Dads differ on the bag in U.S. Women's Am final
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Daddy-caddies are an interesting breed, sometimes as fun to watch as the players themselves. The final round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur featured two fathers who couldn’t be more different: Dan Talley and Delin Feng. They wore their bibs with pride, pushing around their daughters’ clubs in oppressive heat for nine competitive rounds. That’s about where the similarities end.
PHOTOS: Women's Amateur Daddy-caddies
View images of Dan Talley, father of Emma Talley and Delin Feng, father of Yueer Cindy Feng, as they caddied for their daughters during the U. S. Women's Amateur.
Delin Feng, a 58-year-old Tiger Woods fanatic who moved his family over to the U.S. from China when daughter Cindy was only 9 years old, does everything but hit the golf shot. He glided around the Country Club of Charleston in grey slip-on shoes with knee-high compression socks. Delin’s mirrored, red-rimmed sunglasses gave him a Cool Daddy vibe. He sometimes looked as though he were putting a spell on the ball as it rolled toward the hole, grunting loudly with great animation. Delin’s like a small stick of dynamite, flitting around the course. He stands a head shorter than his youngest daughter.
When Cindy squatted down beside her ball on the 27th hole Sunday to shoo a bug, Delin crouched down on the other side. He then picked up the pesky insect and got rid of it. When Cindy leaned over to pick up a tuft of grass to check the wind, Delin did the same. He studied the yardage book and walked ahead to show her the target line, throwing his hands in the air as though he were helping to land a plane.
Emma Talley, Cindy’s opponent in Sunday’s 35-hole final, tells the story of the first time she met Mr. Feng at the Thunderbird International in Scottsdale. While the kids were playing pingpong, Talley looked over and saw Delin standing knee deep in a pond catching fish with his bare hands.
“Am I back in Kentucky?” Talley asked herself.
Cindy admits she used to be embarrassed by her father’s antics, but is now used to his unbridled enthusiasm.
“I learned he’s going to do what he wants, and plus, people like that,” Cindy said. “People like the drama.”
Dan Talley got a good laugh watching Delin throw his hand down in exasperation on the 10th hole this morning after Cindy’s birdie attempt narrowly missed. Sometimes he even slaps a thigh. Dan would pat Delin on the back, two fathers acknowledging a tightly contested match.
While Delin watches nearly every shot Cindy hits back home in Orlando, Fla., Dan is busy at his optometry practice. Dan’s main job all week was to sing with his youngest daughter in between shots. Sunday’s tunes consisted of John Mayer and Darius Rucker selections. Dan was asked for an opinion on two shots, and both times he chose 4-iron over a utility club. “They were perfect,” he said.
PHOTOS: U.S. Women's Amateur (Finals)
Final round of the 113th U. S. Women's Amateur at Country Club of Charleston between Yueer Cindy Feng and Emma Talley.
Dan admitted to being a nervous wreck during the semifinal match but said he was more calm in the final round. He often put his hands on the brim of his cap as Emma was putting, as if to shield the sun, read the green or steady his racing mind and fluttery stomach.
Emma started off tight Sunday morning, three-putting five times in the early going.
“My dad said, ‘I think we need to start singing again; you haven't talked to anybody yet,’ ” Emma said. “I didn't want to tell him he was right, but he was.”
Not surprisingly, father knew best. Emma plays best when she’s sociable, chatting with the volunteers and fans.
Dan’s job was to talk about everything but golf. Delin’s job was the opposite. Both enjoyed a walk they’ll never forget.
After Emma won, 2 and 1, Dan contemplated leaving quickly to catch a flight back to Kentucky to make it to the office Monday morning.
Instead, he chose to make the 10-hour drive home to Princeton with his wife and daughter. They’ll be singing Motown, reliving their glory.
For dads, it doesn’t get much better.