Caddies let loose at the Players Championship

Geno Bonnalie, Joel Dahmen
Things got bad quickly for Joel Dahmen’s caddie Geno Bonnalie last Wednesday, when he had to pay up on a bet that required him to eat the world’s hottest chip… before hitting his tee shot on the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass in the Caddie Competition. Credit: Skratch

The Players Championship has found a new home in the month of March this year, and players and caddies swarmed to TPC Sawgrass to take on one of the most popular golf courses in the world.

Being the only tournament entirely run by the PGA Tour, there’s always a heightened level of enjoyment and competition at The Players, often referred to as the unofficial ‘fifth major.’ Winning this tournament not only cements yourself into the history of the Tour, but also in golf lore on a grand scale.

At the beginning of the week, however, there’s definitely a party-like atmosphere as players, caddies and fans let loose a little before the pressure-packed tournament rounds.

Confidence must be at an all-time high at TPC Sawgrass, as Troy Merritt’s caddie Wayne-O “Draino” Birch explained in a video posted early in the week. Merritt is back in action after healing up from injury, and based on Birch’s summary, morale was high for the duo.

The island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most iconic in all of golf as most Players Championships are won — or lost — on this daunting tee shot. Watching anyone tee off on the hole is worth the price of admission, and an ongoing tradition during practice rounds is to watch caddies take a crack at hitting the green.

Make no mistake folks: most of these caddies are extremely talented golfers in their own right. Take Stewart Cink’s caddie Taylor Ford, for example, as he stepped up and hit the island green like it was any other hole on any other course.

Kip Henley, a favorite caddie highlight in this weekly space, also put his swing to the test on the iconic hole. It’s not often you see a textbook follow-through like this on any Tour, let alone in the midst of a Caddie Closest-To-The-Pin contest. The pureness of this action is truly breathtaking.

The toughest shot of the week may have come from caddie Geno Bonnalie who, after losing a bet to boss Joel Dahmen, had to eat an insanely spicy “Carolina Reaper Madness” corn chip before his attempt.

Here’s the video of how it all went down:

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