A funny thing happened on the way to the media centre…
As many of you are aware The Great Waterway Classic, an event on the Canadian Tour, was recently played at Smuggler’s Glen Golf Club near Gananoque, Ontario and it was destined to be a busy week. I just didn’t realize how busy.
We were proud to produce the program for the tournament and had some other involvement, so on top of regular media coverage for Flagstick.com and Flagstick Golf Magazine there was plenty to keep us occupied. Then came Wednesday night when it appeared that the volunteer list for caddies was running a little short.
That day, the standard chat with players that I already knew went something like this. Me: “Hey, how you doing?” Player X: “Good;you have any time to caddy this week?”
Having looped for nine holes in the practice round for Ryan Kennedy my immediate thought was that it had been enough for me. That said, I considered that here were guys playing a Canadian Tour event in my own backyard and I felt I had to at least ensure that one more of them did not play out the tournament lugging their own bag around Smuggler’s for four days. My sense of hospitality kicked in and I agreed to caddy for Oliver Tubb, a young man originally from Stirling, Ontario who I had come to know starting back in his junior golf days.
Now this was not my first foray into caddying. I was that eager golfer as a teen that was happy to grab the bag for better players in big tournaments. Through the years I have looped at Canadian Amateurs, a few practice rounds on the Canadian Tour, and even during some Canadian Open qualifiers.
It was not a foreign assignment but I didn’t happen to take into account that my guy might be playing for four days, that Smuggler’s is best traversed in a cart, and that, frankly, I am creeping north of 42 years of age.
Unlike the many other volunteer caddies for the week, I had a distinct advantage– I knew my player and it did not take long for us to settle into a routine. I asked what he wanted out of me and did my best to keep his pace, ensure his golf ball was clean, that divots were replaced promptly, and that his grooves remained dirt free.
With a comfort level in place it was not long before Oliver was asking me for my take on various putts and feedback on club selections based on factors like the wind, hole placement, and his yardages.
While I was happy to provide all this, and more, in the back of mind I was always aware that I had little on the line but for him, he was playing for a lot more. Sitting at 93rd on the Order of Merit and this being the last event of the year, he needed to make the cut and finish in the top 40 to retain his playing privileges for 2013.
In the end “we” (and I use the term loosely as he had the difficult task of actually hitting the shots), made the cut, braved a very windy Saturday, and shared a joyful Sunday where he shot 65 to reach -11 for the week and tie for 9th. It was the first top ten finish in his four year Canadian Tour career.
After four days together, as tired as I was, I couldn’t have been more proud to be part of Oliver’s experience at The Great Waterway Classic.
Of course, in a year’s time if he needs me on the bag again I’ll be ready and willing.
It might take me that long to recover.