Injury risk: Players retaining fill-in caddies

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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Chambers Bay’s rolling terrain and dramatic dunes prompted USGA officials to build extra viewing areas for fans and limit the media’s inside-the-ropes access, and the topography also has players taking interesting precautions.

Mac Barnhardt and Jimmy Johnston with Lagardere Unlimited confirmed to GolfChannel.com that they have retained a local caddie for the week to substitute in case one of their players’ caddies is injured or unable to work.

Michael Greller, Jordan Spieth’s caddie who used to work at Chambers Bay, recommended Brendon Solomonson to serve as the group’s backup caddie for the week.

“I didn’t want a bystander to have to step in in case something happened. I wanted someone who knew the golf course,” said Barnhardt of Solomonson, who has caddied at Chambers Bay since the course opened in 2007. “It such a different course and we wanted to be prepared.”

The move proved particularly savvy when news broke late Wednesday that Stephen Gallacher's caddie, Damian Moore, sprained his right ankle during a practice round and Henrik Stenson's caddie, Gareth Lord, sprained his left wrist when he slipped walking off the 16th tee.

A day earlier swing coach Pete Cowen had an even more potentially serious brush with injury when he fell raking a bunker and impaled himself in the leg when the rake broke.

"It was quite painful, but my pride was hurt the most," said Cowen, who was walking with Graeme McDowell. "It could have been nasty."