San Diego may be a top tourist destination with Torrey Pines perched high on the public course list but it’s not a favorite stop for caddies. Over the years it’s been a tough walk in sloppy conditions and the temperature can be 40 degrees with howling winds along the South course coast while sunny and warm on the North course. It’s a tough place to pull a club and find a sprinkler head, they never bothered putting numbers on the heads and the circling winds, heavy air, and subtle elevation changes leave many Titleists great distances from the target.

Foreign caddies often skipped this venue because the INS agents would visit Torrey Pine checking work visas and a few loopers lacking proper papers spent some time at the CrossBar Motel. Rumor has it some disgruntled local caddies phoned immigration prior to the tournament.

Two courses mean an extra day of work for most caddies and flying in was always a problem. It’s one of the worst airport for landings with a steep descent over the city and quick sharply braking stop on a short runway. A few times planes loaded with players and caddies have come in “hot” with pillow tucked between their legs, head buried in the pillow, and emergency equipment greeting them. If they had to fly in some guys would skip this event.

The course prior to the U.S. Open was usually in suspect shape at best, creating some unsightly fairway lies and more angst among the caddie ranks. It’s tough enough to pull a club in pristine conditions but when you factor in the winds, temperature, heavy air, elevation change, questionable yardage markers and then your ball is sitting in a rut, you are SOL. Watch this week you’ll see a lot of balls over the green or falling way short, many more than your average tour stop.

Solano Beach just north is caddie habitat area but heavy hearts will be roaming the streets and the fairways. A couple years ago Steve Duplantis, a.k.a. Teflon, one of the true caddy personalities, walked off a curb and was immediately struck and killed by a local cab. The boys will be toasting “Teflon”, telling his zany stories when he worked for Furyk and Rich Beem, and wishing they were half the caddy he was without the extreme night life. Steve always left his yardage book and visor in the bag because he never knew where he’d end up that night, or if he’d make the next day’s tee time. Showing up on the second or third hole, he’d take the bag from the substitute caddy, keep his job and no misbehavior ever stuck, thus the nickname. Here’s to ya, you were a legend!

After the jump, see Mark’s tournament predictions for this week!

Tournament Predictions by Mark Huber and Ilyas Patel

Favorites:

Justin Rose- Taking Phil and Tiger out of the running as they are the favorites just about every week, Justin Rose is my favorite this week. This being a Ryder Cup year I think the Europeans will have a strong showing at the marquee venues on the PGA Tour. Rose always has all aspects of the game and has played solid at tough courses. Look for him to be at the top of the leader board going into Sunday. I have always liked his game and I think he could be a front runner in this tournament. (IP)

Pat Perez - Grew up in Southern California, knows the course like his back yard and has the length to conquer the South. Just can’t let him boil over on the North if he makes to many pars.(MH)

Brandt Snedeker- Brandt has some tough skin the way he bounced back after the Masters fiasco and missing that putt to get into the final field of the Fed Ex cup tournament. I think he is due to a have a dominating performance. The guy is too good and too consistent to not be winning more on the tour. Look for Brandt to be in contention all weekend.(IP)

Darkhorses:

Michael Allen - An old California boy playing well even at 50. Great putter, good course management, and works well with his caddy, Mike Marone. Dark horse but aging gracefully, he’ll make good stud material one of these days.(MH)

Andres Romero- This Argentine player often gets forgotten by golf fans. Maybe it has to do with his demeanor or unflashy style and game, but this guy can flat out play. He is confident and seems to have a quiet confidence about himself. If he can be near the top of the leader board come Saturday, watch out. (IP)

Blake Adams - Old rookie off the Nationwide Tour. Very consistent, long and straight off the tee, even keel, and can putt a bit. Watched Blake play last year a couple of times, he finished in top ten on the Nationwide without winning an event. (MH)

Rickie Fowler- The California Kid is coming home! Rickie has had a rough start to his rookie season, missing the cut in Hawaii and at the Bob Hope. But I think the home cooking and the California support is going to fuel this guy into contention. If he can play decent golf the first two days and make the cut, he is going to be fearless on Saturday and Sunday. The kid can roll the ball real well and has loads of confidence. If Rickie is around Saturday, the field better watch out.(IP)

One More Thought - John Daly, he’s here and he’s back. He can do some damage on this track. (MH)

Thanks for Coming:

Ricky Barnes- Just a whole lot of unrealized potential……you hope to see him turn it around but its like those weekend movies on TBS, you seen them so many times you know what’s going to happen the next week. (IP)

Charles Howell III- See Ricky Barnes. (IP)

Thanks for stopping by, and please leave comments…and remember John Daly is here anything can happen with him………………….Mark

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