(AP) — Bob Tway has rarely been so excited about a trip to the U.S. Open. And he’s not even playing.
He’ll be a caddie.
Tway withdrew from the U.S. Open qualifier in Ohio to caddie for his 19-year-old son. Kevin Tway, a freshman at Oklahoma State, shot 68-68 against a strong field of PGA Tour players and earned a spot at Torrey Pines for the ultimate father-son outing.
Not many players will have a major champion on the bag.
“I’d rather be doing this than playing,” Tway said Wednesday.
Of all the sacrifices a father makes for his son, the former PGA champion figured this was a no-brainer. Tway also was entered in the 36-hole qualifier outside Columbus, but he has played in only seven tour events while relying on sponsor exemptions.
“I didn’t play in the Memorial, and I wanted to watch the NCAAs,” Tway said. “I hadn’t played much, so I thought, ‘Hell, I’ll just go caddie for Kevin.’ I thought he would have a good chance of making it.”
Kevin Tway, coming off medalist honors at the NCAA Central regional, shot an 84 in the final round of the NCAAs as the Cowboys finished fourth behind UCLA, USC and Stanford.
He looked like a world-beater at Brookside and the Ohio State Scarlet courses with Dad on the bag. Tway made it with three shots to spare at a qualifier loaded with PGA Tour players. Among those who failed to qualify were Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and Chris DiMarco.
“I called him after Kevin made it and said, ‘Bob, you found your calling,”’ said Scott Verplank, his best friend on tour and neighbor at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Okla. “The kid shot 84 in the last round of the NCAA, and he coached him to 7 under against tour pros. I told him we finally found what he’s really good at.”
Tway and Verplank represented the United States in the World Cup four years ago. Now, they’ll be walking the fairways together at Torrey Pines during a practice round, in slightly different roles.
Tway should have good company in the caddie trailer – his younger brother, Scott, caddies for Verplank.
Tway downplayed his value to Kevin during the qualifier, although he has been through the routine before having played in 18 U.S. Opens among his 68 starts in major championships.
“I had a feel for what the number was going to be,” Tway said of the cutoff for 23 spots. “He was playing well, so I felt pretty good.”
Verplank wasn’t surprised, either. He has played with Kevin at Oak Tree and knows what kind of game he has. He said the younger Tway was the prototype modern player who hits it high, long and straight.
“He played like a 19-year-old kid,” Verplank said. “He doesn’t totally know how to play like us crusty old veterans – how to stop the bleeding and things you learn as you mature. Talent wise, he’s as good as anyone I’ve played with out here.”
Even more impressive was that the kid will get to spend his first U.S. Open with his father on the bag. Verplank wasn’t sure who felt happier about a week at Torrey Pines.
“I think it’s a neater deal that Bob caddied for him and he made it than if Bob had made it himself,” Verplank said. “I have a son. This is a cool deal. And it shows you how good a job he’s done teaching the kid to play.”
Kevin Tway has caddied for his father a few times on the PGA Tour, such as the Buick Open.
“I don’t think I wrote him a check, but he’s paid pretty well,” Tway said.
And how much will the father get paid as a caddie.
“I’m pretty cheap,” Tway said.