Last updated on Monday August 25, 2014
Click here for the Caddie Show on tourplayers.com
April 1 2009
There was some improvement for Peter last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. But I have to say, how about Tiger? When that guy has a sniff at a victory, he's so dangerous. I'm sure his goal during Saturday's round was to get into the final group on Sunday. He intimidates players and even the best ones can succumb to the pressure of him nipping at your heels. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to make that putt on 18 for his first victory of 2009.
Unfortunately, I was in my hotel room at the time watching it on TV even though Peter was still playing. I have had some serious Achilles Tendon issues the last few weeks and it reached it's peak and I also reached the peak of my pain threshold during Sunday's round. I caddied only three holes and had to resort to getting someone from the gallery to finish of our round. Needless to say, the kid that caddied was pretty excited.
I caddied in a lot of pain on Friday and Saturday and there was no way I could finish on Sunday. Peter knew I was hurting. As we were on the range before Sunday's round, he told me that I was taking this week off this week. I told him that I wanted to give it a go but he suggested I take one week off instead of five weeks should I cause any more damage to the ankle. "Stay at my place for the week and I'll pay you just the same." The guy is a class act. He is now in Houston getting ready for this weeks' Shell Houston Open. It's one of my favorite towns and I love going there. But taking care of my ankle is certainly more important. I also have next week off seeing as though Peter is not in the Masters. That gives me two weeks to attempt a recovery.
I'm at the airport in Orlando and am about to board a flight to Los Angeles. I became friends with an orthopedic doctor out there the last few years so I gave him a call and told him what was going on. He suggested I fly out to see him and have a good examination. I have two doctors appointments tomorrow so, hopefully, I can get this issue taken care of ASAP. It's not good to have Achilles issues when you walk for a living.
Through another friend, I was put in touch with a foot specialist in Seattle. We spoke at length last night and he seems to think that I should be just about recovered in a couple of weeks. My Achilles tendon issues go back to the days I club caddied at Laval-sur-le-lac years ago. I have just dealt with the pain for years but it's at a point where I need to really take care of it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
Back to Peter. He has had trouble this year with equipment issues but it seems to have been worked out last week. He made his third cut of the year but has a long way to go to catch up to the pack. But all it takes is one week of solid golf to turn it around. His attitude is still good and his work ethic never changes. He's a great guy and I have complete confidence in his ability. For you guys who have him in their golf pool, be patient. Your time is coming. I've got to scramble to get my flight so that will be it for now. Enjoy the golf this week.
Orlando, Fla. Sunday
March 8, 2009
for recent pictures
I can sometimes have difficulty finding the desire to write even when Peter is playing well. It's that much harder to write when Peter is playing bad. And I've never seen Peter struggle the way he has been this season. As always, it has never been for lack of effort. Peter works very hard at his game and it gets extremely frustrating when all that effort is put into practicing and there is very little to show in return.
Such was the case last week again in Palm Beach Gardens at the Honda Classic. We showed up on Tuesday for a practice round and a good session on the range. That was followed by a 3 hour practice session even before we played in Wednesday afternoon's pro am. To start the week, Peter had even gone to see David Leadbetter at his academy in Orland on Monday to work on his putting. He called me after the work with Leadbetter and said that everything looked good. We were both excited to get the week started on Thursday.
Well, Thursday rolls around and Peter shoots plus 4. Not very encouraging. He certainly seems to be struggling with all aspects of his game. Nothing too crazy but it all just seems off. It all boils down to confidence. The lack of confidence starts with the putter. That puts pressure on the iron play. He has to hit good iron shots to give himself better chances at birdie. In order to hit good iron shots, Peter has to put the ball in play off the tee. More pressure. So instead of the pressure to hit it good off the tee, Peter's pressure starts on the green and goes back to the tee. Does that make sense? I hope so because that's exactly what's happening.
There were no big numbers this week until the back 9 on Friday. There were a handful of birdies but too many bogeys as well. By the 10th hole Friday, Peter was at plus 3, which ended up being the cut. A bogey on 10, double bogey on 11, followed by bogeys on 12 and 13, ended our week. I hate seeing Peter get "deflated" on the course. Going into the week, expectations were high. Peter had worked as hard as he always does and even got a good report card form David Leadbetter. All to no avail. We have this upcoming week off so it will be good for both of us to get away from the tour and try to regroup. I know Peter will work hard this week like he always does. Personally, I'll be heading to Montreal for the week to spend time with my family.
