Searching for Work after the Firing

A couple of days on Mackinac Island were good for the soul, I hated to leave, but a new job search was necessary. The PGA was in the Quad Cities and the Champions Tour was in Minnesota, I figured I could split my week and talk to a few guys on each tour. We headed for Illinois on Sunday, arrived Monday evening after checking on my van in Milwaukee, and spent a couple of days roaming the parking lot, practice facility, and clubhouse area talking with anyone who would listen.

You find a strange group of bedfellows in the parking lots on Mondays and Tuesdays. The employed caddies show up just in time to meet their players; we, unemployed caddies, sit around all day hoping a bag falls in our lap. Most of the time we tell stories and try to entertain ourselves; making the most of a dire situation. There are a few guys you avoid because they tell the same stories every week and you switch posts just to get a different perspective of your plight. It was nice catching up with some old friends, filling them in about my time off, but trying to find a job was no fun.

Scott Steele, Tim Herron’s caddy, was the only lucky fisherman this week. He snagged Paul Stankowski Monday morning as a fifth alternate but they had to withdraw before Thursday because of an ankle injury. The other fifteen to twenty drifters stuck around and worked for an amateur in the pro-am or sought a spotter job with CBS. We decided to do some Metalation work in Door County and then head for the Twin Cities on Friday.

It was an enjoyable but fruitless trip, and after spending about four hours with car problems on Friday, I headed for Minnesota. I found a bed Friday night in Eau Claire with my old friend, Scott Watts, and cruised into the TPC at Blaine mid-morning Saturday. The first tee time was 9:00 a.m. so I chatted with the players and caddies as they gathered outside the locker room door.

Earlier in the week at Deere Run the PGA Tour atmosphere was guarded, almost hushed, nobody seemed to be having any fun. I watched Trevino give Ben Crenshaw a hard time for making an eight on the eighteenth the day before when he was leading the tournament. I can’t repeat what was said, but they poked at each other for a good ten minutes, laughing the whole time. Lee also chided Andy Bean a bit; he’s the only one who can get away with what he said, nobody else dares speak to Andy that way.

I also put in some good quality time on the range with Peter Jacobsen after he finished his round. We got to talking about the good ol’ days with Mark Wiebe and helped Peter’s son Mick with his golf swing. It was quite relaxing but still no job offers. Peter has been bouncing around a bit and just getting back from injury

It was nice seeing old friends, but the job market is bleak on the Champions Tour also. A lot of friends and family (MCI caddies) are driving the carts, and many veteran caddies are having a hard time finding work. My old buddies Dave Stockton, Jay Sigel, and a few others were genuinely concerned with my plight and said they would help in any way they could, I’ll just have wait and see.

The busy week helped me forget last week’s firing but there were still no definite reasons for my dismissal. I talked with M.J.’s agent a few times and had a long discussion with him after I texted M.J. early in the week. The family is avoiding me completely, some direct conversation would be nice, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’ll just move on, take my lumps, and learn from the situation. By the way, M.J. missed the U.S. Open cut. I guess the caddy change didn’t help like they thought it would.

My buddies, Scott Watts and Todd Newcomb, commiserated with me Sunday night but not for long. The topic turned to fishing and the better things in life, no use dwelling on the negative. I left early Monday morning heading southwest for Milwaukee. I’m not looking forward to another couple of days sitting around the practice tee trying to convince some pro to employ me without stepping on anyone’s toes, but I got to keep plugging. Every caddy in a tenuous relationship with his pro looks at me suspiciously and considers me a threat to their job; your only friends out here are your old friends, I won’t be making any new ones for awhile.

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