ERIN, Wis. -- What do you call it when the caddie is an active player who has won a major championship but is actually caddying for his son with the same name as him? I call it the greatest, most dysfunctional Caddie Confidential EVER!
There's no way to hide the fact that Davis Love III is our caddie and Davis Love IV the player he was working for. So rather than hide it, DL III was kind enough to sit with me for a few minutes after a heartbreaking missed cut by his son, nicknamed Dru (a three-putt on the last hole to miss by one shot), and talk about his experience carrying the bag instead of hitting the shots. Enjoy.
Collins: The question that's been burning me all week since I haven't really seen you: What was it like to be on the other side?
Davis Love III: Well, since I'm on the board of the tour, I'm gonna make some rules in favor of the caddies. Cause I just found out how hard it is. (Laughing and stretching his legs at the same time, which has me laughing along with him.) They oughta get a timeout. Because there's no time to go to the bathroom if you're caddying. So I learned that. And I always wondered why they got so nervous, now I know. Cause there's so many things you can screw up that can affect your player. It was interesting to see it from the other side and I know I'm gonna be a much better boss from now on.
Collins: What was the one thing that surprised you the most about being a caddie?
DL III: You know, I've caddie for my son in junior tournaments, big amateur tournaments, we won the state am, you know I've been in the last group. But on tour when you're affecting other guys, their job, or their major championship you wanna make sure that not only are you helping your player but that you're helping the other players. Helping the other caddies and getting in the rhythm of being a tour caddie, it's not easy. Plus, this is one of the hardest caddie weeks really ever on tour. ... This is no Harbour Town Golf Links. (Laughing because it's one of the flattest courses on the PGA Tour.) This was a long walk and so I really appreciate more now what they do and how hard it is to get that bag around the course.
Collins: How much different were your nerves carrying the bag? When you put that bib on Thursday before y'all teed off how nervous were you?
DL III: Well I wasn't really nervous. I was nervous for him. Nervous ya know, "How can I help him? How can I not screw him up?" Things like that. But just knowing that one bad shot could end up being a double-bogey. You didn't have to get very far off the fairway to be in a disaster. So I was just nervous for him, that it was going to be really hard for him. His first pro tournament, a major championship on a hard golf course like this. It was so demanding I was so nervous for him.
Collins: What was the best thing about being a caddie this week?
DL III: All the caddies getting to give me a hard time. (Laughing.) A lot of payback! They're picking on me for my shorts, they're picking on me, "Why are you going to eat in family dining? You have to come eat with us!"
Collins: Did you go eat in the caddie area cause I asked around to see if anyone saw you in there?
DL III: I went in there ... (pauses) ... and said, "Hi." (DL III has a sly grin on his face.) But I'm a parent soooo, I got the "good" badge!
Collins: Using the 'ol "family" trick!
Collins: How were the nerves coming down the stretch? Cause you've been there as a player, grinding to make the cut. What was it like as a caddie for you?
DL III: Well I knew he had to make some pars coming in and it was gonna be a low U.S. Open cut. I really didn't realize that 2 over was not gonna make it. I knew he needed to make some pars but not only that if he got in the red he was back in the golf tournament. So just trying to calm him down, he got a little bit flustered at the end. Got a little bit shaky, missed some fairways that cost him making the cut. Three-putted the last hole but a lot of people were three-putting nine. I could tell he was a little rattled and he was thinking about missing the cut. It's not a fun lesson to learn, but he learned a lot this week.
Collins: How helpless does it feel for you as a father, especially since you've been the player? It's got to be maddening!
DL III: Yeah. I know I've been in this situation and I know what it feels like to be grinding it out. You don't wanna miss the cut in any tournament, but you certainly don't wanna miss the cut in a major. You can feel it slipping away. I knew when he hit it in the fescue a couple times coming in he could feel it slipping away and you know he's not gonna see the positive like I do. He did a lot of great things and he could've shot 80-80 real quick in his first U.S. Open in these kind of conditions, but he didn't (said with the pride of a beaming dad), he hung in there. I think looking back next week he'll maybe appreciate the experience more. But it was a good start for him in his pro career.
Collins: What was the hardest hole for you?
DL III: I think 9 was the scariest hole cause there really wasn't anywhere good to hit it. You had about a five-yard wide area up the middle of the green that if you hit it in there it'll stay in a good place. I think coming into that hole knowing that you had to hit almost a perfect shot with an 8-10 yard elevation drop, that was a tough hole. If there was a hole that really wasn't quite fair, it was 9. You had to be really perfect there.
Collins: Looking at all the good scores, is there anything they could have done different?
DL III: No, I think it's a good setup. Obviously you have holes with a wide range of scores. Guys that are hitting it good are making birdies, guys who are hitting it bad are making bogeys and that's the U.S. Open. But I think, like they usually do, it's a patience test. Whoever hangs in there, doesn't get flustered, and just keeps plugging away is gonna win.
Collins: What was the toughest part of your caddie duties for the week? What was the hardest thing you had to do on the golf course?
DL III: Uh, keeping up. (Laughs but stretches and rubs his legs again.)
DL III: I mean really, to get water, to get up and down these hills, to be at the next tee on time. I think it was a longer walk between greens and tees than anybody really imagined.
Collins: Twenty-three hundred extra yards.
DL III: A lot of them are uphill and you had to scoot! I was hoping he would tap in and not mark so I could start running to the next tee. (I'm bent over laughing because many caddies, including me, feel that way. But hearing Davis say it tickles me something terrible!)
DL III: If I can make it around here I can make it around anywhere! I'm ready for a flat golf course somewhere.
Collins: Did this experience change the way you feel about pro caddies and what they have to do?
DL III: Well I think that any time you get on the other side of what you do and you see it from the other perspective, no matter what business you're in, you appreciate it more. So I always wondered why my caddie Jeff Weber, "Why's he stretching so much? He's not playing golf!" And now I know! They get stiff and tired just like we do. You know that 30-50-pound bag going around, it's a lot of work. So [I have] a much better appreciation for the guys that make it look easy. Some of these guys just cruising around; Bones and Joe LaCava and John Wood and Jeff Weber, they just cruise around and make it look easy, like it's no big deal. I'm out there huffing, puffing, hustling and trying to keep up so. ... Fluff (Mike Cowan caddie for Jim Furyk) was a great inspiration to me this week. I followed him around in a practice round and learned how to do it.
Collins: You know he's gonna give you grief! Did you spend any time in the Wellness Center in the hyperbaric chamber or massage table?
DL III: I didn't. I worked out a little this week. That's all I did. I kept stretching and kept loose cause I gotta go back and play again.
Collins: So what's next for you?
DL III: Hopefully I'll be at Quicken Loans and then Greenbrier and then John Deere.
Collins: Any more plans on caddying?
DL III: I hope he'll have me back.
Collins: Do you think he would?
DL III: I'm 0-1 in my pro career with him so ... he may fire me!
Collins: What would be funny would be Dru coming to you saying, "Dad, we need to talk." (We're both laughing; that's how almost every caddie firing starts.)
DL III: Yeah! He's gonna let me go. I can feel it coming!
Collins: What are the three caddie ups?
DL III: Show up, keep up, and shut up! I better keep my mouth shut from now on!