Observations after looping for Bo Van Pelt at Turning Stone

Observations after looping for Bo Van Pelt at Turning Stone

– Bo was like a doting father on the course. He was so protective and concerned, and he wanted to be sure I didn't goof up and bother his playing partners. On tees, he was always telling me where to stand.
– It was incredible to see how Tour caddies take care of each other on the course. On the seventh hole on Friday, Bo drove into a fairway bunker and hit his approach over the green. Rory Sabbatini and Jonathan Byrd had hit onto the green. Byrd's caddie came to rake my bunker to free me up for Bo's pitch back to the green.
– On Sunday, we played with Jeev Milka Singh. He's as good with the short game as anybody I've ever seen. He holed one wedge, maybe 120 yards, and seemed to stiff everything else in close range. He chipped in another shot. And every putt seemed like it was going in — he's just a wonderful putter. That was in contrast to Bo. The one thing I learned most last week is that Bo needs to practice from within 120 yards. That's true with most players.
– Caddies are as afraid about losing their jobs for next year as the players on the top 125 bubble. Everybody's walking on eggshells.
– It poured the first three days, and man, it was hard working. An octopus wouldn't have had enough arms to keep everything dry — the player, the clubs, the ball on the green, and myself too.
– Biggest oops moment: Before the first round, I thought Bo was starting on the 10th hole. In the rain, I ran back to the locker to get some gear just before going to the tee. I ran out to the 10th tee, but Bo wasn't there. Hmmm. I ran to the first tee. Bo was standing calmly. "I thought you'd quit already, before we even started," Bo said with a huge smirk.
– Second biggest oops moment: For the first round, I wore regular sneakers. On the fifth hole, in the downpour, Rory Sabbatini burst out laughing after looking at my feet. "You need help," he said. "You're feet must be drenched." Bo said, "No worries. We've already fixed that problem." That morning, aware of my shoe problem, Bo called Nike — his sponsor — and ordered a pair of Gore-tex tennis shoes. They arrived on Thursday night. Unaware of the present, I spent Thursday night in the hotel room blow-drying my shoes. On Friday morning, when Bo gave me my new shoes, I was thrilled. That was the greatest gift I've gotten in a long time.
– Saturday night, we went to a sports bar/restaurant near Turning Stone. It seemed like every player was there in his college colors, and every TV in the bar was showing college football. The hostess told Bo and me that we'd have a 20-40 minute wait for a table. I offered a waitress $20 for a table. Cash is still king.
– A bunch of players were talking about how they love the fall finish, especially the first three events, because they're all gambling hotspots. Turning Stone has a casino. This week the Tour's in Vegas, and the following week they go to Scottsdale.
– There were hardly any wives at Turning Stone. It's in the middle of nowhere and the weather is typically bad. Last year it snowed. So I asked one player whose wife did make the trip, "What the heck is your wife doing here?" He laughed. "This is her BellSouth warmup for the Masters." I didn't understand and had a blank look. The player continued, "She's at the casino all week getting ready for Las Vegas next week."
– Bo hasn't paid me yet, and I didn't ask him for any money. He did pay my travel expenses, and he always takes care of me for my work as his teacher. A few years ago, Bo promised that if he ever won, he'd take his family and my family to Hawaii for the Mercedes Championship. Well, right after Bo won in Milwaukee this summer, he told me to start packing for the islands. My wife and girls (ages 10, 11 and 13) are through-the-moon excited. But Hawaii won't be like last week. I'll be on the beach relaxing, not carrying his bag.


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