Once again, it was a great tournament this past week. The Honda Classic has turned into one of the premiere events on tour. When I started on tour back in late 1999, the Honda was played at a club called Heron Bay. Not a great course. There were even two other venues used between 2001 and 2006. In 2007, the event was moved to PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. What a tough golf course. In the 3 years that the event has been played at PGA National, the winning score has never gone into double digits. The year's winning score of minus 9 by South Korean, YE Yang, was the best wining score at this track. YE was at -11 with three holes to play on Sunday but bogeyed numbers 16 and 17, the last two holes of a three hole stretch called "The Bear Trap".
Jack "The Golden Bear" Nicklaus re-designed the course a number of year ago and made sure that holes 15 through 17 were one of the toughest stretches of holes on tour. He didn't fail. All three holes get your attention even though two of them, numbers 15 and 17, are par 3's. Sixteen of the 18 holes at PGA National have water on them and all three of the Bear Trap holes have water. The water certainly comes into play on the two par 3's. There have been some large numbers recorded on those holes with the biggest number being a 9 on number 15 by Gavin Coles back in 2007. Those three holes can ruin a good week. I watched the telecast both Saturday and Sunday and was amazing to see how many players hit into the bunkers left of the green on both 15 and 17. All in all, it's a great course and gets good reviews from all the pros who play. The Florida Swing has some tough tracks. Next week is Doral, followed by Copperhead at Innisbrook near Tampa and then Bay Hill just outside of Orlando.
One of my former bosses played here this week as well. Hawaiian, Tadd Fujikawa, was given a sponsor's exemption to play at the Honda and he took advantage of it. Not that he contended, but Tadd played good, solid golf for the most part, made the cut and played quite nicely. Seeing as though Peter missed the cut, I followed Tadd for his front 9 on Saturday. He shot -1 for that nine. He also had very good birdie opportunities on holes 5, 6 and 7 but couldn't roll the putts in. He can pump it out there as well. I saw him play with Johnson Wagner who hits it long enough. Tadd hit it right with him off the tee and even managed to sneak a few tee shots by him. Even though Tadd stands just 5'1", he can hit it just as long as most tour players. I truly feel as though Tadd has a future on the PGA Tour. He is only 18 years old right now so he still has plenty of time to develop into a good tour player. I can't wait to see him out there on tour competing.
I had a nice evening on Wednesday night. Following Wednesday's pro am, I got together with, Tadd, his mom Lori, his grandmother, caddy Shakil and my roommate Dave Bernards, who caddies for Will Mackenzie. We all went to a local Thai restaurant for dinner and had a really nice time. Tadd and his family are really good people and it was a great way to spend the evening. Fortunately for Tadd, he has also been given a sponsor's exemption for this week's event in Puerto Rico, which is played opposite of the World Golf Championship at Doral, just outside of Miami. Let's all make sure to send some good vibes Tadd's way and tat he has a great week.
I would like to mention some good people who come and see Peter and I at work in Mexico. I met Joel Sherman and his son, Zach, at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico back in 2007. They followed our group that week. Joel and I exchanged email addresses and phone numbers at the end of the week and we have kept in touch ever since. They both came to Mexico in 2008 and Peter had another top 10 as he did in 2007. Sure enough, Joel and Zach were there again this year to offer us support. Seeing as though they are from Pittsburgh and are big Steelers fans, they brought me a souvenir. It was a yellow "Terrible Towel", the same towel they wave at Steelers' home games. They also brought Peter a Canterbury Bulldogs ball marker. The Bulldogs are Peter's favorite rugby team back in Australia. Very nice of them to be so thoughtful. Unfortunately, Peter couldn't pull another top 10 out of the hat but the support from the Sherman's is very much appreciated. We hope to see them again in Mexico in 2010.
