A Lumpy Ride


You could almost see this one coming.
Early in the week of the Bank of America Colonial in Fort Worth Tim Herron talked about being reunited with his former caddie, Scott Steele.
Steele had been on the winning bag that memorable April day way back in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in on the second extra hole to stun the golf world and sting Greg Norman and capture The Masters.
Then Steele had gone on to distinguished work carrying the bags of Payne Stewart and Curtis Strange. Finally he had landed work with Herron, a talented Minnesotan who answers to the name of Lumpy.
Their success was enviable but not spectacular. Herron hung around the top 50 in the world but never broke through in a major; never found himself on a Ryder or Presidents Cup squad; hadnt won since Bay Hill in 1999.
So he and Steele split up. It happens in the caddie-player business. Working relationships grow stale. But the two never lost respect for each other. Eventually they decided to get back together. That happens a lot on the PGA TOUR, too.
Early in the week at Colonial Herron found himself among the early leaders. When the subject of Steele came up, Herron offered that Steele had more confidence in his (Herrons) game than he did himself.
The next thing we knew Herron was saving par on the 71st and 72nd holes in must-make situations to gain a playoff with Swedens Richard S. Johnson. Then Herron drained the winning putt on the second extra hole to win 1.08 million dollars and vault into the top 10 on the current Ryder Cup Standings.
While Colonial officials searched for a plaid jacket that would fit the winner, Herron headed off to the awards ceremony and Steele told him he would be waiting in the bag room.
Thats where I caught up to the caddie. I started to congratulate him and he waved me off. I dont talk to the media, Steele said.
Not too many caddies ever utter that sentence.
But, Steele said, after a brief pause, he would make a brief exception.
I love working for Tim Herron, he said. I love watching Tim Herron play golf.
Was this more exciting than having been on Mizes bag at Augusta in 1987, I asked. Hard to compare, Steele said.
I sensed he wanted to talk more about it. But thats when he remembered he didnt do interviews. Our conversation was over.
Johnson had birdied the last two holes to get into the playoff. And he looked every bit a winner until Herrons putter bailed him out at the end of the day.
Synergy between the caddie and the boss had played a crucial role in this championship. And Steele didnt really need to say anything more. His player had spoken for both of them with his clubs.
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