President of PGA Tour Champions, Miller Brady, explains what it was like to pinch-caddie for Tom Watson in Japan

Tom Watson, Miller Brady
When Tom Watson was in need of a last-minute caddie in Japan on Saturday, Miller Brady — President of the PGA Tour Champions — was up to the task. Photo: PGA Tour Entertainment

Miller Brady is a 20-year PGA Tour employee, who currently serves as President of the PGA Tour Champions.

But in the Tour’s Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters this week, he’s being referred to as, “the caddie,” or, “new caddie.”

And there’s a good reason why.

RELATED: 10 reasons why you should absolutely take a caddie

Last week, Brady was in Japan to oversee the Tour stop at Narita-shi. Over by the first tee for the second round on Saturday, about 15 minutes before Tom Watson was about to tee off, a rules official asked Brady: “Have you seen Tom Watson’s caddie?”

He hadn’t.

So, Brady and the official approached Watson on the practice green and asked, “have you seen your caddie?”

Watson hadn’t.

“For whatever reason, the caddie – not a local, but someone who flew over to specifically caddie for Tom – just wasn’t there,” Brady told The Caddie Network. “So, I said, ‘well, Tom, I’m happy to caddie for you today if you’d like.’ He said, ‘that’d be great.’ It all happened quickly.”

Brady was grateful that it happened so quickly. It didn’t give him time, really, to register that his first time ever caddying would be for a legend of the game, an eight-time major winner.

“I’ve known Tom for a long time with my work on the Champions Tour,” Brady said. “It was raining outside, so after I said I’d caddie for him, I quickly put on rain pants and a hat and gathered myself to help Tom, including grabbing an umbrella and a bunch of towels. Along with helping him out, I viewed this as a unique opportunity as the President of the Champions Tour to experience something I hadn’t experienced. It was a chance to walk a mile in their shoes for the day, so to speak, and maybe gain the respect of more players and caddies.”

The round was a fun, if not achy one for Brady. And when it was over, Watson carded a 1-under 71.

Not bad at all for a first-time caddie pinch-hitting at the very last minute.

Miller Brady
PGA Tour Champions President Miller Brady went beyond the call of duty, caddying for Tom Watson when he was in need last week in Japan. Photo: PGA Tour Entertainment

“I didn’t have to get any yardages,” Brady explained. “I primarily made sure he had the driver on the tee boxes, putter on the greens and that I was there for him with the bag to select his clubs. He got his own yardages. I wanted to stay out of the way… be with him but stay out of way so he could make the decisions he needed to. I’ve been around the game long enough to know where you should or shouldn’t stand, where to place the bag, be there to clean the ball and stay out of the way at the same time. I think I did a good job with that.”

He also gained a whole new respect for what caddies do on a weekly basis.

“I have more than an appreciation for what the caddies do,” he said. “There’s so much more to it than carrying a large, heavy staff bag that’s weighed down even more when you factor in the umbrella and the rain gear. It’s not easy, especially at Narita-shi. It’s a hard walk. My legs and back were sore. It was a one-strap bag, which might have been more challenging. At hole No. 8 of the day – 17 for us – I thought to myself, ‘huh, we have whole other nine to go when we get past the next hole.’ It was a long day, but a great day. It would be a great experience for anybody. It was enjoyable inside the ropes with Tom.”

Brady admitted that Watson’s Saturday pairing – with Dan Forsman and Chris DiMarco – made things easier, too.

Forsman had his son, Ricky, on the bag, while DiMarco had his wife, Amy, looping.

“It was an enjoyable day all around,” Brady said. “I think when you’re inside the ropes that close, there’s a lot more going on than what you’d expect – especially from a caddie perspective. It’s not just giving the player a club or making sure the ball is cleaned, but properly raking bunkers if you need to, or making sure you have the pin flag at the right time. The pin flag goes to the individual whose player is closest to the hole. I found that you need to be cognizant at all times. You can’t wander off. You absolutely have to be paying attention.”

Throughout the day, Brady enjoyed plenty of chatter with Watson.

The 119th U.S. Open takes place this week at Pebble Beach, where Watson famously won his only U.S. Open in 1982. Pebble Beach was a topic of conversation.

“In fact, we were flying back into San Francisco specifically so guys could go straight to Pebble, Tom being one of those guys,” Brady said. “He was going to attend I think the past champion’s dinner Tuesday night. I think he said there would be all but three living past champion’s attending. Tom was really excited about that.”

So, if the opportunity to caddie ever came up again, would Brady be up for it?

“Oh, sure,” he said said. “I love our Tour and our players. I’d be happy to help out if needed.”

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