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A real caddie challenge

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The annual Bruce Edwards Caddie Closest to the Hole Contest is a “fifth major” fixture, like divergent champions and sweaty palms on the 17th tee. It’s also one of the most entertaining events in a sometimes vanilla sport which puts the club in a caddie’s hand on the game’s most unforgiving tee box.

Early Wednesday it didn’t disappoint.

Five of the first eight caddies found water with their tee shots, including Tiger Woods’ man Steve Williams, and if the Tour and TV are interested in putting microphones on players they should start here.

“We have a disagreement,” smiled Charles Howell III. “He wants to hit a chip 9-iorn and I think it’s a full wedge.”

Good fun all around.

Not that it’s easy for the caddies, most of which are good players themselves and stand to win a laptop computer which was donated by CDW. Michael Allen’s man Michael Mahoney nervously coaxed his tee shot into that ridiculously small bunker and sighed, “I’m still shaking.”

The highlight so far was Nick O’Hern’s caddie, James Williams, a right-hander who flipped one of his left-handed bosses clubs over for the challenge. Williams failed to keep his shot on the green, but it was entertaining.

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