Barber employs mother as caddie at U.S. Am
U.S. Amateur (Round of 64)
Sixty-four golfers tackled tough Chambers Bay in the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur.
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – With a TV microphone only a few feet away, and with his match against Kevin Tway at a critical juncture, Blayne Barber flipped open his yardage book and calculated his distance into the 16th hole at Chambers Bay. In stepped his caddie for the week.
“Need a gap wedge.”
“Uh, I don’t know what that is.”
“Oh, OK. Here you go.”
Not your typical player-caddie dialogue, this one. Not your typical player-caddie relationship, either.
Barber, 20, a redshirt sophomore at Auburn, has his mother, Terri, on the bag this week at the U.S. Amateur. So, as Barber said after his 1-up victory over Tway, “I can forgive her for those little things.”
Terri isn’t expected to read putts. She won’t march off distances, study the contours of the greens or offer tidbits of course strategy.
Her job description, in her own words: “I’m just here to get the weight off his back.”
And to share in this remarkable experience along the shores of Puget Sound, of course. Wednesday was another postcard day at Chambers Bay, which made Terri’s hike up and down these undulating fairways less insufferable. She has the usual aches and pains – golf bags, even stripped to the bare necessities, weigh at least 15 pounds, you know – but seemingly is boosted by her son’s play.
“Oh my gosh, he played so solid,” she said. “I’ve watched him play for a long time, obviously, and he was great at the beginning.”
Great at the end, too. One up on Tway and in the middle of the 18th fairway, some 226 yards from the flag on the closing par 5, Barber rifled a 4-iron to the middle of the green, his ball bounding onto the back shelf, 10 feet from the cup. He two-putted from there to halve the hole and advance to the Round of 32.
“It just came off absolutely perfectly,” said Barber, who also holed out for eagle at the par-4 10th. “It was a great confidence-booster to be able to hit that shot under pressure like that. To play Kevin and beat him early, it’s definitely a good start.”
Much thanks to the caddie.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to do this, because I’ve never caddied before,” Terri said. “But he said that I’m the best caddie he’s ever had.”
And he wasn’t just trying to score a free meal or get a reprieve from laundry duty?
“No, no. He’s such a sweet boy,” she said.
With a flair for fashion, too. Surely the only player in the field to sport the senses-blinding Loudmouth pants, Barber chose the “Shagadelic” style for his opening-round match. He’s quick to note that he started wearing the pants before John Daly, saying he first donned them at the 2008 Dixie Amateur. Barber said he wanted to “stand out a little more, and they seem to do that for me.”
“I’m not copying John Daly; I promise,” he said.
Mom, care to weigh in on his choice of attire?
“Oh, he looks so handsome. I encouraged it.”
Seems this caddie can offer some golf-related input, after all.