2002: Longtime caddie Edwards diagnosed with ALS

Caddie Bruce Edwards, who has been at Tom Watson’s side during the eight-time major winner’s biggest victories, will have Watson at his side for Edwards’ biggest battle.

Edwards, Watson’s longtime looper, has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is no cure for the disease, a progressive neurological disease that ravages the body. Former PGA Tour player Jeff Julian also is battling the disease.

Watson confirmed Edwards’ condition Jan. 22. The caddie had undergone a physical at the Mayo Clinic the previous week, when the disease was diagnosed. He had suffered symptoms of the disease as early as last fall. Other caddies and Watson had noticed problems with Edwards’ speech, and Edwards told Watson he had a numbness in his left hand at the season-ending Senior Tour Championship in late October.

Edwards, 48, was Watson’s caddie for all eight of his major championships – five British Opens, two Masters, one U.S. Open), and is one of the most respected caddies on any professional tour. Edwards also was on the bag for Watson’s victory in the 2001 Senior PGA Championship.

Edwards plans to continue to carry Watson’s bag as long as he can. Watson said he will be on the bag for him at this week’s MasterCard Championship in Hawaii. Watson has read up on ALS since learning of the diagnosis.

“It’s a wasting disease,” said Watson, who told PGATour.com he would be there for Edwards during his fight against the condition.

“That’s what friends are for,” Watson said.

Edwards also will have plenty of support from fellow caddies, said Scott Steele, who caddies for Tim Herron. Steele also was close friends with Jeff “Squeeky” Medlen, Nick Price’s former caddie, who died of leukemia in 1997.

“When I heard about it, I flashed to Squeek,” Steele told PGATour.com. “Bruce is a great man. We’re all behind him. If there’s anything we can do, we will.”

– Staff and wire reports

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