Caddies go almost unnoticed following around a golfer for a round appearing just as a shadow.
What some people may not realize is a golfer’s caddy can play an important role in the game by offering coaching tips or acting as moral support.
During the American Century Championship, many of the celebrities bring their own caddies whether it’s a close friend or family member, but others are golf professionals who are the regular caddy for a certain individual.
“We’re called loopers. Caddies are called loopers, that goes way back to the 1800s,” said Bob Hall from Tulsa, Okla, who has been a caddy at the ACC for the last 10 years.
The 62-year-old has been playing golf for 50 years and works full-time at a public course in Tulsa as a caddy and golf professional. He started caddying at the ACC in 2004 and was paired with Michael O’Keefe, governor Jesse Ventura and former Buffalo Bill Bruce Smith before being paired with Vinny Testaverde, who has asked him back every year since. This will be Hall’s seventh tournament with Testaverde.
“I was a golf professional in Reno, Nev. for six or seven years, played (at Edgewood) a lot,” Hall said. “No. 1 I know the greens very well, so I read the greens and give him yardages, we discuss what club he needs to hit, that’s basically what I do for him.”
A typical day for Hall at the ACC has him arriving around 6:30 a.m. and following Testaverde around the course while practicing or playing and giving tips. When Testaverde isn’t playing, Hall waits around for another chance to go out on the course.
“There’s a difference between a good caddy and a bag toter. Some people just carry a bag, they don’t know anything else, they just carry the bag. I’m a caddy and a coach. I’m a teacher, a professional teacher of the game, I’m not just a caddy,” Hall said. “We work together as a team.”
First year caddies at the ACC put their names into a pool and wait to hear if they get paired with a celebrity. Most celebrities choose their caddy for Friday through Sunday, so the name pool is just for the celebrity-amateurs from Tuesday through Thursday.
Bill Witteman from Gardenerville was on Trent Dilfer’s bag for Thursday’s celeb-Am.
“Every caddy and every relationship with a caddy-golfer is different. Some golfers want a lot more, they want to be lined up. They want the greens read, a lot of times. I’ve never been on a bag with Trent Dilfer, so I don’t know what he’s expecting of me,” Said Witteman, who added he just wants to stay out of the way and let Dilfer play.
Witteman, an Edgewood employee, arrived about an hour before tee-time and says he was lucky enough to be picked for a celebrity bag. He will only be on Dilfer’s bag for one day, but aims to continue caddying.
“I would love to get on a pro bag someday, that would be the ultimate,” he said. “Caddying is fun.”
As for the ACC, the caddies are there for the fun and meet celebrities just as anyone else.
“This is all about enjoying the day,” Witteman said.