For caddies, Masters traditions are unlike any other

Si Woo Kim’s caddie Brian Vranesh catches a ball on the second green during the final round of 2021 The Masters golf tournament. Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

There are so many amazing aspects and traditions of Masters week. For players, caddies, and golf fans alike, this week is special and elicits so many emotions. 

For veteran looper Bobby Brown, who has caddied in 10 Masters, the week at Augusta starts with a simple but critical tradition.

“I try to be the first one in the Fresh Market across the street before everything sells out,” Brown laughs. “It’s a long week, so you’ve got to be ready for it with groceries for the next eight days.”

Once he makes it to the course and tastes his favorite Masters sandwich (egg salad), Brown kicks into superstition gear for Thursday’s first round with his food choices.

“Egg salad is my go-to, and if my guy has played good on Thursday I will not change that sandwich for Friday,” Brown says. “I will eat the exact same sandwich. And if he doesn’t have a good day, I’ll shake it up a little bit.”

Gotta love the dedication from the veteran looper. 

RELATED: ‘Under the Strap’ Podcast: Masters preview with caddie Brennan Little 

Brown also has two young boys at home in Charleston, SC, and he always wants to leave a Masters giving them a taste of the place.

“A tradition for me on Sunday when I drive two hours home to Charleston is I will load up a big bag of ice with pimento cheese, egg salad sandwiches for my wife and boys,” Brown says. “My 5- and 8-year olds love the Masters potato chips, too. So I’ll get them a few bags. Little things like a Masters bottle of water I’ll put in the fridge the week after the tournament. My kids love it because it’s all Masters stuff and I also love bringing home pencils and scorecards.”

Why not share this career experience with your family? 

Brown also shares that Augusta, understandably, is a tough walk, so the sandwiches come in handy on the course.

Veteran looper Kip Henley says particularly holes 8 and 18, going steeply uphill, is a time when, as a caddie, you almost need to catch your breath. It’s no picnic.

But a full-on tradition each year for him when on the course, without a doubt, is pausing in the fairway on 11 and looking down the hill to Amen Corner.

“It never gets old,” Henley said. “I just love that view. It’s just amazing.”

That’s one of those it-just-got-real moments. And that’s true if you’re walking there as a patron, as well. It’s a view that stops you in your tracks and makes you count your blessings.

Of course, Henley also loves to visit the famous Hooters on Washington Road and the TBonz Steakhouse. It’s one of those “when in Rome” situations.

One of the other traditions of Augusta week that Henley loves is the hospitality he and other caddies find at the caddie house near the practice facility.

“Open menu in the caddie house,” Henley says with a grin. “You can order anything you want from chicken strips to steak sandwiches. They’ll cook whatever you want. When you finish late, you take the caddie bib off and, if you’re fat, you’ll need help because it will stick to you. But they’ll be standing there with a cold beer waiting for you.”

For Paul Tesori, the caddie house is a favorite spot that serves as a simple reminder of how lucky you as a looper are to be there each year.

“When you first walk in, it’s the only week of the year where you truly get treated like kings. We’ve got the same guys that take care of us every year and they ask me how I’m doing and say ‘we’ve got you in the same locker for the last 20 years, we’re not going to move you. We have everything you need. We remember that you’re a size 44 long, we have your bib for you. Have a great week and let us know if you need anything.’ It’s kind of that area where you tell yourself, ‘this feels different.’ Sure enough it does.”

The other aspect of the caddie house, like any great place of hospitality, is that it encourages its visitors to stay a while. And the caddies do. Some come very early to compare notes and swap war stories — good and bad — with the boys.

“It’s one of those rare areas in life where you can kind of sit back and share some of your horrors stories and listen to some from others and then watch a few of them,” Tesori said. “And it’s another place where you get to watch a lot of the early coverage when they have it on TV. If I’m not teeing off until 2, I’ll get to the course by 9 a.m. And you’re filling out pin sheets, you’re watching what guys are doing out there. You’re still kind of focused on what’s at hand instead of doing it by yourself, trying to watch it on your computer. You’re actually hanging around with the other caddies doing your early prep together.”

What a special week, indeed.

COMMENTS

  1. loved the article. caddies make the game a better one. be sure when you’re out as players
    and have the chance to use a caddie they will almost always bring some extra enjoyment.
    two sheets for the caddies. a sheet in caddie lingo is a hundred for the uninitiated.

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