PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — John Daly walked along the path from the 18th green Thursday as a dozen fans chanted his name. Turns out the cheers were for his caddie — Jon Gruden.
The coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was carrying the bag for Daly after a 2 1/2-hour rain delay at the PODS Championship, where Daly was 3 over at the turn and toward the bottom of the pack.
Daly spent the rain delay at the Hooters Owl’s Nest, a corporate hospitality tent near the 11th fairway, when he hooked up with Gruden. That’s when he hatched the plan to turn the Bucs’ coach into a caddie the rest of the afternoon.
Did a new caddie help?
“Oh, yeah,” Daly said. “He fires you up.”
The fans who remained after the storms heard that Gruden might be caddying, and some whispered, “It is him,” as they walked off the green. Gruden didn’t help Daly read putts and stayed some 20 yards short of the green.
And with fans calling out to him, he kept his head down — just like Daly.
Gruden worked seven holes before play was suspended by darkness. He was nowhere to be found when players were taken by carts back to the clubhouse. And his part-time job most likely is over.
“So I’m back in play tomorrow?” his regular caddie, Peter Van Der Riet, called out to Daly as they drove carts to the parking lot. v