Lance Ten Broeck continues to get raves for apparently becoming the first person to play and caddie in the same tournament last week at the Valero Texas Open. You might say he was the talk of the range Tuesday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
“Story of the week,” one player said.
“You are my hero,” one caddie said to Ten Broeck.
And then there was his longtime boss, Jesper Parnevik. The playful Swedish golfer gushed about his caddie.
“Guys bring in their instructors, mental coaches and practice 10 hours a day, and he beats half the field hung over and tired,” Parnevik said.
What “Last Call” Lance Ten Broeck did is something out of a novel. Stories like this rarely hit the PGA Tour. The 53-year-old former Tour regular got into the tournament as an alternate at the last minute, played two rounds with borrowed equipment, shot 71-70 and missed the cut by two strokes.
He also caddied 31 holes for Parnevik on perhaps the toughest walking course on Tour, La Cantera. What’s more, at the end of the two days, he beat the man who writes his checks by three shots. Parnevik had 70-74.
“Even the best player in the world (Tiger Woods) would have a hard time doing that,” Parnevik said of Ten Broeck’s double. “Walking 36 holes, playing with other people’s clubs, using shoes he had never walked in. I think the over-under set by some caddies was 85, especially after he caddied that Thursday morning.”
Ten Broeck, who has limited status based on 348 events played in 1979-98, routinely signs up for tournaments, just in case. For instance, last year he got into the Reno-Tahoe Open, where he shot 88-79.
The odyssey this time in San Antonio began at happy hour at Kona Grill on Wednesday afternoon. The last thing on Ten Broeck’s mind was the thought of playing the next day. Rather, he was focused on this happy-hour special: 22-ounce Sapporo beer plus a jug of saki for $6.50.
“You can’t turn that down,” he said.
He didn’t. Rather, he lived up to his nickname. By his count, he had eight of those combination orders. That’s right, eight. Then he finished up with a “handful of vodkas.” After seven hours of sleep, he got to La Cantera to caddie for Parnevik in a 7:25 a.m. pairing.
A few minutes after they finished the round around noon, he found out that he got in the field when David Berganio withdrew from the 1:45 pairing. So he bought some pants at Dillard’s at a nearby mall, borrowed Richard S. Johnson’s clubs, Tag Ridings’ putter, David Duval’s shoes, Lee Janzen’s glove and Parnevik’s used balls from the morning round.
“I was loose and ready to go,” said Ten Broeck, who had played three times the week before. “My biggest concern was the clubs. But I had a good driver (TaylorMade Burner). It’s an easy course if you hit the driver well.”
That night, a tired Ten Broeck had a few more beers and a few glasses of wine. The adventure the next morning was more complicated because his round overlapped with Parnevik’s and Johnson’s. So he had to get a different set of clubs before his 8:45 tee time. He came up with Johnson’s backup irons and 3-wood, Fredrik Jacobson’s wedges and a hybrid from Glen Day. Playing with only 13 clubs, he managed five birdies, two more than on opening day. But like Round 1, he had a three-putt.
“I played well enough to make the cut,” Ten Broeck said. “I enjoyed it. It’s something I always wanted to do – caddie and play.”
The caddie situation on Day 2 was tricky, too. His son, Jonathan, caddied the first 11 holes before an assistant pro took the bag so Jonathan could loop the first five holes for Parnevik. When Ten Broeck finished playing, he took the caddie bib from his kid.
“All (Parnevik) said is, ‘What did you shoot?’ ” Ten Broeck said of his reporting to duty.
That Friday night, his rare double duty completed, Ten Broeck said he wasn’t as tired as he should’ve been. Adrenaline can be powerful.
And what did he do to celebrate the feat? Apparently not much.
“It’s kind of hard to celebrate two missed cuts,” he said.