I didn’t want to extend my arm out to hand him his putter because I didn’t want Ryan to see my hand shaking…[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]
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This is how I felt caddying in the playoff for the 2009 Jane Rodgers Classic on the Canadian Tour. I was caddying (carrying his clubs really) for Ryan Yip and we were in a 3-person playoff. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.
On the tee Ryan said he didn’t want to talk golf during the hole. He hit his drive in the right rough off the tee. The walk from the tee to the green we argued about what the best episode of Entourage was.
Funny little side bar, my dad was following the playoff and gave us the safe sign. We assumed this meant he was in the fairway. We got up to the ball and we were clearly not in the fairway.
I remember him saying, “Not sure your dad knows what safe sign means.” I would have laughed but I could hardly breathe.
He then hit a 3-iron (I think) to 15 feet on a 2-tiered green.
did that get to the top? I said yes and we resumed our argument about Entourage.
Jeff Cuzzort and Trey Denton would both miss the green with their third shots and both would almost chip in for birdie. Ryan two-putted for the win and what followed was an eye-opening moment to what pro golf was like at the developmental tour level. He had no family there, his girlfriend wasn’t there, and no players had waited around. His family wasn’t going to fly in to see him win, they all had jobs that they had to be at Monday. There was a local newspaper there and he did a quick interview with them. After the trophy presentation he took the big check and stuffed it in the back of his car. He then got in his car and headed to the next event.
It was eye opening; like many, I thought there would be someone running across the green to greet him. I thought we would all go party after with his friends and family. The reality was the $20,000 he earned didn’t go far, and he had to get to the next event. There was no real time to celebrate, he needed to go earn another check.
My dad and I had done trips like this plenty of times before and there were plenty of moments that made me realize how “glamorous” life at the developmental tour level was. My dad and I camped most years when we caddied and at our campsite was always at least one golfer who stayed in a tent or his car. I remember talking with the family of a player who is currently on the Korn Ferry Tour, and his wife and kids traveled with him to a Hooters event we were at one year. He said they were all staying in Motel 6. I remember hearing stories of host housing where they had to stay in a pink room and sleep on a short bed.
All of those things made me realize the life of developmental tour players, but Ryan winning and driving to the next event is one that will always stick with me.