PGA Tour caddie races, a staple during tournaments at TPC Scottsdale and Colonial, will no longer be allowed, the circuit’s executive vice president and chief of operations confirmed to GolfChannel.com.
“We have advised the folks at Colonial and out in Phoenix to discontinue the caddie races. It was a situation where we developed a little concern about caddies’ safety. Running 150 yards puts caddies at risk for injury,” Andy Pazder said. “I had caddies come to me in Phoenix and at Colonial saying, ‘This is ridiculous, it’s like we are a carnival show.’”
Instead, organizers at the Waste Management Open will encourage fans on the par-3 16th hole to download an app on their smartphones that will allow them to guess which player out of a particular group will hit their tee shot closest to the hole.
“So there will be some fan interaction,” Pazder said.
Earlier this year at the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Pazder asked caddies not to race as they teed off on Thursday, one caddie confirmed.
“OK, the Tour banned (caddie) races. I guess they will prevent fans from screaming and talking on that hole while my guy’s hitting,” tweeted Kip Henley, who caddies for Brian Gay and whose race with his brother, Brent who caddies for Robert Garrigus, went viral earlier this year during the Waste Management Open.
The caddie race at Colonial’s par-3 13th is considered the original, and officials at the Byron Nelson Championship and Waste Management Open added the event in recent years.