And they’re off!
No, really, they’re off. In “you’re gonna poke someone’s eye out” motherly fashion, the PGA Tour has banned the caddy races.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open has been donned “The Greatest Show on Grass.” The climax of the show occurs at the par-3 No. 16, which resembles more of a fraternity tailgate party than a golf event. It’s standing room only with 20,000-plus sports fans packed into stadium seating and skyboxes surrounding the 162-yard hole. They spend the day drinking beers, making bets and cheering on the competitors.
In recent years, fans began gambling on which players’ caddy will reach the putting surface first. This led to caddies, lugging 45-plus pound golf bags, running from the elevated teeing area through grass and desert sand to the green trying to beat their fellow loopers. It was a scene unlike any other.
In a game built upon reverence and respect, it’s fun to see grown men acting like kids. However, the adolescent behavior from the spectators, players and caddies caused an unsettled feeling in the not-so-pleased, over-protective parents.
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A caddy, who was in the lead in one of the 2013 races, tripped over a grass hill and took a tumble. The golf bag and clubs flipped over his body, and the two other caddies sprinted past him. Rowdy fans cheered and jeered as the caddy somersaulted.
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The PGA Tour, however, apparently wasn’t amused and has prohibited the contest.
The tournament host itself showed nothing but support for the comical tradition. It even developed an app where the fans can guess which caddy would prevail in each group. The fan with the most correct guesses would earn tickets to the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The caddy races have been outlawed, but you can bet the 20,000 inebriated fans will come up with another juvenile game to gamble on.