Sunday night I was napping at LAX waiting for my redeye flight back to Chicago when I got the call from Rubble. Rachel Hetherington’s caddy was going back to Europe and she needed someone for Prattville, AL. It wasn’t a definite job but she was supposed to call the next morning and confirm things. I caught my flight, Wendy picked me up in Chicago early the next morning, and I napped till about noon, when Rachel called to confirm my employment. We chatted awhile and planned to meet Tuesday at noon.

She’s a LPGA veteran from Australia with multiple wins, a quiet voice, very competitive nature, and friendly personality; I was looking forward to the week but not the long drive to Prattville. My van was ready for the trip, I thought, but started overheating north of Indianapolis and we limped in to Bowling Green, KY where I napped in the Firestone Service Center parking for a couple hours waiting for them to open. I was back on the road about 8:15 in a Hertz rental car hoping my van was in good hands and I could make it to Prattville by noon.

I met Rachel on the range at 12:45, she was very understanding, and we headed for the course. Luckily, I’d worked the Robert Trent Jones course a few years back during the Nationwide Tour Championship so I was familiar with the links style layout. Practice rounds aren’t much fun but especially tough on two hours sleep, no food, no shower, and the turmoil surrounding my car. We hit it off pretty well, I tried to stay downwind from everyone, and we learned the intricacies of this testy track.

After the practice round I headed for the Pratt House Pub for some oysters, steak, and a cold one. I settled for Cajun meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and three cold ones. My head was on the pillow by 7:30 and I had my first good night sleep in three days, twelve hours worth of well needed ZZZ’s.

Prattville is situated about twenty minutes northwest of Montgomery and growing fast, but there are still remnants of the old South. My brother found a little twenty room Mom and Pop motel, the Jupiter Inn, fifteen miles from the course nestled in the rolling hills and kudzu. Driving the country roads you noticed old slave shanties next to cotton fields, corner grocery stores with wooden rocking chairs on the porch, and the old boys were gathered every day solving all the world’s problems plus telling a few stories. When I headed for the motel every day it was like stepping back in time.

The Senator Course at Capitol Hill was playing soft and long after the heavy rains, and the normal lines off the tees had to be reevaluated because the course usually plays hard and fast. Balls weren’t rolling in the fairway and wedges were spinning back off the greens; we had trouble adjusting, memory is a terrible thing, and by the time we did everything had dried out and firmed up again. It was a tough week trying to get the ball close to the hole and the putts decided not to fall.

We struggled the first round with 35 putts, but she never gave up or let the frustration affect her game. Twice we got some bad breaks off the tee and bogied par fives, but she never blamed the caddy. There were a few soft, Australian accented, expletives but she was grinding on every shot and didn’t make double all week. It wasn’t that she was putting badly, the ball was rolling over the edge, it was just afraid of the dark, I guess.

We played with Laura Diaz the first two days. She’s well along in pregnancy and there were quite a few times she had to back away from shots because the baby was kicking. She mentioned it was nice to have someone else to blame for poor shots or missed putts.

We birdied two out of the last four holes Friday, made the cut and went into the weekend thinking the putts would fall. Unfortunately they didn’t and we ended up in the middle of the pack tied for 44th. It was an enjoyable week but not very profitable and we made plans to work again in Houston the middle of November.

The LPGA heads overseas for a few weeks and Rachel was going home to Australia. I’m not sure which direction I’m heading after I pick up my car in Bowling Green, KY Monday. Might be working for Willie Wood in Chattanooga on the Nationwide Tour, but not sure yet.

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