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Observations of a caddy at the Australian Open


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#1 Takeitasread

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:26 PM

I just thought people might be interested in my observations of this week's Open as a caddy. By way of background, I play off about 4, but would be lucky to play once a year. I played with a forum member named Russ a few years ago at Eastern but have got out about once since then. I have caddied for an Australian who played on the European tour (a lovely girl), a South Korean and then an international player this week ranked about 100 in the world (also a lovely young girl). I thought the course was terrific and better than I remembered it. The greens were probably a touch slow and bumpy but plenty of putts were still holed.

We practiced on Monday and Tuesday on the course then just hit the driving range on Wednesday due to the fact it was pro-am day. Her coach shadowed us every step of way. It was obvious this girl (22 or 23) could play, even though it was just her second tournament on the LPGA tour. She told me she needed no help reading the greens, and after half an hour I knew why. Every putt seemed to have a chance, no matter the distance. I would have just been a hindrance and added nothing. She was quite powerful, even though relatively short, with a solid athletic physique. She could drive the ball roughly 260-265 yards (no metres here) and everything had just a slight draw. Solid irons and I loved the fact she used the 57 degree for virtually every shot under 100 yards (no decisions there!).

The sand belt is notoriously windy, but Thursday and Friday (and Saturday for that matter) were dead calm and just made for scoring. We (and I use the term "we" loosely because technically I didn't hit a single shot) played pretty solid golf with no major dramas. When you can hit 15 greens and can putt (not even close to a 3 putt yet), you're going to be under par. A couple of 50 footers in round 2 don't hurt either. Six under at the half way mark and tied for 12th - all good.

Round three starts with a five. Not good on what is in reality a tough par 3. A few crooked tee shots on the front nine and we explore some new areas of the course. She worked hard and really ground it out when it clearly wasn't her best ball striking day. Eventually got it around in 71 to move to 7 under. I'm proud of her effort, because others may have not toughed it out. No major harm done, but back to tied for 16th.

Sunday dawned with rain and wind. Damn, I hate both of them. Both are a caddie's worst nightmare. A great warm up but I haven't seen her on course in the wind as yet. The first is straight down wind with the flag deep on the right. Great, I think. In the first couple of rounds she has short sided herself on the left, but now is the chance to go just short or again into the left bunkers for a much more straight forward shot. She grabs the 5 wood - perfect I tell myself. Then at the last minute, she grabs the 4 iron. Oh-o. (Did I also mention she picks her own clubs? This was almost the first thing she told me when we met Monday). She is probably right 16 out of 18 but not this one. A poor swing and into the bunkers on the right. Sigh. Short sided and a 60 metre bunker shot. Just once can we make 3 to start??? In the end it was a tough day at the office, but again she ground out it out when she could have chucked it in. Just one of those days.

I will watch her progress over the coming year with great interest. One of the other caddies told me on Monday she was "the real deal" and I suspect he was correct.
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#2 Deege

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 08:21 AM

Really interested to hear your thoughts about this.  As I mentioned in the other thread, I carried the walking scoreboard for your group on Saturday.  I was very impressed with Nomura.  I figured you weren't her regular caddie and saw that she was pretty much running her own show.

 

My stereotype of the Japanese players is of no nonsense fairways and greens golf, which is pretty much how the other player in the group, Uehara played all day.  The other walking officials and I were talking about it and saying that while Uehara seemed in some ways to be the more consistent player, Nomura was the one that was managing to put it on the board and grind out the holes.

 

I really enjoyed watching her play - she was one of the players that really impressed me over the week - on a day when she clearly didn't have the best ball striking day, she was really scrambling well and always in the hole.  She had some just gorgeous shots as well - the second shot on 15 from behind the trees, and there was a tremendous up and down out of a bunker - I think on 13?  In fact, she played very well out of the sand all day.


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#3 Takeitasread

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:11 AM

Oh, she definitely ran her own race, which is fine with me. She mainly wanted confirmation of yardages. Were you Dan, by the way? Sorry, I met so many different people they just sort of blended together after a while.

