18 incredible caddie mementos, souvenirs and more
If you’ve ever gone to a golf tournament as a fan, it’s pretty standard to swing by the merchandise area to pick up a sweet, new lid, shirt, or bag tag (also known as “brag tags” to let your future golf partners know that you were, in fact, in attendance at a particular event).
Those things make for great souvenirs and – if you’re lucky enough to have attended a major – they can make for great conversation pieces.
Caddies collect mementos, too. However, theirs are far cooler than anything you or me could bring home from a tournament. In most cases, the stuff the caddies haul isn’t for sale. Instead, it’s extra personal and usually one of a kind.
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In recent months, we’ve been asking caddies to share with us photos of their favorite mementos. In a lot of cases, the stuff you’re about to see could seriously be a part of a caddie wing in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Here’s a list of 18 of the most incredible/rare caddie mementos and souvenirs (in no particular order) that loopers shared with The Caddie Network…
1. Steve Hulka’s yardage books and notes
Hulka, a caddie on the PGA Tour since the 1970s, showed off the “the early days of yardage gathering.” Scorecards and pencils without erasers. Here are some of Gorjus’ (yardologist, George Lucas, that is) first editions.
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Check this out… longtime caddie Steve Hulka gave us a peek at “the early days of yardage gathering.” Scorecards and pencils without erasers. Up top, some of Gorjus’ (yardologist, George Lucas, that is) first editions. Hulka said it sometimes went like this when acquiring those invaluable yardage books, “Gimme a book, damnit, I’ll pay you later.”
Also, here’s a peek at Hulka’s detailed notes – in perfect penmanship – from Hall of Famer David Graham’s sensational 1976 season.
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In 1976 — long before the advent of Shotlink — caddie Steve Hulka was a human Shotlink. After all these years, check out the detailed notes he kept of his player, World Golf Hall of Famer David Graham, from three tournaments — two of which Graham won that year (Westchester and American Golf Classic). Wow.
2. John Wood’s yardage-book collection
Wood, current bagman for Matt Kuchar, sent in this amazing collection of the yardage books he’s collected in his 23 years as a PGA Tour caddie. Look closely at the bottom and you can even see the leather, yardage-book covers from Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups reserved for team members and caddies.
3. Basile Dalberto’s Open Championship yardage-book covers
Dalberto sent in these photos of the yardage-book covers supplied to caddies during the Open Championship. Of particular note: the back side of the cover features the name of the venue, along with a list of the champions in the years the Open was held there.
4. Mike Darby’s caddie bib and pin flag from the 2019 Barbasol Championship
Just about every caddie will tell you: the only souvenir they want to take home from a tournament is the 18th hole pin flag. That’s the prize the winning caddie earns. Here, Darby sent us a photo featuring both his caddie bib and the 18th hole pin flag from the 2019 Barbasol Championship won by Jim Herman with Darby on the bag.
5. Hunter Mahan’s FootJoy Classics from the 2007 Presidents Cup
The 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal was Hunter Mahan’s first taste of international team competition. For the occasion, he was hooked up with some sweet kicks from FootJoy. After the tournament, Mahan gifted the shoes to then-caddie John Wood, who had each member of the team (including Tiger Woods and captain Jack Nicklaus) sign them. You want to talk about a conversation piece? Just put those bad boys out on the coffee table for when you have company over.
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We’re asking caddies to share with us some of their favorite golf mementos. First up, this from John Wood: “One of if not my favorite piece of memorabilia I’ve collected over the years. Hunter Mahan wore these Footjoys for his first team event, the 2007 Presidents Cup in Montreal. Had the entire team (including Captain Nicklaus) sign them.”
6. Brennan Little’s Masters memories
Back in June 2019, Gary Woodland won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach with Brennan Little on the bag. While it was a tremendous moment for Little, it wasn’t the caddie’s first time being a part of a major win. Back in 2003, he was on the bag for fellow Canadian Mike Weir when Weir won the Masters.
Little has a beautiful piece featuring the 18th hole pin flag from that Masters with a special note from Weir, along with pieces of his caddie bib and a photo of the player and caddie walking across the famous Hogan Bridge.
7. John Wood’s caddie bibs from Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups
As you can already tell, Wood has A LOT of great stuff he’s collected over the years. Funny enough, he told us in a recent text that there isn’t a single golf item in his home. We had to send him digging to find all this cool stuff to share.
He even set up a makeshift clothesline in his living room to display these caddie bibs from all the Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups he’s been lucky enough to loop in. He’ll be adding another once later this year when he caddies for Kuchar in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia.
