Editor’s note: This story was originally published in April 2020. We’re revisiting it now as part of our year in review.
Mike “Fluff” Cowan, 72, has seen and been a part of a thing or two in his days as a PGA Tour caddie that date back to the 1970s.
The highlights are too long to list, but here are four that especially stand out:
- Being on the bag for Tiger Woods at the historic 1997 Masters, where Woods trounced the field by 12 shots to earn his first major.
- Caddying Jim Furyk to victory at Olympia Fields in the 2003 U.S. Open.
- Helping guide Furyk to a 12-under 59 at the 2013 BMW Championship.
- Helping guide Furyk to an 12-under 58 in the 2016 Travelers Championship to become the only player in PGA Tour history with not one, but two, sub-60 rounds.
While those highlights are truly significant, not one of them is the moment Fluff holds dearest.
Fluff, along with longtime friend and fellow Mike Hicks, recently appeared on TCN’s ‘Caddies United,’ podcast. When asked about his single favorite career highlight, Fluff acknowledged the four listed above were special to him. But none of them were the most special.
The most special, Fluff explained, came when he was working for old boss Peter Jacobsen at the 1984 Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.
“All four of them. They were all great,” Fluff said of the four we rattled off, but, “The one that actually trumps them, though, is a week that I had with Peter at the 1984 Colonial tournament in Fort Worth. He had just come from meeting and spending a lot of time with a man by the name of Chuck Hogan, who is also a sports psychologist. The Sunday night before the tournament began, we had met up at his hotel and we sat up and talked about all kinds of stuff until, I don’t know, the wee hours of the morning that Sunday night. And his father [Jacobsen’s] had just been diagnosed with throat cancer and that was a fairly emotional time. Fairly – that isn’t even giving it the right connotation, actually. But, in the course of that night – before we parted ways – Peter turned to me and said, ‘I’m dedicating this tournament to my father and I’m going to win it.’”
Reflecting back on that moment, Fluff got choked up.
“And, he did,” he continued. “We did. Shit. I’m getting emotional just talking about it. In kind of an ironic twist to that whole thing is we beat Payne in a playoff. That to me is as great – and I mean the other things mentioned are obviously awesome. Winning the U.S. Open was a great moment. Winning the Masters with Tiger and watching somebody demolish a golf course was awesome. And the fact that Jim shot those two scores, again, is just unbelievable. But from a personal point of view, that win with Peter kind of trumps them for me.”
That win, by the way, was the second of Jacobsen’s PGA Tour career. And the ironic twist Fluff alluded to in regard to beating Payne Stewart was because Stewart’s longtime caddie Mike Hicks was was also a guest on the podcast (though Hicks was not yet on the bag for Stewart at that tournament).