COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Well before the players gathered for the U.S. Senior Open, Mark Long was hard at work mapping The Broadmoor’s East Course.
Long, whose full-time job is caddying for Fred Funk, walked the course, as he has so many others, putting together a yardage book for the field.
“I love coming to Colorado, and when I saw the course I was licking my chops,” Long said Saturday.
Long has been putting together yardage books for the PGA Tour and Champions Tour events for eight years. He spends about 25 hours walking a course with survey equipment, marking points along the fairways and greens. After that, he spends another 35 to 40 hours putting the book together.
It’s a detailed map of yardage points, hazards and the slope of greens that proves invaluable to everyone – but especially to Funk.
“It’s detailed. I spend so much time on the course that I get to know it better than I ever could, which is good for my caddying,” said Long, who sells the book to other caddies for as much as $30 apiece. “I can do some other things, that hopefully will help us on the greens. It is a side business, but it’s also beneficial for Fred. The better I know things, the better I can help him.”
Long’s prep work has paid off this weekend. Funk was the leader after two rounds, and after shooting a 1-under 69 in Saturday’s third round, he was two shots behind Eduardo Romero.
Long said his walking the course and putting together the book gives Funk an edge over the other players in the field because he has such an intimate knowledge of every hole.
“I don’t think anybody else is looking at the course for 25, 30 hours,” Long said. “Doing the greens was the big difference here.”
The toughest courses to map, according to Long, are the links courses that are prominent in Britain.
“Anything with a lot of water and bunkers,” he said. “When there are significant mounds in the fairway, that gets tough, too. I don’t put a lot of fairway slopes in, just obvious ones, but when you have to have it in there, that adds a lot of time.
“But bunkers and water hazards take a lot of time because I have to walk around every one. It’s worth it when Fred’s playing.”
RIVALRY WEEK: Most golfers use the same caddie for every tournament. Jeff Klein wanted to tap into some local knowledge, so he has 19-year-old James Nagl of Colorado Springs carrying his bag for the U.S. Senior Open.
Nagl has played The Broadmoor and Klein saw that as an advantage.
“I had some other guys that wanted to caddie, but I wanted a guy that was here and played the course,” he said. “I knew the greens were difficult to read and home-course knowledge is important here.”
The pair worked well together Saturday. Klein, who is a Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, tied Scott Simpson for the third-round low score of 64, and he did it despite using a caddie sporting a Colorado Buffaloes baseball cap.
“I didn’t like that much,” Klein said jokingly. “I told him he would have to wear a Nebraska hat tomorrow.”
Nagl doesn’t play golf for the University of Colorado but proudly wears the hat. He met Klein for the first time Monday morning and quickly found out Klein has a sense of humor.
“He told me I was fired and I need to take it off,” Nagl said. “We argue about who’s the better team.”
Klein said the duo clicked because he likes to keep things loose on the course.
“I just like to have fun out there, and he does, too,” Klein said. “I’m not one of those guys that likes to just keep your head down and grind and be intense. We have a lot of fun and talk a lot and laugh a lot. That helps.”
DIVOTS: John Cook is in third place, three shots off the lead. Last week, he blew a three-shot lead on the back nine and lost the British Senior Open in a playoff. “I’m catching up on some sleep, so I feel rested. First part of the week, it was hard to sleep, not only the time change but I kept waking up with flashbacks,” Cook said. … Bruce Fleisher was disqualified for not signing his scorecard Saturday.