Playa Del Carmen,
Mexico, Saturday Feb 28 2009
for recent pictures from San Diego and Mexico'
Same old story with Peter and the putter. His ball striking on Friday was as good as I've seen this year, by far. But his putting was certainly the issue again. Even the other players in our group yesterday were saying, "If this guy could make putts when he needs to he could do some damage on tour." Peter is driving the ball nice, hitting his irons well and is chipping really good. Not that he has had to chip much this week. If I'm not mistaken, he has missed only a handful of greens in the first three rounds. He missed the green on 16 yesterday but rolled in a chip for birdie. The ball never had a chance to miss as it fell right in the center of the cup.
Going into today's third round, Peter is at -2 and is tied for 22nd. Only three shots out of a top ten finish. At one point yesterday, he was at -4 with 10 holes to play. The next three holes which were 18, 1 and 2, he left all three putts no more that 2 inches short, dead center. If those three putts drop he's at -7. Instead, those three didn't go in and he bogeyed the following two holes to go back to -2. What a cruel game sometimes.
Speaking of cruel. We played with one of my former bosses this week, Mark Brooks. Going into our back nine yesterday he was at -3. Then we got to #1, the Cave Hole. There is a cave in the middle of the fairway. It's out of reach off the tee but can certainly come into play. Mark hit his tee shot into a left fairway bunker. He attempted to lay up his second shot seeing as though it's a par 5. His shot hit the lip of the bunker and ended up deep into the cave. He took a drop, hit his 4th shot short of the green, and his 5th into a greenside bunker and it was plugged!! It took him two shots to get out of the trap and he two putted for a 9!!!! Talk about ugly. It was tough to watch. He went from -3 to plus 1 in 15 minutes. Was he pissed off!! That was the second time there was a nine on that hole this week. Alex Cejka also hit one into the cave on Thursday, made a 9, shot 79 and withdrew from the tournament after the first round.
Our other playing partner this week was Kevin Na. If I'm not mistaken, he shot 29 on the back 9 yesterday. He shot 8 under yesterday and is tied for the lead going into the weekend. He just couldn't miss anything. His driving, iron play and putting were superb yesterday. When these guys get hot, look out!
We had a former Major League ball player follow our group yesterday. Mark Brooks and former Cincinnati Red catcher and Hall of Famer, Johnny Bench are buddies and Johnny came out to watch Mark play. He should have stuck around for the back nine yesterday. He followed Mark for the first 9 holes and Mark played really well. Johnny didn't show for the back 9 and Mark proceeded to make that 9 on the Cave Hole! Never saw Johnny for the rest of the day. Go figure.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, Wednesday Feb 25 2009
I had minimal internet
access last week so sorry for minimal updates.
It's a shame that Peter missed the cut last week at Riviera in LA. Seeing as though he's been struggling this year, he is guilty of sometimes trying too hard and forcing the issue. I'd love it if he could just go out there, play and not worry about results. But his mindset is understandable. Last week on both Thursday and Friday, he was at minus 3 and making the cut didn't seem as though it would be an issue. He sometimes talks of making cuts instead of looking at the big picture. It's a sign that his confidence is low. It really won't take that much to turn things around. A couple of solid rounds with some good putting will get things on track for team Lonard.
This week finds us in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico which is located about 30 miles south of Cancun. It's the third year this event has been held and it's certainly gaining in popularity. Bigger names are now coming here to play after hearing how good this tournament has been for the last two years. Two names that stick out are David Toms and Chad Campbell. Those two players are normally in Tucson this week for the World Match Play event. But even they have been struggling lately and have fallen out of the top 64 players in the world, which is the number of players that get into that tournament.
Peter has played well here for the first two years it has been held, with two top-10 finishes in '07and '08. He missed a playoff by one shot in '07 and finished 7th last year. We played in today's pro am and he hit the ball really well. He did miss a couple of makeable putts but also rolled in a handful of nice ones. It was nice to see him have a good round and hopefully he can keep it going for the rest of the week.
I have to say, the people who run this event go out of their way to treat everyone well. Players and caddies included. There is only one tournament that can top this event and that's the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, NC. This event is now very popular among tour players and caddies. The first couple of years not many guys wanted to come. That has now all changed. As far as caddies go, one of our favorite things is our dining area. The food they serve is awesome and the service is great. They bend over backwards to make sure we're happy. They can't seem to cater to us enough.