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John Wood coming through again with some incredible caddie mementos. Here are his caddie bibs from Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, as well as caddie money clips. “Almost that time again for another team event. Presidents Cup 2019 in Melbourne will be here sooner than you know. I live for these things!” 😮
8. Signed pin flags from each major of the Tiger Slam
When Tiger Woods won the 2001 Masters, he achieved something that had never been achieved before – he won all four modern-day major championships in succession. But, since he didn’t win them all in a single calendar year, instead of calling it a “grand slam” it was known as the “Tiger Slam.” He won the first three legs (U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship) in 2000 and then made it four in a row at Augusta National in 2001.
The significance wasn’t lost on Brennan Little. He picked up a pin flag in the merchandise area at each of those majors and had Tiger sign each one of them. Now there’s a piece that could earn a pretty penny somewhere.
9. Mike “Sponge” Waite’s caddie bib, pin flag and photos from the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2
Remember when New Zealand’s Michael Campbell shocked the world with his incredible victory in the 2005 U.S. Open at famed Pinehurst No. 2? It’s certainly a tournament his caddie that week – Mike “Sponge” Waite – will never forget.
Check out the framed mementos Sponge put together from that week. The bib features a note from Campbell that reads: “To Sponge — you made this win possible.”
Sponge also noted to us the significance of the pin flag, featuring Payne Stewart, who died in a tragic plane accident just months after his U.S. Open win at Pinehurst in 1999.
“The 18th hole flag is very special,” Sponge said. “It was only used on the last day as a tribute to Payne Stewart.”
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The incredible caddie memorabilia keeps coming. These two pieces were sent in by Mike “Sponge” Waite, who was on the bag when Michael Campbell won the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. First, the winning pin flag, caddie bib and photos from that Open along with a note from Campbell that pays his caddie the ultimate compliment: “To Sponge — you made this win possible.” Sponge told us: “The 18th hole flag is very special. It was only used on the last day as a tribute to Payne Stewart.” Also, the caddie bib and pin flag from that year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf, signed by all four competitors — Campbell, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. Wow.
In the second slide, you can see the caddie bib and pin flag from that year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf, signed by all four competitors — Campbell, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.
10. Sponge’s caddie badges from the Masters
Sponge has looped in his fair share of Masters Tournaments. To commemorate those extra special weeks, he had the caddie badges put into a frame along with some of his favorite caddie images at Augusta National.
11. Kenny Harms shares his winning pin flags
As noted earlier, the one memento a caddie wants to take home each week is the 18th hole pin flag, indicating they worked for a winner that week.
Kenny Harms, current caddie for Kevin Na, has enjoyed a career loaded with successes. Here’s a photo he sent in of all his winning pin flags through the years with the likes of Na, Hubert Green, Hale Irwin and many more.
12. Kenny Harms’ Masters pin flags signed by Masters champions
Harms also has an amazing collection of Masters pin flags signed by Masters champions only. Here’s a look at a couple of them.
13. Sponge’s golf bag barstools
As if the special mementos weren’t enough, Sponge takes them a step further. He takes Tour-player staff bags and turns them into barstools. He’s made them for several players through the years.
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Caddie Mike “Sponge” Waite can take special mementos and make them even more special. Check out this replica Tiger Woods bag from the 2004 Ryder Cup that Sponge had signed by Tiger and then turned into a barstool, along with the bag Danny Willett used to win the 2016 Masters that Sponge converted into a high-top table that Willett has in his home in England. In the second slide, Joost Luiten sits on his barstool crafted by Sponge made out of the bag Luiten used while representing Netherlands in the 2016 Olympics.
14. Scott Sajtinac’s 18th hole pin flag from Stuart Appleby’s closing 59 to win at Greenbrier in 2010
When Stuart Appleby fired a 59 in the final round of the 2010 Greenbrier Classic to win the tournament, he had fellow Aussie Scott Sajtinac on the bag. Can you think of a more special way to win a tournament?
Naturally, Sajtinac took home the pin flag, but note before Appleby left him a special note with that fantastic Aussie humor…
“I’ve never been much of an autograph guy or memorabilia guy. Didn’t even get it framed. I keep it rolled up in an old shoe box with some old, now defunct Indian rupees, and a small collection of very unrare stamps. But here’s the Greenbrier flag from the 18th green.
“It says… ‘Thanks Scotty for such a great day, a day for the history books for sure. I’m sure we will never forget what a special moment it was.’ I asked him to finish it off with… ‘PS I couldn’t have done it without you.’ Instead he wrote… ‘PS I could have done without you, so consider yourself lucky.’”
