Ahhh.....Phoenix in the Winter.
Ah yes, I remember the Phoenix Open. It was the winter of '94. I travelled to see what the buzz was all about. I'd heard for years from my caddie confidants that this week was off the hook, so I had to see for myself what the buzz was all about. I arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately made my way to the Princess, checked in and I was literally out the back door to the TPC of Scottsdale. I caught up with my buddy Bull, a veteran tour looper. He was working for a crazy South African player that week. We'll just call the player Al, for short. (These names have been changed to protect the perhaps not so innocent) When I caught up with them, they had just made the turn to the front nine to finish their round. At that time, they were well positioned to make the chop by a couple of shots. So I see my buddy Bull in the fairway of a par 4, and he was not acting as a seasoned caddie of some 15 years should act. He was jumping back and forth from his fellow caddies for some peculiar reason then consulting his player. Al hit his shot and wasn't pleased with the outcome, which became rather obvious due to his agitated state. About that time I made contact with Bull who came over to the ropes and explained to me that unbeknowst to him he had inadvertantly dropped his yardage book in the porta john on the last hole and was having to consult the other caddies in the group for Al's yardage. He said he had dispatched a volunteer to see if his book was able to be located in the john he had just visited. A short time later, the volunteer could be seen walking with the yardage book between two fingers dripping blue liquid, amongst other things. The bogey man cometh. The next hole was a par 3. The newly returned book in hand, Bull gives the pertinant info to Al, and he proceeds to hit a horrible shot and then proclaims to anyone within earshot, "THERE WAS SHIT ON MY GRIP!!!", referring to the newly returned, but maybe not so sanitary, book. The bogey man returneth. Flash to their final hole. Al was on the number to make the weekend when they arrive at the green in regulation. Al proceeds to miss a 2 footer on the last to miss the cut by a shot. Road. Trunk slammer. Whatever you wish to call it. Obviously having his chili running a little hot, Al storms off the green towards the scoring tent to sign his card when he saw a tour official in a cart. Al marches over to the official and says, "NO self respecting goat would graze on these greens!" So now we have to return to Al's suite, get him packed, and drive him in the courtesy car to the Phoenix airport to so Al can catch the last flight of the day to San Jose I believe, for the next weeks event at Pebble. And all this has to be done in a little over an hour or Al might completely melt down. So now we're off to the airport from Scottsdale at a high rate of speed. Bull driving, Al in the passenger seat, and me in the back seat with a death grip on the seat in front of me. Now at the time, the was no good way to get from Scottsdale to the airport in Phoenix. Nothing but surface streets with a stop light every 5 iron or so. So Al is barking instructions at Bull as we weave in and out of traffic between lights, "BIRDIE IN THE RIGHT LANE....EAGLE IN THE FAR LEFT LANE!" All the while people in adjoining cars seeing the Phoenix Open logo on the side of the courtesy car wondering who the player was who had obviously just missed the chop due to the excessive speed and reckless driving. At one point in the journey, the 3 lane road was slowed to a snails pace as 3 elderly drivers slowly drove side by side by side. Furious, Al starts screaming, "MOVE YOU FUCKING OXYGEN THIEVES!" It was a brief turtle dance. Well, by the grace of god we made it safely to the airport, got Al on his plane and returned to the courtesy car outside. When we returned to the car, there were a number of skycaps surrounding the car as brake dust and asbestos wafted through the air. One of the skycaps asked if we had driven over with the emergency brake on. We expained that no, we hadn't but that we were instead Hollywood stunt drivers. Shame on the eventual owner of that poor, abused car. We made our way back to the Princess where Bull had instructions to check Al out of his room since there was no time to do so prior to our excellent airport adventure. Of course, as any good seasoned looper would do, he moved himself into Al's suite for the rest of the weekend, repleat with Dom, room service and women. All on Al's tab.