Another very nice service they have this year are free massages for players and caddies. After today's pro am and 2 hour practice session, I made the time to get a neck and shoulder massage by one of the three Thai women the tournament has provided. I have to admit, that the girl who gave me my massage today put a good hurting on me. A good hurt, mind you. The service is free but we all make sure to give them a few bucks for the service. The massages are outdoors under a nice tent in a garden. There was relaxing music and incense burning. What a nice atmosphere. Like I said, they spoil us here.
I had an interesting start to the week. I flew into Cancun from LA on Monday afternoon. There were a handful of tour players and caddies on the flight as well. Once we got through baggage claim and customs, myself and five other caddies shared a van from the airport to our hotels, which is about a 45 minute drive. As we arrived at our hotel, I got out of the van, grabbed my luggage and proceeded to check in. I got my key, went to my room, put my luggage away and decided to open my computer and check to see if I had any emails. It was then that I realized that I had left my laptop in the van that brought us from the airport! Panic immediately set in. I rely on my computer for so many things that I was lost without it right away. I have, literally, thousands of photos and tons of downloaded music. I use it to keep in touch with family and friends, make all my travel arrangements and, of course, write to 2MoPaul when I get the urge.
I went to the front desk to see if they could help. I had no idea of the name of the company who provided the transportation seeing as though we decided to use one of the independent companies that the major transportation companies call "pirates". They hustle you as soon as you walk out of the airport. We've all used these services in years past. But when you're in a situation like I was on Monday, it's almost impossible to find the same driver that provided the service. They tried as much as they could at my hotel but without a company name, they had no clue how to find out who had brought us to the hotel. The girl at the front desk suggested I go back to the airport and try to find the same van and driver. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. There are tons of vans and drivers and all seemed hopeless. But I decided to give it a try anyway.
I hired a taxi to give me a ride to the airport, wait for me and bring me back when I was finished trying to find my computer. The round trip was $100 US. The driver dropped me off and I went back to the same area where we hired the van. The driver, who's face I remembered, was nowhere to be seen. I spoke to a handful of other drivers and told them my story. They all charged a fee for information. Honestly, it seemed hopeless. But one guy was very persistent, making call after call to see if he could track down the van with my computer in it. At one point, even a police officer got involved and even he charged a fee! After a half hour of calls, one of the guys said he found out who had the computer. "In 30 minutes, your computer will be here." And he seemed very confident. I went to tell my taxi driver that I had to wait for the computer to arrive. No problem. Sure enough, 30 minutes later one of the guys tells me to follow him. We went to a parking lot and 2 minutes later, a car pulls up. I had never seen the car or driver before. He certainly wasn't the driver that had brought us to our hotel. In his hand was my computer case and the computer inside. I was more than happy to give him $20 for returning it.
I got back in my cab and came back to my hotel. Four hours and $310 later, I had my computer! I feel extremely lucky to get it back. I always liked Mexico and Mexican people. This just goes to show how good these people are. People down here don't make much money and even though I would have been disappointed if I didn't get my computer back, I would have understood. And I certainly didn't mind that I had to put out a few bucks to get it.
Pacific Palisades, Ca.
It's nice to be back at Riviera this week. One of my favourite stops on tour, for sure. The weather has been really nasty here lately but today is very nice with clear skies and close to 70 degrees. With the bad weather earlier this week, Peter decided to stay in Florida and practice there. We both assumed he would be in the pro am today. That would have given us the chance to see the course before the tournament starts Thursday. As it turns out, Peter isn't in the pro am so that means we don't get to play the course before the tournament starts. He arrived last night and was surprised to hear we weren't in.
So, today we'll spend the day practicing. Not seeing the course shouldn't be too much of an issue. Aside from me walking the course Tuesday, both of us have seen the course numerous times. I've caddied here most years since 2000 and Peter has played in this tournament 6 or 7 times. It's surprising how some players have good weeks without a practice round under their belt.
Obviously, it's been a struggle so far this year but it's the same start that he has had for the last three years. We're not in panic mode just yet. After this week, we're off to Mexico for the Mayakoba Classic. Peter has played well there the last couple of years and has had two top 10 finishes. I love the week down there and am looking forward to it.
