Wittenberg's coach finds challenges as caddie
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. After 72 holes of grueling inside-the-ropes work, Adam Schriber finally could put down the clubs and get to the really important business.
He removed his sneakers, his socks and the Band-aids.
"Battle scars," he said, with a laugh.
Now Schriber could have done his work at The Players Championship in a manner similar to so many of his colleagues – work the range early, walk and watch, then work the range again – but as Casey Wittenberg's swing coach, he chose to get up close and personal. He caddied for him.
Nothing new, you see. Not only had Schriber caddied for Wittenberg a week earlier at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., but he has done so in the past, too. Wittenberg, back on the PGA Tour for a second stint after having won Nationwide Tour Player of the Year honors in 2012, likes it very much. "He's enjoyable to have out there," said Wittenberg, 28.
Schriber appreciates his player's support, but he concedes there's an inherent danger to a coach taking on caddie duties. "I'm not a regular caddie," he said. "That's one thing. But you don't want to cross over and start being a teacher out there, either. You're the caddie."
Wittenberg, last year's Web.com Tour Player of the Year, finished T-68 at the Wells Fargo but was in contention at The Players Championship. Rounds of 67-69-70 had him just one off the lead through 54 holes. The fact that he was paired with Tiger Woods in the penultimate group Sunday is a serious indication of how well Wittenberg was playing, though there was a down side to it, so far as Schriber is concerned.
"That's a lot of work when you're with his group," Schriber said. "There's just so many people inside the ropes. It was crazy."
Having survived that challenge, Schriber sat and let his feet cool off. He had seen a lot of positives with Wittenberg and came away better for it.
"This was his idea (to caddie). But I like it. I learn a lot by doing it. We just kept it to course strategy, ball position, that sort of stuff."
But acknowledging that it ended with a bit of disappointment Sunday (Wittenberg shot 75 to slide into a share of eighth) and that the young man had posted a Sunday 77 at Quail Hollow and an 80 to finish off the RBC Heritage Classic, Schriber offered a look of contentment.
"It's harder to learn when you're successful," Schriber said. "You learn more when you fall down."
In other words, they have something to learn from.
"And we're driving to Atlanta, so we have plenty to talk about for five hours," Schriber said.