Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Thursday 74

You really can't complain about a first round 74 when you have me on the bag. I'm obviously about a two shot a side hindrance to any professional golfer. Today, as Erica Blasberg and I teed off on our first hole of the day, the par-5 10th, I already regretted not getting a chance to play more practice rounds.

Two bogeys to start had Erica a little hot, me a little nervous and Blogger Caddy 1.0 in serious trouble of ever getting to 2.0. Erica hit a drive on her third hole, the 12th, that was smoked, and a second shot that went to the middle of a tough, undulated green. A lip out birdie there that should have dropped (damn you Papago) had us back to being comfortable and we play the rest of the round even par.

I'll say two things before conceding to my FanHouse recap.

First, I give caddies on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour an assload more credit after being out there only one day. As I was doping around on the green, helping Erica with her reads and making sure I didn't hit a volunteer with the flagstick, the two other caddies in my group, Mick and Lisa, were stepping off yardages for the next three days.

When I brought this up to Erica, she said it was more for their peace of mind than the players because it gave them the opportunity to be more comfortable overruling a player if they felt it was the wrong club.

The second note is I think we will have a good next three rounds together. The front nine I was nervous and reserved, defaulting to whatever Erica said because, honestly, I didn't want to tell her to hit 7-iron and it end up buried in some bunker and she's staring me down like I kicked her puppy. Heading to the back nine, I remembered that the caddies are there to do a hell of a lot more than just carry the bag. I started tossing my input in, helping her read a putt on the 11th she would eventually cash for birdie and talking her out of trying to hit a punch shot on 12 that was up against a tree.

I told her it would be smarter and better to just punch it backwards in the fairway and take her medicine, a decision she agreed with me on and nearly got it up and down from 100 yards for par. The last hole was my shining moment. The ninth hole is a tricky par-4 that doglegs right and after sitting on the tee waiting for the group in front to clear the fairway, Erica, up first, blocked her tee shot a hair and it ended up catching a tree branch and dropping to the right of the fairway, in a mix of random sized trees. We got to the ball and she had a tiny window, but a window nonetheless. Erica was fairly convinced it was a five iron. I was sold on a six. I told her she'd rather be short, the pin was back and if she ripped it, it might even get there.

Erica grabbed the six from me, made one of her best swings of the day and hit a towering shot that landed on the front of the green and rolled to about 25 feet. Two putts, a par and a good round considering the conditions.

Trust me, it makes caddying a lot easier when the moment you ask the player to pull off a shot most regular golfers would cringe at, she does it like she was on the range in Las Vegas.

Tomorrow we get the afternoon with no wind. I'd make sure the sign boy in our group has a good amount of red.

(My FanHouse recap of the first round is here, and you can get the full link to all my "Caddie Tales" here. Check out the other story as well. You'll laugh at me because I'm dumb.)


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