Dave Musgrove, who caddied for three major champions, dies at 74

Golf caddie Dave Musgrove of Great Britain during the US Masters Golf Tournament held at the Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, circa April 1988.  (Photo by Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto/Getty Images) Getty Images

Dave Musgrove, who caddied for three major champions, dies at 74

Euro Tour

Dave Musgrove, who caddied for three major champions, dies at 74

The term “old school” could have been invented for caddie Dave Musgrove, who died Monday at the age of 74. Musgrove lived by a simple, seven-word philosophy: “Show up, keep up and shut up.”

Musgrove was a permanent fixture on the European Tour for nearly 50 years. He was Sandy Lyle’s longtime bagman, helping Lyle win the 1985 British Open, 1987 Players Championship, 1988 Masters, and other tournaments around the world. He helped Lee Janzen win the 1998 U.S. Open. However, Musgrove nearly gave up looping after spending four years with Seve Ballesteros.

The man from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, England, began caddying at Hollinwell, the Nottinghamshire course near his parent’s home. He did so on the advice of his mother, who told him at the age of 12 to “go caddying and make yourself useful.” Musgrove earned six shillings a bag, a lot of money for a 12-year-old in 1955.

Musgrove, or “Muzzy” as he was known on the European Tour, didn’t parlay his Hollinwell experience into caddying full-time.

Musgrove earned his living as a draughtsman at the National Coal Board after finishing school. However, he would take his annual holiday to coincide with the British Open. He first caddied in the Open in 1962 with English professional David Talbot. In 1964, he caddied for Jean Garaialde at St. Andrews. The Frenchman, who finished equal 13th, played the final two rounds with winner Tony Lema.

Sandy Lyle of Great Britain (right) with his caddie Dave Musgrove and the trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championship held at the Royal St George's Golf Club in Kent on 21st July 1985.   (Photo by Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Musgrove and Sandy Lyle after Lyle won the 1985 British Open at Royal St. George’s (Phil Sheldon/Getty Images)

In 1966, Musgrove joined Rolls Royce, also as a draughtsman. He still maintained his part-time caddying job, looping for Roberto de Vicenzo at Royal Birkdale in 1971. In 1972, Musgrove made a decision that changed his life. He took voluntary redundancy from Rolls Royce and began caddying full-time.

In 1976, he began a tumultuous partnership with Seve Ballesteros that would lead to the Spaniard winning the 1979 British Open. There are two moments from that championship at Royal Lytham that summed up Musgrove.

Ballesteros was dubbed the “Car Park Champion” when he’d birdied the 16th hole in the final round after hitting his drive into a temporary car park and getting relief. The Spaniard found places on Royal Lytham even members didn’t know existed, so wild was he off the tee. On the 18th hole, Seve hit his 3-wood straight left off the tee shot into the gallery. When Seve asked Musgrove what was over there, Musgrove replied: “I don’t know – it’s about the only place we haven’t been this week!”

Standing over his second shot, Seve had a three-shot lead over Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw.

“He told me he could take five and still win,” Musgrove said. “I told him he could take a six and win, but I needed him to get a four. I had a £1 bet with Brian Barnes’s caddie that someone would finish under par for the tournament. We were 1 under at that point and I wanted to collect my £1.”

Seve made his four, won the Open for the first time and Musgrove collected his bet. However, the caddie had had enough.

“I nearly quit the game because of him,” Musgrove said. “If you survived for a while with Seve, then you could survive with anyone. He was difficult with everybody. He was tough with everybody.”

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 21:  Severiano Ballesteros of Spain with his caddie Dave Musgrove of England during the final round of the 108th Open Championship played at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club on July 21, 1979 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

Musgrove and Seve Ballesteros during the final round of the 1979 British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes (Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

Musgrove dumped the Spaniard later that year. Two years later, he was working for Spaniard Manuel Calero at Fulford Golf Club in the Benson and Hedges International Open. Calero missed the cut and that’s when Sandy Lyle offered Musgrove a job. Ten minutes later, Nick Faldo also offered Musgrove a job. Musgrove picked Lyle, and they formed a formidable nine-year alliance.

In 1998, Musgrove helped Lee Janzen win the U.S. Open. He and the late Dave Renwick are the only British caddies to have looped for three major winners.

Musgrove was a keen book collector and golf historian. He lived his whole life in Kirby-on-Ashfield. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, was honest and direct to a fault and held no sway with those who said caddies were as important as players. He lived his life by a simple credo of doing an honest and fair job for an honest and fair wage. More than anything though, he believed caddies had to be punctual, had to be there when the player needed them and had to speak only when they needed to.

“Show up, keep up and shut up.” Dave Musgrove did that better than most.

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