Peter showed up this week with some new equipment. The only things that haven't changed are the wedges. New driver, irons and fairway woods. It seems like a lot to change but it won't take too long to adapt. Peter can adjust to new irons quite easily and the driver is one he has used before.
There's a pretty strong field here this week. Next week in Tucson is a World Match Play event. The top 64 players in world rankings will play there so a lot of them have come to play here at Riviera as a tune-up. Of the top 64 players in the world, 17 are American and the rest are foreigners. That means a large foreign contingent playing here this week. Included in that group is 17 year old Japanese phenom, Ryo Ishikawa. As an amateur he has won on the Japanese Tour and since turning pro, he has won again. It's obviously very early in his career but Ishikawa is already being compared to Tiger Woods. There has been other young guns compared to Tiger but a lot of people are saying that this kid is the real deal. I saw him hitting balls yesterday and he has an awesome swing. I'm looking forward to seeing how he performs against the top players in the world, excluding Tiger. Rumour has it Tiger may come back from his knee surgery next week in Tucson but nothing official as of yet.
After having last week off, Peter will play the next three before taking another week off. So it will be LA, Mexico and then the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Florida. I then have a week off and will make my way to Montreal.
Scottsdale, Az. 1.26.09
It was a pretty good week last week in Palm Springs at the Bob Hope Classic although Peter struggled on Sunday. His finish near the bottom of the pack was not a good indicator of how he really played last week. Over the course of the 5 round event, Peter hit the ball as good as I've ever seen him hit it. He was certainly off on Sunday but from Wednesday through Saturday he hit the ball extremely well. If a few more putts would have dropped before the final round he would have been in a much better position going into Sunday.
The new Callaway FT9 driver was great. Peter's iron play was solid as was his chipping. He has worked really hard on his chipping lately and it seems to have really paid off. Not that he's missing too many greens seeing as though is iron play is good. Honestly, the way he struck the ball last week was as good as I've seen. The new Callaway equipment is great from his driver to his wedges.
After some poor putting last week, Peter has a number of different manufacturers making him a new putter for him to try this week in Phoenix. We spoke late in yesterday's round in Palm Springs and said that we would both have the day off today. I found myself at the course around 3pm to go walk 9 holes and, sure enough, Peter was there as well. So much for a day off. What can I say? We're both pretty excited about the way some things went last week and are both anxious to get to work again. Since the season started two weeks ago, the only day either one of us has had off was last Saturday when both of us were travelling from Hawaii to Palm Springs. Other than that day, we haven't missed a day at the course yet. It's so typical. Once the season starts, not much else goes on for 9 months besides golf.
Immediately following yesterday's round in Palm Springs, both Peter and I hopped in our own cars and drove the 260 miles to Scottsdale. I always enjoy driving across the desert at sunset. The colors are awesome. As I was saying, both Peter and I ended up at the course today. Peter practiced for a while. When I showed up at the course one of my buddies told me that Peter was on the range. I went to see him for a bit but it wasn't long before he was through for the day. I went out and walked the back 9 of TPC Scottsdale.
I had to go see the 16th hole. It has the reputation of being the rowdiest hole in all of golf. As you can see by one of the photos included, the seating now surrounds the entire hole. They are expecting 20,00 fans each day on that hole alone!!! Peter commented last year that he felt like a gladiator coming through the tunnel onto the tee box last year. The fans start cheering as soon as the players step on the tee. What an atmosphere. Sure enough, this year the 16th hole has been named, The Coliseum. It's very appropriate. After walking the 10th hole this afternoon, I went directly over to the 16th green to check it out. I went up into the grandstands to get a view from behind the green. It looks incredible. Imagine 20,000 people on one hole alone?! I can't wait to experience it this week.
The rest of the back 9 hasn't changed a bit. The course looks to be in good shape and the whole crew was out there preparing the course for tomorrow's practice round and the rest of the week. It's interesting to see the course the way it was today. There were very few people out there. But come Thursday, that golf course will be hopping.
