Jerry Foltz, Kip Henley, Benji Thompson share hilarious caddie stories
There’s nothing like a great caddie story.
On this week’s ‘Under the Strap’ podcast, we were treated to MANY of those, courtesy of our guests Jerry Foltz, a former Tour player and current on-course reporter for Golf Channel, along with caddies Kip Henley (Stewart Cink) and Benji Thompson (Lexi Thompson).
Let’s start out with Foltz, who had a few beauties.
They all involve Foltz’s former caddie when he was playing on what is now known as the Korn Ferry Tour in the 1990s, Bill Doctor.
“Bill was a big… pretty much homeless guy,” Foltz explained. “He was a Native American guy and he had a lot of complexion issues as a kid. I’m painting the picture for you here. He was a U.S. Army veteran, but he could never get into the VA… He happened to have this hernia that stuck out of his stomach about 8 inches. And he drank a lot. He drank a whole lot. We were playing down in Louisiana one time and we were on about the eighth or ninth hole of the morning round on Thursday. He’s walking down the fairway sipping something out of my headcover. He’s got my headcover, holding it up to his mouth. And he’s got a tall boy Icehouse in there.
“I said, ‘Bill. You cannot drink when I’m playing.’”
“And without even looking up he said, ‘Foltzy, you start playing and I’ll stop drinking.’ Honest to God, that’s a true story.”
NEW: @JerryFoltzGC had us in stitches with stories like this on the latest ‘Under the Strap’ podcast. @KipHenley & Benji Thompson has some great stories too! Listen to the full pod here: https://t.co/vc5wwBIXib pic.twitter.com/i4EuDDnpqX
— Caddie Network (@CaddieNetwork) July 20, 2020
An absolute classic.
But that wasn’t it from Foltz.
“We were playing in a pro-am,” Foltz said. “I forget where it was. We were playing with the title sponsor. I got to play with a lot of the title sponsors because I didn’t take it as serious as a lot of the other guys. I liked to have fun on the course. Sometimes that’s what the organizers wanted for their title sponsors.
“We’re playing at with the title sponsor at some event. His name was Herb Schilling and he owned a beer distributor. They put us off in the last group on Wednesday in the pro-am. Bill Doctor was caddying for me. Best caddie I ever had, by the way, Bill Doctor. Best caddie I ever had.
“Herb told us on the first hole, ‘get some beer out of my cart.’ I said, ‘I can’t drink while I’m playing.’ And Herb’s like, ‘Where’s your cart?’ He said, ‘I’m the title sponsor for this event. If I say you can drink, you can drink.’
“So, I’m out there playing the pro-am, drinking beer. Bill Doctor’s drinking beer. The one guy in our group that’s so bad, on about the fourth hole he goes, ‘Can I get a few tips from you?’ He was talking to Bill. He goes, ‘All I really want to do is help this team anyway I can.’
“Bill pulls him aside and he said, ‘Do you really want to help the team? The best thing you can do to help this team is get in that cart and go refill that cooler.’”
Finally, there was the time Doctor needed some scratch from his boss. This is how it went down.
“Here’s my last Bill Doctor story,” Foltz said. “He’s kinda becoming a legend here, isn’t he? He was caddying out in Phoenix in the offseason to make some money. I lived in Phoenix at the time with my then-wife. He called me one day from a pay phone and said, ‘Hey, Foltzy. I’m here in Phoenix and I’m out of money. Can you loan me $200.’
“I said, ‘Yeah, but you’re like an hour from me and I can’t get up there right now.’ We had just had a newborn kid. So, he took a bus down to my side of town and I met him at a sports bar and gave him $200, bought him a lunch, bought him a few beers.
“I get a call at 10 a.m. the next morning. He goes, ‘Hey, Foltzy. Can you spare a little more?’
“I go, ‘What do you mean?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I spent all that.’
“I go, ‘Where do I bring it?’ He goes, ‘Right where you left me.’”
Henley and Thompson – two great buddies – had stories, too.
Henley briefly caddied for Vijay Singh in 2017. His first start with the three-time major winner and former world No. 1? The Masters, Henley told us.
Sounds awesome, right? It was, but Henley was in a bit of a jam with accommodations. If you hadn’t heard, hotels are tough to come by at the last minute in Augusta the week of the Masters. That’s where his buddy Thompson – nicknamed “Banjo” – stepped up to the plate as an Augusta resident.
“Vijay invites me to come work for him and that’s kinda well-documented,” Henley said. “It didn’t last very long. But I started at Augusta with Vijay. My first tournament ever with Vijay is Augusta. Brian Gay, at the time, was hurt, so I signed on with Vijay. That was like five days or 10 days before Augusta. I’m hung out to dry; I’ve got no place to stay. So, I contact old Banjo and he says, ‘You’re staying with us! It’s not even up for discussion.’
“So, I stay with Banjo and his buddies and his beautiful wife. And I mean, what a fabulous week for Banjo to just throw me the bone like he’s always done. He’s always thrown me so many bones. He’s such a good buddy.
“So, I stay for free at Augusta and caddie for Vijay. The next week, we’re at Hilton Head. And I’m starting to be buddies with Vijay. But Vijay don’t like people talking to him. He’s standoffish. He wants the last spot on the range. He’ll push rookies to the side. He kinda likes to intimidate people.
“So, I’m sitting down there with Vijay. Can’t laugh. Can’t talk. Can’t do anything with my buddies.”
And that’s where Thompson comes into the picture. Thompson currently caddies for Lexi Thompson (no relation) on the LPGA but does make appearances caddying on the PGA Tour on occasion.
Thompson was at Hilton Head with Ben Martin. After the first round that Thursday, they went to the range.
“There’s two people on the range after the round,” Henley explained. “Me and Vijay are way down there. I’m sitting there watching Vijay and trying to pay attention, which I’m not good at, but I’m paying as much attention as I can. I’m dying to talk to somebody. I look down and here comes Banjo walking by and I think, ‘Oh. This ain’t gonna be good.’”
Thompson took the story from there.
“I had a lob wedge and I was going to clean it in the bucket,” Thompson said. “But Vijay, I’m telling y’all, Vijay had a water bottle set up directly in front of where he was hitting these golf balls. He is hitting like rocket 5 irons. The ball’s not hitting the water bottles, the club’s not hitting the water bottle and he’s just hitting these lasers pelting this water bottle with dirt. And I’m like, ‘How in the hell is this dude hitting the ball and not hitting the water bottle. So, I walk down there, and Kip goes, ‘What’s up, Banjo?’
“I said, ‘Hey, Kip. I just had to come down here and see how in the world your man is not hitting that water bottle.’ That’s all I said. Then… what did he say, Kip?”
“Vijay leans on his club, turns around, looks at Banjo and goes, ‘Why don’t you just go on down there to your man, bro?’ And Banjo tucks his tail between his legs and starts walking back,” Henley said. “I said, ‘Vijay! That’s my buddy Banjo! I stayed with him last week!’ He just ripped Banjo a new one.”
That may have softened Singh up a little bit.
“Then he was as nice as could be talking to me about Augusta and all that, so it was great,” Thompson recalled. “He actually said, like Kip said, he looked at me and goes from hitting balls to directly looking at me and goes, ‘Who’s your man, bro?’
“I said, ‘I’m Ben Martin’s caddie.’ He said, ‘Why don’t you go back down there to your man?’”
“He cut Banjo right off at the knees like he does to everybody,” Henley laughed.
You can listen to the complete podcast with Jerry Foltz, Kip Henley and Benji Thompson in the player at the top of the page, or find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher by searching “Caddie Network.”