OAKMONT, Pa. -- Chris Crawford’s dream day didn’t quite go according to plan.
After being one of the first people to register for the U.S. Open last Saturday afternoon, the qualifier from the New Jersey sectional saw a familiar name in the 12:30 p.m. Tuesday practice round groupings: Jason Day.
Figuring to himself, It’s worth a shot, Crawford signed his name next to the world No. 1 with no expectation that they'd ever actually play together. Even 45 minutes prior to their scheduled Tuesday date, Crawford was still skeptical but kept his fingers crossed. Then, at 12:35, to Crawford's surprise, Day was on the tee box and ready to practice.
Things had been going smoothly, even without a lot of conversation, when Crawford's caddie and long-time family friend, Bill Hanaghan, tried to hastily run above a trap on the sixth hole to quickly rake the trap and get out of Day's way. That's when Hanaghan heard a snap. Day heard it, too, and he turned to help.
“He goes, ‘Jason, I snapped my ankle,’ and I said, 'What?!'" Day said Tuesday.
The Aussie said Hanaghan replied, "I snapped my ankle, but I’m O.K.; you go ahead."
Day replied, "I said, 'No, I won’t go ahead, I’m gonna kinda help you out here.' He cleaned snapped it, so they had to get the medic and grab another caddie for [Crawford.]”
Hanaghan answered the phone as he was waiting on his results at the emergency room at a local hospital. He was in good spirits but was obviously disappointed to miss one of the biggest weeks of a close family friend's life.
“I actually spoke with a few local Oakmont caddies, and they warned me to really be careful above all the traps here, because you could slip and go down in a heartbeat," Hanaghan said.
Unfortunately, that advice isn’t always at the forefront of your mind when you’re playing with the world’s best.
“Jason was very quick to offer help and assistance, while I just wanted to get out his way as quick as I could.”
Hanaghan believes he fractured his ankle and tore ligaments. He won’t be on the bag any more this week.
Fortunately for Crawford, he has another experienced looper waiting in the wings. His friend and former teammate and coach at Drexel, Ben Feld, will come tomorrow to Caddy for Crawford. Feld was also on the bag for Crawford’s 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Canoe Brook sectional qualifier last week.
Perhaps Feld can bring his guy some more magic this week at Oakmont.