 

A few other random thoughts I could have added -

  • I didn't realise Yamaha made clubs (but then I'm not an equipment nut). Nice looking clubs they were too.
  • Hopefully all events will go to rangefinders soon. Everyone uses them in practice but then wastes time with the books when the event starts.
  • The ages of spectators must be a concern. It is a bit sad for the game's future to see so few people there under 30.
  • The players were particularly good with the spectators, happy to give their time and have photos taken and sign autographs.

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#4 Deege

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:22 AM

Yes I am Dan.

 

As for the age of spectators, I thought the same about the volunteers.  On Sunday I had a couple of people in my group offer to carry the board for a couple of holes because it was so windy, but they all looked to be at least 60 and I didn't want to have any of them blowing away on my conscience.

 

I thought all of the players were just fantastic all weekend - at least there were some young kids getting autographs from everyone and the players really went out of their way to help people out.  Plus they were all very nice to us as volunteers, introducing themselves and thanking us, which was just a lovely thing to do.


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Winner B Grade Long Drive 2015 OOM #4 Heritage

Winner B Grade NTP 2015 OOM #4 Heritage

 

Handicap PB - 12.6, baby


#5 Harambe

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:56 AM

Did you partake in those ridiculous "air hugs" at the end of the round?



#6 Takeitasread

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:04 AM

Yes I am Dan.

 

As for the age of spectators, I thought the same about the volunteers.  On Sunday I had a couple of people in my group offer to carry the board for a couple of holes because it was so windy, but they all looked to be at least 60 and I didn't want to have any of them blowing away on my conscience.

 

I thought all of the players were just fantastic all weekend - at least there were some young kids getting autographs from everyone and the players really went out of their way to help people out.  Plus they were all very nice to us as volunteers, introducing themselves and thanking us, which was just a lovely thing to do.

 

 ah, so my memory is not gone totally and yes I agree about the age of the volunteers too.



#7 Takeitasread

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:05 AM

Did you partake in those ridiculous "air hugs" at the end of the round?

 

Nope, just a nice handshake.



#8 voss

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

Takeitasread - Good to read the insights and sounds like you really had a player who was very close to the top of her game. Can you mention how you obtained the gig and secondly what was the financial arrangement (% type obviously). It reads that you had a thoroughly enjoyable week and thanks for sharing it with us.

#9 Takeitasread

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:52 PM

Voss, I have no doubt she will be a star. Not really at the top of her game, but still very solid. We agreed a daily rate before the event but they ended up paying me about double that amount. To be honest, it wasn't so much about the money but more about the chance to watch how a top player goes about her work from very close range. I'm probably lucky to have the chance on a semi regular basis and they indicated to me that if she returns next year they would get me to caddy again.


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#10 tigertuff

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:29 PM

thanks for sharing, great insight



#11 Theguru

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:25 PM

Great insights Takeit.
I caddied for a young guy a couple of years ago in a qualifier and watched him pull out the wrong club on a few occasions. Really tough call unless you know them well to offer shot advice but in retrospect I should have guided this kid a bit more. I'm not a great golfer but he was making some mistakes...maybe next year if you caddy for her again you might be able to suggest some things if the times right

#12 Takeitasread

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:55 PM

Yep, agreed. The tricky bit though is when they say they don't need help with lines or clubs then it is very difficult to say too much. For example I played for years on the sand belt and she could outread me on those by so much it was laughable, after just a few days, but then in the last round she had a 30 foot putt straight downhill downwind on the second hole and ran it 12 feet past. I knew it was going to be like putting down stairs, but you do as you're told sometimes. She hit 4 iron at one par 3 and I was fairly sure it was too much, but again she knows her game so much better than I do.



#13 Tolmij

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:11 PM

Good summary of the week, it must be awesome to see them work close up.
Intended to break 90 this year, not going well.

Concentrating just getting round the course

#14 Shanks4ever

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:28 PM

Good summary of the week, it must be awesome to see them work close up.

Awesome when they make the cut and some money, not so awesome when they pay you and make $0.



#15 ozdevil

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:50 PM

thanks for sharing  it is always interesting to here from a caddies perspective and how they felt there player has performed.


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