Damon Green is the caddie for Scott Hoch. Terry Holt is the caddie for Hank Kuehne. They were perched on golf carts at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, fighting the enforced boredom outside the clubhouse at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, just passing the time of day.
Green is 43 now, himself a former player on just about every minor-league tour imaginable. He even played Bay Hill a couple of times on sponsors exemptions before he decided to take a spin carrying Hochs bag. Hes been doing the gig three or four years now, and he admits he makes more money doing this than he did as a golfer.
Holt is a native of England who lives now in Jacksonville, Fla., and hes been caddying for many years. Billy Casper was one of his first bags. He carried for Andy Bean. Paul Azinger was another. He has been around the tour for awhile.
Holt is still slender ' thin as a toothpick, actually ' and he looks like he could pass for 15 years younger than his true age. I eat like a horse, actually, said Holt with a grin. The doctors say its a good thing Im very athletic. My blood pressure is very low, something around 100 over 60.
Another caddie pulls up in the walkway outside the locker room. Teddy Two-Stroke, roars Green. Where you been, Teddy Two-Stroke?
Teddy Two-Stroke is the looper for Azinger. His real name is Ted Scott, and Green was having a good laugh at Scotts expense. Scott picked up the nickname because of a two-stroke penalty he cost Azinger at the Canadian Open ' a penalty Azinger didnt realize he had incurred until he had after the fact.
The culprit was a television viewer who made another one of the infamous after-the-fact telephone calls. Scott had removed the flagstick from the 13th hole while Zingers playing partner, Fred Funk, was chipping toward the hole. The ball was barely moving, having traveled two feet past the cup, when Scott grabbed the pin. That, as it developed is a violation of Rule 17-2b.
Did you know about that rule, Terry? asked Green.
Holt, the old veteran, hesitated for a moment. No, I didnt, he admitted.
Ill bet everyone out here has broken that one some time in his life ' everyone. Its just that poor Ted got the penalty put on him.
Ill tell you, said Green, its getting so that you have to carry a complete set of rules around with you at all times. And you dont do ANYTHING until you see if its going to violate a rule.
Scott, a former mini-tour player himself, just grinned. He has taken so much ribbing for the gaffe, but both caddies admitted they didnt know the rule, either.
The topic then changed to the importance of being a good caddie. Green shuddered ' he realizes what a hugely important job it can be. He realizes what the player is thinking ' remember, hes pretty good at this himself. And he realizes that so much is wrapped up in a caddies decision.
Ill be the first to admit it - Im a choking dog out there sometime, said Green. Really.
I caddied for Garrett Willis the last three weeks of the season when Scott (Hoch) wasnt playing. He (Willis) was 124th on the money list when I started. When the season ended, he was, like, 130th. Boy ' every time you pull a 6-iron, you have to think about what a tremendous difference it might be making to a guys career.
Really ' I dont think people realize what an awesome responsibility you have. You can break a man in an instant.
Thats a caddies life ' a lot of down time, a lot of busy time, but always its on someone elses time. The good ones earn a lot. But they are responsible for a lot.
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