I'm staying with some friends this week. Georgette and Jim Emert live in Paradise Valley which is a beautiful part of the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Not far from the house is a great hiking facility called Camelback Mountain. Georgette is quite the exercise fanatic so she and I took the hike up Camelback today. It took us about an hour to reach the summit this morning. The views of downtown Phoenix and the surrounding area is great. It was a bit of a tough climb but well worth it once we got to the top.
That'll be it for now. I'll be back in a few days with another update from one of the most exciting events of the PGA Tour season.
La Quinta, Ca. 1-20-09
I think that I've had a long enough layoff from writing.
I've actually considered trying to pick up where I left off last. That was June 6th of '08. But I've decided that I'll just start from last week in Hawaii.
Peter has changed equipment this year. After spending 7 or 8 years with Taylor Made, he has made the switch to Callaway. It all boiled down to the driver. Peter just couldn't find a driver to fit his game but he always hit a Callaway driver well when he had an opportunity to. So the switch was made after testing equipment once the 2008 season ended.
Our first week in Hawaii last week turned out not as well as had hoped for. Not that the week was a total loss. The new clubs performed well and it all boiled down to putting. As I've always said, Peter scores well when he putts good. Obviously, every player can say the same but as well as Peter hits it, he could give himself a lot more opportunities if he putted good, more consistently. But some good things happened and Peter and I are both very excited with the Callaway gear.
How about Tadd Fujikawa last week in Hawaii? I worked for Tadd a bit back in late '07. I was really impressed with what I saw from him, even though he stands just 5'1" and was only 16 years old at the time. He turned 18 on January 8th but still stands the same 5'1"! Seeing as though he was a huge crowd favorite in his home-state of Hawaii, it was very surprising to see that the title sponsor, Sony, opted to not give him a exemption for last week's event. He had to do it the old fashioned way. He earned a spot in the Monday qualifier. Close to 100 pros played in a one-day event, with only 4 spots available to play in that week's event.
Tadd played well enough to make the cut and had himself a great 3rd round. He shot a 62 and moved himself into contention for the tournament. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep it going and had a pretty tough Sunday. It 's all part of the learning experience for Tadd. I truly feel as though he'll make it out on tour some day. He still has a lot of experience to gain but I feel that he's a player who'll be out in tour within 3 or 4 years.
This week the tour is in La Quinta, California for the Bob Hope Classic which is hosted by Arnold Palmer this year. I saw Arnie playing a practice round yesterday. It's always awesome to see him around. The King. Somewhat of a different format this week. We play four rounds at a different course each round. In each group there are 2 pros and two amateurs. The pros play with amateurs for the first four rounds, Wednesday though Saturday. There is then a cut after Saturday's round. Sunday's round is played by only the pros. It's not the ideal format for some pros, who chose to take this week off.
We had good practice sessions this week, We played two course Monday, the Nicklaus Private course and the Palmer Private course. Our other two rounds, which we played today, were played at Bermuda Dunes and Silver Rock. Sunday's 5th round in played back at the Palmer Private course, which is the host course.
Had an interesting experience today. Peter and I played an early morning round at Silver Rock and then went back to the host course for a practice session before we went to play Bermuda Dunes. The caddy parking lot is across the street from the golf course. There is a shuttle available to bring people over to the course once we've parked. After I parked, a guy came and sat beside me and we had a chat about cars. It turns out that he wasn't from the US and said that he goes back to his house in Toronto for the summer. I told him that I was also from Canada but am from Montreal. The conversation soon turned into some hockey talk.
He asked me if I was a Habs fan but I was more that happy to tell him that I'm a Philadelphia Flyers' fan. I also told him that I happened to pull for the Chicago Blackhawks back when it was the Original 6. He looks at me and says, "I used to play for the Blackhawks." I took a good look at him and he sure looked familiar. Certainly older but familiar. I say, " Jim Pappin, number 8." Sure enough. He said that he used to also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He point over to the license plate on his car. It reads "67LEAFS". The last year that Toronto won the Stanley Cup. He was a really nice guy. He asked me why I wasn't a Habs' fan seeing as though I was from Montreal. I told him it was a long story but it had everything to do with my Dad and the Montreal Maroons. Long story.
That's going to be it for now. It was fun to write again and I'll try to do my best to keep it regular. Enjoy the golf this week.
Past Articles? Click here