Pro Taps Writer For Caddie Duty

The unremitting rain that has pounded much of the Midwest and has moved towards the Eastern seaboard over the weekend has resulted in at least one good story.

Jason Sobel, a longtime ESPN.com and GolfChannel.com golf writer who now plies his trade for The Action Network, will get his first crack at stepping inside the ropes to be a part of the action as opposed to simply chronicling it. 

How did it happen? Sobel wrote about the serendipitous run-in with his future, one-day-only boss Brendan Steele. 

On Saturday afternoon, as the final groups were finishing their third rounds, I wandered over to the scoring area at Aronimink Golf Club. That’s where players sign their cards before getting bothered by guys like me asking them questions about how they played.

I ran into Brendan Steele, who asked for some college football updates. But before I could even check my phone, his attention had turned to his trusty caddie, Christian Donald.

“No, you don’t have to stick around,” Steele told him. “I’ll just find someone to carry the bag that day …”

They had already correctly assumed that Sunday would be washed out due to heavy rain.

Donald had an early Monday flight and with Steele near the bottom of the leaderboard and unable to advance to next week’s Tour Championship, this will be his final round of the season.

He figured it was pointless to have his caddie rebook a flight and change his plans for one last day.

The next words I heard were these, also from Steele: “What time do you fly out Monday?”

He was talking to me.

“Well, um, I’d planned to play golf with some buddies that day, so I didn’t book a flight home until 7 p.m.”

He gestured toward his oversized red golf bag and replied, “It’s yours if you want it.”

With play set to resume on Monday morning, Sobel and Steele will be paired up with Brian Harman and Phil Mickelson — not exactly the nondescript group a rookie looper would be hoping for.

“Now I’m terrified,” Sobel wrote.

There is a silver lining, however. This is a one-day-only job. If half of the field doesn’t get their final round in on Monday, per PGA Tour rules, there will be no Tuesday round and the tournament will be shortened to 54 holes. 

And Sobel doesn’t have to worry about being the best or worst caddie, either, because regardless of the outcome of Steele’s round, he’s fired by Monday night.

“It doesn’t matter if Steele eagles every hole and breaks the single-round scoring record by a half-dozen strokes, as soon as we walk off that final green, I’m fired,” Sobel wrote. “There’s a certain freedom in knowing that I can have either three screwups or 300 screwups — and yes, I’m assuming there will be screwups — and it won’t change my job prospects.

“But I’m still terrified.”

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