NORTON, Mass. – As caddies shuffled to the first tee at TPC Boston to begin their rounds early Friday morning they exchanged their normal hats for non-descript black hats to honor Angela Bennett, the wife of Matt Kuchar’s caddie Lance Bennett, who died unexpectedly on Wednesday.
Officials also set up a large frame with pictures of Angela, Lance and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Emma Grace, on the first tee and handed out black ribbons and orange ribbons. Orange was Angela's favorite color.
After talking with Bennett on Wednesday, Kuchar decided to play the Deutsche Bank Championship and opened with a 2-under 69 and is tied for 17th place.
“It’s been amazing the outpouring of messages to me and Lance and the Bennett family,” Kuchar said. “I have to say the first tee shot was very difficult. I teed it up and saw all the guys putting on their black hats and ribbons. It was a tough one. That first tee almost made me say, 'I can’t do this.' I almost didn’t have the head, the strength to go on.”
Long-time Tour caddie Brian Reed stepped in to work for Kuchar after getting a call from Bennett on Tuesday.
“It was very difficult," Reed said. "Our wives are very good friends, and on the first tee (Kuchar) looked at me and said, ‘That was tough.’”
First-round leader Ryan Palmer also worked without his normal caddie, James Edmondson, who stayed in Texas to be with Bennett.
“It was easy for him to say, ‘I need to stay home,’” Palmer said. “I said, ‘Done, don’t worry about it. We’re just playing golf. You stay home.’”
The funeral service for Angela will be held on Tuesday in Terrell, Texas, and a viewing for the public is scheduled for Monday.