Caddie blog: Teeing it up with idol K.J. Choi
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Editor’s note: Steve Bailey, Northwestern assistant coach, is writing a daily blog from The Open Championship, where he is caddying for Northwestern junior Eric Chun.
• • •
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – So it’s Tuesday, and Eric couldn’t be more excited for the big day ahead of him. He is scheduled to play a practice round with his childhood hero, K.J. Choi.
For the third day in a row we took our walk to the course and noticed the crowds were slowly beginning to increase. The excitement was definitely building, as you could feel the tournament was drawing near.
Day 3 on the range, and you can start to see Eric feeling a lot more comfortable, focusing more on hitting shots than staring up and down the range. But let’s be honest: How can you blame the 20-year-old for being in awe of the best players in the world? With all the wandering eyes this morning, you would have thought swimsuit model Heidi Klum was sunbathing on the range. Unfortunately it was just Tiger Woods blistering 3-woods that didn’t get 10 feet off the ground. I must admit, I was watching, too.
It was 10:20 a.m. as we made our way to the first tee, and Eric got the chance to meet Choi for the first time. This was a huge deal, as Eric mentioned to me several times that K.J. is the Michael Jordan of Korea.
Like every other tour player we played with, K.J. was a class act. He embraced Eric right away, giving him plenty of advice along the way. I was fortunate to spend some time with his caddie, Andy Prodger, winner of two majors and 22 wins total while carrying the bag for Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie. Having past experience at St. Andrews, he was very helpful with possible hole locations and lines off the tee.
Another highlight of the day was actually a non-golf related incident. My wife, Bethany, has been our official photographer for the week and the anticipation had been building for her encounter with long-time crush Sergio Garcia. As we made our way to the 11th green, we had to wait for a group to hit from the seventh fairway. And who would we see? SEEERRRRGGGGGIOOOOOO! Bethany, at a loss for words, received a kiss and a photo that I’m sure will be framed adjacent to our wedding picture.
The round ended and many photographers captured the moment as Choi and Chun shook hands on the 18th green.
We made our way to the player dining area and were fortunate to sit next to Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson. For those who don’t know, Bubba’s “YOU’RE WELCOME” skits have become a huge hit on the Web. We didn’t eat much, as we were too busy helping Bubba devise some new skits while at the British Open. Chun’s suggestion was a good one, challenging Bubba to try and make a 100-yard putt on the fifth green.
After an hour of short game practice and a session on the range, we capped off another Day at The Office! Although Chun put in some good work, Vijay Singh was the last man standing. It is true: Vijay is the ironman of golf.
Golfweek.com readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.