Caddie blog: Preparing for Oakmont
Greg Robertson is the associate head coach at Purdue and is caddying for Maria Hernandez at the U.S. Women’s Open. He played college golf at Oklahoma State.
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OAKMONT, Pa. – Greetings from Oakmont!
This week I have the privilege to caddie for LPGA rooke Maria Hernandez, the 2009 NCAA champion, Player of the Year and 2009 Purdue graduate. I caddied for her last year in the U.S. Women’s Open and the final stage of LPGA Q-School, so this will be the third time we’ve worked together. Over the course of these three tournaments, we’ve developed a pretty good routine during the practice rounds that seems to work pretty well.
Day 1 (Monday): We use this day to get an overall feel for the golf course. This includes figuring out club selection off each tee and picking the aiming points. After hitting approach shots into the greens, we’ll walk off the distances she’s landing each club and record all of those numbers. We also like to walk off the amount of release she’s getting with each of her shots. This is good to know on fast, firm U.S. Open greens. Once we get to the green, my job is to get all of the green details and measurements. While I’m doing that, Maria is busy hitting quite a few putts, chips and bunker shots to get a feel for the speed and firmness of the greens, and to get comfortable with the rough and sand.
Day 2 (Tuesday): We use this day to go through the “gameplan” off the tee to make sure she’s comfortable with club selections and aiming points we’ve chosen from the day before. From the fairway, she’ll hit shots to possible hole locations that will give us an idea of how conservative or aggressive she can be. We again record all of the distances from her approach shots, along with the amount of release. Once on the green, we like to start reading all of her putts to make sure we have a good understanding of the greens. By doing this, it helps us find (and record in our yardage books) a few areas that are a little tricky and don’t quite do what we initially thought.
I feel like we’ve done some pretty good work these last two days. Only one more day of preparation, and then it’s “go time”!
On a different subject, I slipped away from my caddie duties for about 15 minutes while Maria was hitting balls after her practice round Tuesday. Franco Harris and Lynn Swann were part of a clinic on the end of the driving range, and I wanted to get a chance to see them. This was a treat for me since I’m a big Steelers fan (both of my parents are from the Pittsburgh area and I was born in Erie). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the clinic today will feature Jerome Bettis and Arnold Palmer.