Ann Arbor, MI to Indianapolis Monday morning and a full day at Crooked Stick for the U.S. Senior Open. Dinner with some old friends that night and then off to Columbus, OH for the Nationwide Tour at the Ohio State course and another long day networking with a lot of guys I didn’t know. I left there Tuesday afternoon, headed back to Crooked Stick and spent another agonizing day looking for a job. The search was fruitless so I headed north with a stop in Flint, MI and a visit with the PGA Tour boys on Thursday. It was a lot of territory to cover networking for a job, but I felt it was necessary.

Golf brings everyone together and friendships develop just because of a mutual attachment with golf. I was homeless last weekend; however a friend of a friend whom I have never met opened his house to me while he was away playing golf for the weekend. Bob Behnke and I have been communicating around Kaddy Korner the past few years; golf was our mutual friend, it brought us all together and allowed a trusting relationship without any personal interaction. Without golf I’d have been in a Motel 6 and lacking Bob’s friendship. I could go on and on about my friendships through golf, you guys know who you are, and thanks for all you do.

Hindsight being 20/20 I should have reversed my trip schedule and started in Flint, but after three weeks of pounding the PGA Tour parking lots, I thought a change of scenery would be best. The Buick tournament field went deep into the alternate list and there were only a few caddies looking for jobs. There were twenty caddies looking for jobs in Columbus and a handful at the U.S. Senior. The cadets I rubbed shoulders with the last few weeks all lassoed bags out of the Warwick Hills parking lot. This was the last year for the Buick Open; sentimentally it would have been nice working the last event, there were a lot of good times and memories over the years.

Flint’s raucous seventeenth hole was always fun. One year a guy was snoring so loud beside the green we had to wake him up because the pros couldn’t concentrate on their putts. My first trip to Flint Doug Tewell bounced a golf ball off a spectator’s head on the sixteenth hole, made birdie, and we finished second.

Leonard Thompson won that year and his caddy almost didn’t make it to the first tee Thursday. Rain fell for three days prior to the tournament and Heimer, Leonard’s caddy, spent the three day holiday with an old friend Bud Weiser. He showed up early Thursday morning, holding hands with Bud Weiser, wearing street shoes, and not expecting to play. We teed it up on time and by the second hole Leonard took the yardage book from him, Heimer was useless all day. After the first rain delay the Leonard’s threesome had trouble waking him up from a hard cement garage floor but they went on to win. Those were the good old days.

Those are the stories you tell hanging around the caddy shack waiting for your pro. Heimer is working for Kevin Stadler these days; even he got a good laugh from the story. When you’re not telling stories you’re people watching and Crooked Stick provided some great entertainment.

The security was quite tight for some reason and when Pete Dye tried to enter the clubhouse the guards accosted him and asked for his credentials. We could hear him say, “I don’t need no credentials, I designed this course” and walked on. Pete is eccentric; you wouldn’t know he’s one of the top all-time architects. The befuddled guards relented after a few USGA muckety-mucks convinced them to let it slide. The next day I noticed Pete carrying around the original blueprints for Crooked Stick, I guess that was his credential.

Peyton Manning was spotted in the clubhouse area but roamed around without an autograph hound in sight. Everyone had their golf paraphernalia to sign; they were looking for Watson, Crenshaw, and Fuzzy, Peyton thought it was great and sat chatting with the players and caddies for quite awhile. Those guys really appreciate their time away from the crowds.

There was still a buzz about Watson’s British Open. Too bad he had food poisoning early in the week and couldn’t receive the deserved accolades from his peers. Old golf pros don’t usually sit around and watch golf on Sundays, they might catch a few holes, but they’d rather be doing something else or napping on the couch. Everyone said they watched the entire round and were on the edge of their rockers when Tom was coming down the stretch. They’ll be talking about that one for a long time.

The drives in between tournament sites provide time for thought, relaxing with the Cubs on the radio, and moments that put everything in perspective. I’m not sure exactly where I was , but I came upon on a string of cars, emergency lights flashing, so I slowed down. Driving past the slow cavalcade I saw the hearse, and as I got closer, I noticed the flag-draped coffin. There should have been more cars in that procession. I said a quick prayer, thanked the soldier for their commitment to our country, and travelled on with a slight tear in my eye.

These parking lots aren’t so bad.

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