Undercover caddy: ‘Drinking problem ruined relationships with players’

A PGA Tour caddy, who requested anonymity, told the story of losing a job because of alcohol. 

I’ve always considered myself a safe person when it comes to drinking. The first time I drank beer was when I was in college, and it wasn’t like I drank until I was drunk every weekend. I drank one set (6 cans) every Friday and Saturday. I know now that this amounts to binge drinking, but at the time I thought it was moderate compared to other college students.

After graduation, one of my high school friends started pursuing her dream on a mini tour. Having no job yet, I figured I could caddy for him and he would be able to delay living like an adult as long as possible. 

He quit golf after less than a year after realizing that his play was far below par. I found another player’s caddy job, which led to another player’s caddying, and two years later I was on the PGA Tour. 

When I started caddying, the number one player on the tour money list earned less than $2 million, and only about 20 people made $500,000. If you’re a caddy and you’re not with the stars, you’re in for a tough spot. I was like that for the first 5 years. Still, I liked this job. 

I was single and didn’t need much money. I enjoyed it enough that I enjoyed it, but when the budget is limited, the constant moving around is bound to be limiting. One thing you can do without spending a lot of money at this time is to drink alcohol.

What doesn’t help with this is rooming with different caddies each week. Others also drank almost every day. Again, I had fun, but we weren’t always totally screwed. Most nights I only had two drinks to unwind.

But there were times when I drank much more. Excessive drinking catches the ankle the next day. The nature of the job, which often requires you to be outside in the heat, makes your body hard. Still, in your late 20s or even early 30s, you can handle these days, or at least hide them.

Being close to 40 at the time, I was pretty bad at hiding the fact that I had been drinking too much. I only found out about this because the player’s agent told me that he was worried about me constantly showing up to the course sober. 

He often drank alone and sometimes had 10 beers before falling asleep. The agent was right. I messed up. At the practice range, my player looked at me with ‘what did you do last night?’

How did this ruin my job? It wasn’t that he passed out in a bunker or threw up on the course, but he repeated mistakes, such as giving players the wrong line or information. 

To be honest, the player didn’t expect much from me. What he wanted most was a loose atmosphere. It meant talking about baseball or making him laugh. 

Without further ado, we had the closest bond on tour. But in retrospect, when I had a hangover, I either kept my mouth shut or my energy wasn’t up to the level I needed. Nothing dramatic happened on the course, but my drinking did affect my performance. 

There were also moments of despondency off the course. Not long after receiving the agent’s warning, he was hit by a player. His parents were in town and before the round started, his father invited them to dinner together after the match. 

A few hours later, as we wrapped up the day’s schedule, my fighter said, “I don’t think you should come tonight. I need you in your best shape tomorrow.” He spoke softly but firmly. The meaning was clear. If I came out, I would be drinking and drinking too much.

The worst part was this. Two of the next 10 rounds we had together I showed up sober. He knew too. I wasn’t feeling well in another round, but judging from his stats, I think he thought he was drunk that day too. 

This was our last round together. Because after that season he fired me and said if I wanted to stay on tour I would have to get serious about my job.

I waited for a call for the first few months. I’ve been on tour for over 10 years and someone will need me. I had a drink while waiting, but the phone didn’t ring. The time for the US Open came around, but there was still no work. 

By then, word was circulating about why I was drunk, and I knew the phone wouldn’t ring. Around that time, she stopped binge drinking. He had not participated in a sobriety program, had no sacred religious experience, and suffered no withdrawal symptoms. Instead, it was cut off slowly for two months. 

He wanted to get back on tour, and the first step was to put the bottle down for good. In order to find a caddy job, I had to return to the Nationwide Tour, which was the second division tour at the time, and after working with any player in a few tournaments, I found a semi-regular job in the big leagues again.  메이저사이트

An old player of mine recommended it. We have never fully restored our relationship. Parting between a player and a caddy is often like this. But I will never forget that he did me such a favor.

I’ve been back for over 10 years and now it’s actually going downhill. It was not an easy year. Still tempted to drink. I still have a lot of free time, and I have a lot more money now than I did when I first started, but I’m still on a tight budget. Alcohol is cheap and easy to get pleasure from. And when I hang out with caddies, at least some of them enjoy drinking. 

And I’m reluctant to take on a full-time job because I’m recently married and want to spend more time at home with my family. To be honest, alcohol also played a part in this decision. Because quitting wasn’t easy, and being a caddy only makes it harder. 

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