caddie will never win friends and influence people.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: