I’ve been writing Kaddy Korner for the Mellen Weekly Record, a small town in northern Wisconsin, since June 2006. Last week was twenty years of memories scrunched into two days; it was very bittersweet. At this point I’m not sure if I can continue writing the weekly article because I’m not caddying on the PGA Tour. There are no current stories to be told at the moment, and I’m not sure Kaddy Korner can live on memories, no one can. This may be the last weekly article but I’ll still right some stories for the blog site. I’ve put together a collection of the Best of Kaddy Korner - 2007 on YouPublish.com, check it out if you like.

http://www.youpublish.com/files/17832    Kaddy Korner - Life and Times on the PGA Tour

Hey all,I spent two days last week reliving twenty years of memories. I took off from Bonita Springs Tuesday morning planning a stop in Tampa but the weather rerouted my trip and I headed straight for Savannah. Australia Golf Digest wants me to do an article about the Aussie players and caddies so Tampa and Hilton Head looked like great spots for interviews. The memories were somewhat golf related but many revolved around friendships. I’ve gathered a lot of friends over the years but for some reason my buddies in Hilton Head, Tampa, and Savannah have put up with me the longest.Twenty one years ago I was making a similar drive from Hattiesburg, MS to Hilton Head without a job. I hooked up with Murph and most of you know the rest of that story. The next year in Hilton Head the Reilley family took me under their wing and I’ve enjoyed many good times at there various restaurants. My brother ended up working for their niece on the LPGA; funny how things transpire on the tour. Over the years my Hilton Head buddies have popped up at various tournaments and they were always a source for Masters tickets; I’ve led many a caddy and friend to Aunt Chiliadas for food, fun, drink, and I even led my sister there for work years ago. Paul Smith and his back corner “old farts” crew have picked up way to many tabs and solved all the world’s problems from time to time.Joe and Kathleen Boggs took in a homeless caddy during the 1994 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. I’ve watched their dogs, Bowie and Guiness, grow old, and now I’m watching their kids, Liam and Shea, grow up. Bowie ate my shoe the first night I slept on their couch, but I’ve forgiven him. They live in Savannah but have attended tournaments throughout the Southeast over the years. We celebrated a Murph win in Atlanta with champagne and cigars in the their backyard. They brought Shea to the Legends when she was three days old, maybe the youngest spectator ever to see a tournament. Joe built a room over their garage for his work and my last minute arrivals for tournaments. They’ve been a ton of support over the years, just like the rest of you across the country.

I left for Tampa early Thursday morning after my Wednesday interviews and a quick Happy Hour at Aunt Chileadas; it’s hell getting old and responsible, I could have stayed on the island for days. But, the drive to Tampa was long and I had some more friends waiting down there. Bill Fennel and the “Colonel”, Chuck Beaver, took me under their wings back in the late 80’s. Bill offered his cabin I took him up on it and we’ve remained good friends over the years despite some tense moments. One rainy week we buried the van in the yard, and squeezing the 40 foot motor home into the driveway was a bit testy. Sure wish I could have seen them but I was on a tight schedule and was only at the course for a couple of hours. Hopefully old friends will understand.

Murph’s first Senior event was at Cheval, and in 1993 the TPC was brand new. There was no clubhouse; just a double wide trailer pro shop and a large tent for the player’s locker room and hospitality area. The surrounding area was nothing but pasture and fields; no development whatsoever, it was wild and beautiful. Doug and I managed a win here; there were some Harley rides with Tom Wargo, his caddy Wiz, and Bill; and the “Colonel” always had some fresh fruit from his trees waiting for us. My daughter caught her first bass here with a little assistance. My only regret is not buying a little chunk of land; the development growth is outrageous, I think I could have made a little cash.

Thursday afternoon there was some time to see old caddy friends. Todd, Sandy, Butch, Et.Al., George, Wiz, and all the others seemed to be doing well; I miss them and the golf, but not the travel. I think Kaddy Korner may be winding down, my health may not allow me on tour any time soon. Without the travel stories I’m not sure KK can survive on pure reminiscing; it’s not healthy to live in the past. If you’ve got any ideas for stories let me know, I’ll work something up; right now I think it may be time for a sabbatical. Please let me know what you think.

There are a lot of golf stories but probably more “off the course” memories from my twenty years on tour. There are special friends in every part of the country; you know who you are; and this is a bit of tribute to those friendships. Without the support, the laughs, the home-cooked meals, the spare bedrooms, and phone calls, life on the road would be much more difficult. I think I’ll miss those moments as much as the walks in the fairways with my pro. Thanks.

Brian Gay walked away with the Hilton Head trophy Sunday, winning by ten shots. His caddy Kip took him to Aunt Chileadas for a brief celebration and it turned into a late night. Kip used to work for David at Aunt Chileadas, and I understand how those brief stops turn into long evenings. The folks there are hospitable and love their golf; those are the other moments I’ll miss. Every tour stop has a spot similar to Aunt Chileadas; a place where there are no strangers only friends we haven’t met. Golf brings a lot of people together, and it sure has brought a lot of friends into my life. Thanks for the memories.

Take care.

Mark

P.S. Best of Kaddy Korner - 2007 can be purchased on YouPublish.com. It should be up and running in a couple of days for a small fee. Anyone interested should go to the web site, look up Kaddy Korner, and purchase the web book for $4.95, I think. Tell your friends, neighbors, enemies, golf fanatics, travel enthusiasts, anyone that may be interested in the web book. It’s something new and exciting, and a way for me to share Kaddy Korner with folks who may not have seen it, plus I can make a buck or two while I’m working on the book and looking for a new job. Let me know what you think about the book and the process.

Thanks for your following and support over the last three years. This transition is new to me but I’m looking forward to the unique challenges.

Take care and keep in touch.

 

 

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