When Reagan Cink put on the caddie bib for his dad Stewart at the Safeway Open last fall, it would have been hard to imagine that they would go on to win what was supposed to be a one-week partnership. But Stewart got the win that week in Napa, his first since the 2009 Open Championship when he beat Tom Watson in a playoff.
Reagan Cink was 12 then and was there with his, brother, Connor and, mother, Lisa and were decidedly in the minority that day cheering for Cink over the fairytale story that was Watson at age 59.
Now that Reagan is putting on the Open Championship caddie bib for the first time and returning to an Open with his dad as a past champ, he understands that this is indeed an amazing week to soak in.
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“It’s so special to be able to go back for the Open Championship and caddie, it’s the highlight of the year,” Reagan said. “The Open is one of two big ones. This one and the Masters were the two that I was looking forward to the most. Obviously we have history at the Open. That year specifically in 2009 was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Outside of that it’s just one of mine and our family’s favorite tournaments.”
Understandably, even with your dad as a past champ, making the trip to the U.K. each year hasn’t been an every year thing, even more the reason to celebrate getting to caddie in it this year.
“We didn’t get to go every year because it’s more of a journey to get there but I’ve probably been to the Open six times in my life and it’s always different,” Reagan said. “The golf itself is different and obviously you’re in a different part of the world, so it’s always a really cool chance getting to go over there and the little bit of links golf I’ve gotten to play in my life has been some of my favorite golf, so I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time. You know especially with COVID and the challenges of it going on, it’s awesome that we actually get to go this year.”
Last year, of course, the Open Championship was cancelled due to COVID.
For Stewart, he’s very much anticipating the enjoyment Reagan will have at the Open.
“Reagan has a real affinity for golf courses and he loves design and he’s just a real student of the game,” Stewart said. “He loves links, he just loves links golf and so I was just hoping that he would be able to caddie all the way through the Open Championship, and now it’s going to happen, so we get to go there, which is great.”
For Stewart, he had a couple big tournaments he was looking forward to, especially for Reagan to work with him in.
“The Open is my favorite tournament that I’ve been planning for Reagan to caddie in,” Stewart said. “The Masters and the Open were definitely the top two.”
For Reagan, he gets to work at golf’s oldest championship with a former champ, something that figures to add to the already special experience this week.
“I’m really excited about that aspect, it’s cool to get welcomed as somebody who’s had success in tournaments,” Reagan said. “I’ve got a little exposure to that going to Hilton Head this year because he had won that before and just recently playing the Travelers Championship. People love him, and it’s really a cool thing to see.”
People also love Watson, and Reagan remembers the finish of that 2009 Open Championship with his dad going up against a literal living legend.
“I remember it was mostly just a rush of emotions, when he birdied the last hole and we went off the course, and we knew that Tom Watson needed to bogey, that’s when it was like ‘this could really happen. Dad could win this’,” Regan said. “When it turned into a playoff, I remember being equal parts giddy with excitement and shaking nervously even though at the time I was 12 years old, but I felt the emotions too. It was crazy.”
As Reagan thought about it more, it was the 2009 Open Championship that sticks in his mind more, understandably, than any other win his dad had.
“Being there and it was really one of the only tournaments that I remember being at for him winning,” Reagan said. “Most of his wins came when I was really young and a lot of times I was at home or something like that. Turnberry is the most vivid memory I have of him winning a tournament since this year (two wins as caddie). It was a lot of emotions all at the same time.”
The experience of caddying for his dad this season is something Reagan doesn’t take lightly.
“It’s been amazing. The success and moments we’ve had have been the best and the icing on the cake. In reality, it’s just so fun, even when he’s not playing his best or scoring low, just to be able to spend that time with him.”
To add to a busy July, Reagan is getting married at the end of the month.
“It’s an exciting time in my life,” Reagan said. “I get to caddie in these awesome tournaments and get to spend time with my dad and getting to marry the love of my life and we’re currently in the process of moving into a townhome in Atlanta. We have a lot going on, but it’s all stuff to be excited about, which is sweet.”
Stewart Cink thinks their partnership will last through the FedEx Cup Playoffs.