And for a short time on my first day on the bag, I was worried Id be late.
Im caddying for PGA TOUR professional Jay Williamson this week at the Childrens Miracle Network Classic at Disney World.
Williamson won earlier this year on the Nationwide Tour in Ft. Smith, Ark. (his first PGA TOUR-sanctioned victory) and then parlayed a PGA TOUR sponsors exemption in Hartford at The Travelers into a near title, losing to Hunter Mahan in a playoff. Since then, Jays been compiling sponsors exemptions and solid finishes into a bid for the Top 125 ' which hes all but secured despite sitting near the bubble number.
Back to the phone call.
Williamson and I have long talked (jokingly at times) about me looping for him somewhere when it was practical. And this week seemed like the perfect opportunity. Jay called in August with the offer to caddy ' provided he earn a sponsors exemption into this weeks field ' with hopes of adding some levity to a very stressful year.
The GOLF CHANNEL deemed it a worthy opportunity ' allowing me a break from the Sprint Pre/Post Game schedule this week, for which Jay and I are quite thankful. And for those of you wondering ' yes, we have an agreement about how Ill be compensated at weeks end: plane tickets to an upcoming Mizzou Tiger game might be my favorite perk.
So today it began ' and not like most caddy-pro relationships in a given week. This morning, I met him on site at Disneys Palm and Magnolia Courses after I took my three kids to school.
And how about this for some stress: I hopped on Interstate-4 only to come upon an accident which forced traffic to a standstill for the better part of 15 minutes. And once that cleared and I found my way onto Disney property, another accident slowed traffic again ' making my 9:00 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. meeting time a bit shaky. Truth be told, I arrived on time to Jay saying youre early.
After Jay registered for the tournament, I actually registered in the caddie area ' just like the real caddies. We met with Tournament Director Kevin Weikel, who greeted us with some kind words of encouragement and then I sat near Jays bag while he did what so many TOUR pros do ' get a massage in the fitness trailer.
In between Jays trip to the equipment trailer to get a few adjustments made on a TaylorMade driver, we spent on-and-off time on the range ' catching some grief from Jays fellow PGA TOUR pros and some ribbing from caddies who were actually quite supportive. We grabbed lunch with Chris DiMarco and played a few practice holes with young gun Kyle Reifers.
Let me make this totally clear this week is a great opportunity. I get to see the PGA TOUR up close and inside the ropes while being a part of someone elses workspace. In this case its a good friend ' whos made me feel quite comfortable. But Im taking this quite seriously.
I actually caddied for Steve Flesch at Colonial the year he won the tournament, but that was only in the pro-am. This is the real deal; and I realize its completely different.
We talked about grain on the greens, what yardage he wants and when he wants it, who pulls the flagstick, where to stand when hitting from the tee and the fairway, how to properly read the wind ' things like that.
Biggest advice: answer questions when asked and dont offer information. Be prepared to offer information, however. The key is: be prepared. Jays a pro; he knows what hes doing and realizes hes going to handle more than he would on a given week. Actually, yardages and being prepared dont scare me ' its the deadline Im under when its our turn that has me a bit nervous.
We worked from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Im glad Ive got one more practice round left, before we tee it up for real on Thursday alongside J.P. Hayes and two amateurs for the first two rounds.
Wednesday will be much of the same, probably a few more holes than we played today. It rained today and tonight, which will make things interesting on Wednesday for two courses that are already very wet.
Stay tuned, Ill share more details Wednesday night, and will be doing a daily diary throughout the week.
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