Tuesday, January 31

Golf Voices from the Past: Dave Hill on Caddies

PGA TOUR PLAYER DAVE HILL, who died last September, penned his book TEED OFF with the help of Golf Digest editor Nick Seitz in the late 1970s. Hill was a talented and controversial pro who often led the PGA Tour in two categories: fines and suspensions. Following are some of Hill’s thoughts on caddies, including a funny anecdote concerning Orville Moody’s bag man.
Good caddies are more important than jockeys on horses. Also they can adjust from one player to another. Most of the others can’t. They either don’t give you anything but the yardages or else they want to play the game for you. I’d say there are a half dozen real good caddies on the tour. The rest are just bag-toters. The good ones aren’t with the best players in most cases. I don’t think Jack Nicklaus asks much of his caddie....

Golfball is a good caddie and so are Frog and Del. You don’t deal in last names with the caddies, just first names, and they have some beauties. There’s also Turk and Rabbit and Bit Fat Mitch and Ol’ Roy, and they’re every bit as colorful as their names....

The all-time character, though, was a caddie who worked off and on for Orville Moody. He was in the Army with Orville. He had boxes full of cards with yardages that he kept tucked away in safe deposit boxes in a bank. He would practice his pacing stride on a football field by the hour. When he went into a shoe store he wouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes until he was convinced he could pace off an exact yard in them. One time during the Crosby tournament he had a dream that he had a bad yardage on a hole, so he got up at 2 a.m., and drove to the course, and repaced the hole with a flashlight. Another time he informed Orville, dead serious, that a course was 133 feet longer than it had been the year before. Then there was the time at Indian Wells in Palm Springs that he walked through a water hazard up to his neck to get his yardage on a straight line from tee to green.

He was unbelievable. You had to say he was dedicated to his job.
Hill won 13 times on the PGA Tour but no majors and played on three U.S. Ryder Cup teams. After turning 50, Hill collected six more titles on the Champions Tour. His brother, Mike, also had a long pro career, winning on both tours.

−The Armchair Golfer

More Voices:
Frank Beard

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