The Caddie Blog: On site at Beverly CC

Paul Richards is caddying for George Zahringer at the USGA Senior Amateur at The Beverly Country Club in Chicago. Richards will file daily reports for Golfweek.com detailing his experience on the bag and inside the ropes.

CHICAGO – My name is Paul Richards, and I have been a Golfweek course rater for more than 10 years. I grew up caddying at The Beverly Country Club in Chicago and fell in love with it the moment I stepped foot on it. My passion led me to become a club member in 1994 and then to become the club historian shortly thereafter.

Seventy-eight years after hosting its first USGA event, the 1931 National Amateur, Beverly is hosting the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur Championship. Back then, Bobby Jones had just completed his Grand Slam and came to Beverly as a reporter and photographer. Media reports mention that he "maintained court'' in the clubhouse overlooking the 18th green. He witnessed Francis Ouimet win his second U.S. Amateur title.

Last month at the Senior Amateur media day event, I approached fellow Beverly member Bill Shean, a former Senior Amateur champion, to ask him who he felt were the favorites to win this year. He gave me a short list of names and promised to let me know if he heard of any of them needing a caddie.

Last Tuesday at Beverly, I stopped in to see our caddie master, Tom Gorman, to see which players had requested a caddie. We looked over the list and one name popped out at me – a name that Bill Shean had mentioned – George Zahringer. George was the runner-up last year and had won the Mid-Am in 2002.

Besides caddying at Beverly for more than seven years, I was also a caddie at the 1981 Western Open at Butler National. Ed Fiori won with a long putt as I watched from a tree across the water behind the green. My player was a Tour "rabbit'' - those without cards who traveled from tournament to tournament trying to qualify at each week’s event. He missed the cut by a few shots, but that experience of walking inside the ropes stuck with me all these years, and I hoped to replicate the experience at this years’ Senior Am.

George has now survived 48 holes of practice with me on the bag and we look forward to the start of stroke play tomorrow. My hope is that my passion for Beverly, as well as my experience as a caddie and player, can help George follow in the footsteps of Francis Ouimet as a USGA champion of Beverly.

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