A few months ago, I wrote a bucket list article in which I wanted to one day attend the Waste Management Open out in Phoenix. And what did I specifically want to do at the Waste Management Open? Watch the infamous Caddy Race on the 16th hole! If you don’t know what I’m talking about then GET OUT. I kid.
Here’s a lil’ fresher for you:
Now, there’s been many stories that have been told in how it all originated, but from what I have gathered the races started around 2001. After the golfer’s hit their tee shot’s on the infamous “Loudest Hole In Golf”, caddies will then dart for the green racing against each other. All in good fun of course. Here’s an example:
As you can see, the crowd even gets involved. It’s been said that the fans tend to bet on which caddy will make it to the green first. Essentially adding more entertainment to the most upbeat crowd on the PGA Tour. Sometimes even the golfers get involved in the fun as well!
Right after the 2013 Waste Management Open, PGA Tour officials officially BANNED caddy races. Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations, Andy Pazder released this statement to the Golf Channel back in August:
“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. I had caddies come to me in Phoenix and at Colonial saying, ‘This is ridiculous, it’s like we are a carnival show.’”
Honestly, I really would like to know what caddy on the PGA Tour would care THAT much about being “exploited” for pure fun for really, thirty seconds. Hey I got a great idea, let’s make that hole even BETTER and just shut down those grandstands altogether. That way, no one would feel like they are being put on for display. Oh wait, it’s the PGA Tour, their cameras everywhere, YOU ARE THE SHOW. And don’t give me any nonsense about a safety concern. Remember, these caddies can choose whether or not they want to participate in the races. No one is holding a four iron to their head saying, “YOU MUST RUN”. It’s a 150 yard “Sprint” from tee to green; half the time the caddies just lightly jog to the hole. It’s like saying golfers shouldn’t walk with a club in their hand, because you never know, they might just fling it the wrong way…
If Padraig Harrington can kick a football in the stands at the WM Phoenix Open, why can’t the caddies run?
Seriously, when do the caddies get any sort of true attention while on out tour? Except for maybe when a golfer commends his caddy for a good job, I really can’t remember a time when the caddy gets some sort of spotlight for something entertaining. Sometimes us loopers need a lil’ entertainment out there.
I caddied for a country club in Stamford, CT for 11 years. Do you think in those 11 years all I did was carry the bag, and give yardage? This isn’t the PGA Tour, where it’s essentially a walk in the park. We’re talking about looping for people who should have never bought a membership to begin with. If my golfer was terrible or if my loop went slow, my caddy-mate and I would make our own fun out there.
When I first starting my life as a looper, my caddy-master told me, “Do your job, but have fun.” The guy was a caddy for years and knew that this job wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows. At first, I was very scared to ever think of entertaining myself when I was out there. As a newbie, you don’t know your limits so you keep yourself under control. If anything I would collect the Snapple bottle caps from the golfers and use the points online to get some free gear. My goal was to get a Foosball table but that never panned out.
We don’t all get to carry for Ty Webb everyday…if we did the world would be a better place
One day, I was walking with a veteran caddy out on the 18th hole. It’s a blind downhill shot, so we assist the golfers in letting them now, if their ball landed safe, out of bounds, etc. Once we give the golfer their drivers, we make our way out to the edge of the hill. On this occasion, our caddy master was in his golf cart out checking the loops and saw us walking casually to the edge of the hill. He caught up with us and said, “SPRINT RACE TO THE HILL…GO!”. As he took off in his cart, we sprinted after him. Naturally I lost; At the time I was a chubby 14 year old with little speed, what do you expect? And ever since that day happened, I knew that I could do alot more on the course than I thougth.
Here’s a lil’ list of the stuff we used to do:
Fairway Races on the 13th hole (Only if all golfers hit their second shots on the green)
Push-up Contests on the 15th hole (If your golfer didn’t hit the ball on the fairway (common) you had to do pushups)
Bag Carrying Contests from the 9th to the 10th (If you were in a foursome with another caddy, the goal was to carry all four bags up steep hill to the next hole, it was a good 200 yards uphill.)
And the best part was that the golfers never seemed to mind what we were doing. They knew they were playing slow, so it gave them some entertainment while we walked. Eventually most of this stopped, when a new caddy master came in and ran a dictatorship rather than a caddy yard. Still that didn’t stop some of us veterans out there in getting a few laughs when we could.
The bottom line, the PGA Tour should really rethink ban. It just doesn’t make sense. You are legit pulling the plug on one of the most exciting holes on the tour. Live a lil’ will ya? It’s not gonna hurt you if you let the caddies have SOME fun out there.
Should I ever get out to Phoenix, this is what I plan on wearing:
The little logo on the bottom of the shirt is a penguin struggling to carry a golf bag. It’s honestly one of the few clip art logos they had one of those custom shirt design sites they were labeled under “caddy”. I don’t know why, but I find a penguin carrying a golf bag hilarious.
HEY PGA TOUR: LET MY CADDIES GO!