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With A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier kicking off the 2019-20 PGA Tour season this week, it felt fitting to share this memento from caddie Scott Sajtinac. Scott caddied for Stuart Appleby at Greenbrier in 2010 when he fired a final-round 59 to win the tournament. From Scott: Here’s a photo of the 59 flag. I’ve never been much of an autograph guy or memorabilia guy. Didn’t even get it framed. I keep it rolled up in an old shoe box with some old, now defunct Indian rupees, and a small collection of very unrare stamps. But here’s the Greenbrier flag from the 18th green. It says… “Thanks Scotty for such a great day, a day for the history books for sure. I’m sure we will never forget what a special moment it was.” I asked him to finish it off with… “PS I couldn’t have done it without you.” Instead he wrote… “PS I could have done without you, so consider yourself lucky.” 😂😂
15. Caddie Brian Vranesh’s golf ball from Kevin Chappell’s 59 at Greenbrier
In the opening event of the 2019-20 season – A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier – Kevin Chappell posted an 11-under 59 in the second round. It was the 11th sub-60 round in Tour history and the second (behind Appleby’s in 2010) at The Greenbrier.
Afterwards, Chappell signed and gave one of the golf balls used to caddie Brian Vranesh.
16. Paul Tesori’s Ryder Cup money clip
When you’re part of a team, you haul in some pretty cool stuff. Check out caddie Paul Tesori’s (Webb Simpson) money clip from the 2012 Ryder Cup.
17. Aaron Flener and Matt Erwin’s Hawaii Missile Threat t-shirt
Remember the missile threat in Hawaii during the 2018 Sony Open? Yeah, well, that wasn’t funny at all. Thankfully, it turned out to be a false alarm… but the people in Oahu didn’t know that part for almost an hour.
Caddies who were there shared their stories with us and the range of emotions ran the gamut.
Aaron Flener, who currently caddies for J.T. Poston, is a master at finding humor in just about anything. Once he realized the whole deal was nothing more than a horrifying false alarm, he decided t-shirts needed to be made.
While this memento might not be as “priceless” as the others, it’s still one that not a lot of people can say they have!
Here’s what Flener told us:
After about 30 minutes or so, they came back and officially said it was a false alarm, so we got up and walked out to breakfast. When our waitress came over, I congratulated her on surviving the missile threat and she laughed. And that’s when my wheels got turning.
I said to Matt, “We gotta make a t-shirt.”
And what I meant by that was, “YOU’VE gotta make us t-shirts.”
My guy had made the cut so I had to go to the course and work, but Matt had the whole day free. So, we mapped out what we wanted it to say. This was the result:
18. Geno Bonnalie’s Guinness World Records certificates
You know Geno Bonnalie as the caddie for Joel Dahmen. But did you also know that Bonnalie is a holder of multiple Guinness Records in golf? You can read his full story where he explains here, but check out the certificates…
Great to know the caddie pride ..and importance of future memories through keeping alive the joy they experience in their daily walks.. Life is short..our Joys
Sustain us as we age…
What a magnificent collection of caddy memorabilia! I especially enjoyed the yardage books. At the risk of being a boring old geezer, I’d like to relate a yardage book tale from WAY back…
I had the good fortune to caddy in the 1964, 1965 and 1966 American Golf Classics at Firestone C.C. in Akron Ohio. This was back in the day when tour players were not allowed to bring their own caddies to a tournament. It provided a wonderful opportunity for caddies from the local country clubs to make a few bucks and experience being “inside the ropes”.
In those days Firestone had only 18 holes and the course was closed for maintenance and grooming for two weeks prior to the tournament. Four of my fellow loopers and I who had been selected to caddy in the tournament had finished playing our “home” course on the Monday (when the caddies were allowed to play)) two weeks prior to the tournament. None of us knew anything about Firestone and we decided to drive there and check it out. Somebody said that it would probably be a good idea to take some notes so we stopped by a drug store and bought a small spiral notebook and a pen.
Somebody else heard that the course was “roped off” but we could walk outside the ropes and see what we could see. We knew about pacing off yardages from our club experience but we thought there had to be an better way. As we stopped at a red light I noticed a clothes line between two poles in a nearby back yard. I figured that if we could “measure” each hole in terms of clothes line lengths plus pacing off the rest we could compile a semblance of a “yardage book”. We “borrowed” the clothes line from the backyard and proceeded on our mission.
We met one of the greens keeper staff and explained what we wanted to do. “Just don’t go inside the ropes” he said. After a good couple of hours of teamwork we had compiled quite a bit of data (For example: “No.1-From the front of the first right hand bunker to the front of the green is four clothes line lengths plus 15 paces.”) . I took the notebook home and “decoded” the distances in yards onto a couple sheets of paper. Each of my friends got a copy which was employed when we got inside the ropes for the practice rounds and subsequent tournament. The accuracy was anybody’s guess but that was all we had!
Each day we also got to course shortly after sunrise to check out the pin placements (again from outside the ropes). As the tournament staff cut the holes for the day we made notations and the best we could tell our players was “right front”, “back left”, etc.
A few years later word was that Angelo Argea, Jack Nicklaus’ caddy for many years had compiled data for many courses on the tour. A sad footnote is that Angelo passed away in 2005 in Canton, Ohio, my hometown about 15 miles from Firestone. RIP Angelo!