Form is temporary, class is permanent

4 06 2011

So Brian’s adventures at the 2011 Times Colonist Open have come to a premature end once again. Certainly as far as the first round was concerned, ‘adventures’ would be the right word. There are an awful lot of trees at Uplands golf course and Brian’s ball finished directly behind a large percentage of them. The fact that he was only four over par at the end of the round was down to recovery shots and putting of which Seve Ballesteros himself would have been proud. In the span of four holes mid round Brian made successive putts of twenty, fifteen, thirty and sixty feet – all for par! Needless to say, all these putts were made with absolutely no input from yours truly. My job was simply to carry the bag, confirm yardages and maintain a professional, poker faced demeanour at all times. Sadly, when the sixty footer dropped, I burst out laughing and dropped the flag. Once again, my intentions of “showing up, keeping up and shutting up” had failed at the final hurdle.

Brian has been working hard on the Swinkey project all winter and would be the first to admit that practice time has suffered as a result. No surprise, then, that his first competitive round of the season should show distinct signs of rust. I actually had Brian down for a 73, but he’d moved his marker on the 11th green while taking a practice putt and called a penalty on himself. I hadn’t noticed, neither of his playing partners had seen it, and there were no rules officials around, but Brian had immediately called one of the other players over, confirmed what had happened and added a shot to his score. That’s how a true pro acts.

Brian hit the ball much better in Round 2 but, as is so often the way, the putts wouldn’t drop and the result was another 74, T110, and five strokes the wrong side of the cut line. Brian’s off to Kamloops next week and after that he’s going to try to prequalify for the Canadian PGA event in Vancouver, but my caddying season is coming to a premature end, with family visiting and then a canal trip to Ireland coming up in the next few weeks. Brian and I part on good terms, I think. His most memorable line about caddies, said in my hearing to a fellow competitor at Edmonton last year, was “If your caddie’s not actually annoying you, he’s doing  a decent job”. For the most part I think I just about measured up, but here are some stats from the last two days at Uplands that might suggest otherwise:

# of times towel dropped in fairway: 1 (but I’m not sure it counts because a spectator picked it up and Brian didn’t notice).

# of times Brian told me I nagged him more than his mother about keeping hydrated: at least once per round (but I take that as a compliment).

# of times I gave the wrong yardage: 1 (no defence, and luckily Brian had it right).

# of times caught talking to a marshall with Brian’s four iron in my hand when he was ready to play his shot: 1 (v.embarrassing).

# of times guilty of unprofessional conduct by bursting out laughing when Brian rolled in the sixty foot putt: 1 (but honestly, it was a ridiculous putt).

# of times Brian said “Good job, Dave” at the end of the round and sounded like he meant it: every time.

So it’s been a pleasure, Brian. Not just taking the unseen penalty – all golfers should do that – but your general demeanour with spectators, marshalls, fellow competitors and even caddies, especially when things are not going so well on the course,  prove the old adage that “form is temporary but class is permanent”. You’re a classy guy, B – and man, can you putt!

All da best!

Dave B.

Brian makes his par putt at #18 in Round 2.

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4 responses

4 06 2011
Martin

Great job Dave. Great writing, a pleasure to read and superb encouragement for a very classy young man.
Stay ABOVE the water in Ireland, and have a great time. Does your barge have an engine this time or are you rowing again?

4 06 2011
Bagger Dave

Thank you, Martin. Actually it’s always neat to see how supportive the pros are of eachother – if someone in the group is having a tough day, the others always say something positive when they hit a good shot. Difficult to imagine that during play in a soccer or hockey game…

Dave

16 06 2011
Jordan J. Caron

Awesome stuff Dave! Entertaining read with some good behind the scenes stuff that happens between a player and a caddie!

17 06 2011
Bagger Dave

Glad you enjoyed it, Jordan. It really is fun being inside the ropes. Just listening to the players can be hilarious…

Dave

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