Our man in Sandwich has had a busy day – but managed a quick 18 at Herne Bay all the same:
“I rose bright and early. Well, at least there was no alarm call from yesterday’s gull – had to be at Sandwich for 6 a.m. We all arrived at about the same time and all very bright and eager for the day.
The pace has moved up a gear and it is beginning to get quite exciting; loads of players are on the range from 6.30 onwards and they are a lot more animated as well, and greater in number. The buggy team are in good spirits and we are all working well. I call for reinforcements and two arrive taking us up to a team of ten.
The team have devised a game – if we carry a Major winner in our buggy then we get a point for each of the Majors they have won. Planning begins in earnest as we try and remember how many Tom Watson has won as he seems to be the big winner around today. Rules are quickly written, and rewritten – we are not allowed to ask players directly how many they have won – this could avoid embarrassment later. One of the guys jumps the queue with his buggy to collect John Daley; he immediately has all of his points docked for cheating.
Ben Curtis appears with an entourage and I am second in the buggy queue – three people fill the first buggy and I am left with two pleasant elderly guys. As we drive I tell them about the game and point out that they have cost me a point – they laugh and the guy in the front tells me that his mate in the back is in fact Ben’s Dad – should be worth half a point. I try and claim it but am told “no!” – I keep trying and am informed that if I mention it again I‘ll lose the point I have just collected for David Duval.
Luuuke Donald is next to get in my buggy – the caddy gets in the front and Luke sits in the back with his coach. He accepts my congratulations for his Scottish Open win and then talks with his coach. The caddy and I chat easily, I tell him that I now live in High Wycombe just like Luke used to in fact in Hazlemere. He knows the area and we compare notes. I talk about the 2 clubs who lay claim to Luke. I have friends at both clubs and, for those of them who care, it is great fun to wind them up about Luke’s true allegiance – it is a very sensitive subject. One of the clubs now has a banner up proclaiming ‘Luke Donald World’s No 1 golfer and Hazlemere Junior champion 19..,19..’ The caddy is greatly amused.
The buggy track crosses a pedestrian walkway from the green car park and when the ropes go up as we approach necks are craned to see which famous golfer is in the cart – it is sad to see the disappointment in the spectators’ faces when we are only carrying a caddy. Many of the caddies are aware of this and join in the fun.
A caddying legend appears it is ‘Fluff’ Tiger’s caddy in his early days and now working with Jim Furyk. The other caddies automatically throw a packet of fags to him, obviously, a well used ritual. It is great to see him still on a bag and it is obvious the high regard in which he is still held. People come over to speak to him and he dispenses words of wisdom to all. Eventually, Jim is ready and we take them up to the range.
Our buggy parking lot at the range end affords us great views of the World’s best golfers, but we are all so confused now as we have watched so many variations of the same swing.
Jim and Fluff want to go back after an hour and Fluff wants to call into the caddy room for pin position charts – we arrive at the Portakabin that carries the sign ‘Caddies’ HQ’. Jim comments favourably on it and Fluff rejoins by saying “Everywhere else it says Caddies go away, but in the UK we’re always treated with respect”. That was good to hear.
I am driving Paul Lawrie’s caddy who is making a case for Inverness as a holiday destination. “It is one of the driest places in the UK. normally’” he says, when I spot Paul White who is one of the PGA’s scoring team. We have worked with him and his wife Alison many times over the years and we exchange pleasantries as the caddy waits patiently.
That is one of the good things about this volunteering you come across many of the same people year after year and it is good to catch up.
The initial chat of the day is mostly about the rising wind and the likelihood of rain – to be fair they are mostly excited about the prospect. The consensus is that it will rain this afternoon – typical really as I am due to go out later at Herne Bay after my shift finishes. I draw unexpected sympathy from some. One caddy only believes the shipping forecast when preparing for their round, well that and his own eyes.
Chubby Chandler arrives with two other guys and people ask ‘Where’s Rory?’ Chubby informs everyone who is listening that he is in the house but will be along later today.
Hot news; Aaron Baddeley went fishing yesterday and caught 3 roach.
Shift finished, went off and played golf – rain did start literally as I was putting out on the 18th……”
More from Bill tomorrow. He didn’t tell us what he scored at Herne Bay though, did he?