Greg Bodine is preparing to loop for Tony Finau in the 30-year-old’s second U.S. team appearance at next week’s Presidents Cup.
Like some of the caddies, the 31-year-old Bodine has yet to set foot on Royal Melbourne, or even the continent of Australia. But the Washington native is doing plenty of homework and getting pumped for the event.
He just finished watching the entire six-hour, final-round broadcast of the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne on YouTube.
“I watched the entire thing,” Bodine said by phone at this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “It was kind of fun to get a sneak peak of the course and it looks amazing.”
Bodine purchased a YouTube premium account, which allows him to watch just about any golf video on his tablet.
“I’m a golf nerd, so I’m always downloading and watching old re-runs of tournaments whether it’s John Daly winning at Torrey Pines (2004) or Tiger Woods winning the Tour Championship in 2018,” Bodine said.
And Bodine’s addiction to big golf moments doesn’t just end with current events and players.
“I’ll even record stuff even from the 1970s and 80s and watch it,” he said. “Once Tony got the (captain’s pick in November) I went on YouTube and downloaded a ton of Presidents Cup content.”
He watched much of Woods’ 4&3 win against Aaron Baddeley when he clinched the Cup for the U.S. for the second straight time.
“It’s crazy to think that he was actually a controversial captain’s pick that year,” Bodine said of Woods. “Until he can’t walk he should never have controversy surrounding him being picked.”
Though Bodine appreciates watching the matches from 2011, he understands there’s only so much he can glean about the course.
“I don’t think I’ll get a whole lot from watching the broadcast from the caddying standpoint, but I know the first hole is a short dogleg left par 4 and the green runs away from you,” he said. “So, I won’t be surprised when I step on the first tee. I’ve kind of got these holes pictured in my mind so it kind of takes that surprise out when I step up on every tee box.”
Ultimately, there’s one goal in Bodine’s mind for this upcoming Presidents Cup: “I’d like to win, the first thing that comes to my mind is winning,” Bodine said.
The seven-year Tour looper looks at Woods’ four captains picks, which include Finau, as a decision that puts the U.S. squad in the best position to win.
“I know that he picked Tony, and he’s not doing any favors out here,” Bodine said. “This is the big leagues. He’s making his picks based on who he thinks he’s got the best chance to win with.”
The day U.S. captain Woods made his picks, Bodine’s phone got plenty of texts from his golf-centric family that include his cousins, touring pros Andrew and Michael Putnam.
“It’s cool to see those texts,” Bodine said. “My family is just crazy about golf, especially the Putnam side.”
And it’s not just his family who are talking Presidents Cup with Bodine these days, even his next door neighbors are discussing his upcoming Australia trip with him, even when he’s taking the trash out.
“We love to talk about golf and they always mention how they’re going to watch the Presidents Cup,” Bodine said. “One of them reminded me that because it’s 19 hours difference (between Pacific Time and Melbourne), it’ll be coming on early afternoon on the west coast so they’ll be able to watch it all.”
Bodine’s wife, Kelsey, and two sons Brooks (2 1/2) and Parker (7 months) will also be watching from home. Though Kelsey thought of going to Australia, she didn’t want to be gone from the kids for almost two weeks with both the Hero (she arrived Tuesday) and Presidents Cup.
“I’ll be solo which, I would never trade a week without them for a week with them but at the same time it’s just going to be easier that way,” Bodine said.
Being a dad to two boys is something the Kirkland, Wash., resident loves every minute of. He’s even brought Brooks to 20 tournaments so far and has some golf plans for him in the near future.
“I love it, they’re great kids, and (Brooks) loves golf, too,” Bodine said. “He’ll hit the range and course this next summer.”
As his boys get older, Bodine wants to have plenty of mementos to show them dad’s work, especially from the twilight of Tiger’s amazing career.
This two-week trip to the Hero and Presidents Cup fit perfectly into this endeavor because he brought two blown-up photos that include Tiger and Bodine from the 18th at Augusta during Tiger’s win.
“I don’t think I’ve asked any other player for autographs, but my goal at the end of these two weeks is to get those two pictures signed and a Masters flag signed,” Bodine said.
“I definitely want to save up a few pictures and make sure I remember some of these moments so I can share them with Brooks and Parker (when they’re older) and myself too and try to remember what happened during this whirlwind time of life.”
It’s been whirlwind indeed to get to this point. Bodine began his caddying career on the Korn Ferry Tour starting in 2013 and stayed for about a year and a half.
In 2014, he Twitter messaged Finau to see if he wanted a looper for his 2014-15 rookie season.
Could Bodine have imagined then that they’d be about to embark on their second U.S. team appearance barely five years later?
“It’s something that I think about often and try to never lose sight of it,” Bodine said. “It’s crazy to imagine, but it definitely seems real (now)… it’s crazy how it’s all worked out for sure.”
Now that we’re here, the biggest goal for next week’s Presidents Cup is delivering a U.S. win.
“I’ve thought, ‘man, I want to see what it’s like to be in the winning team room and close out on Sunday at whatever point,’” Bodine said. “Hopefully it’s early as possible, but they’ve got such a good team… that’s the first thing.”
It’s also his first time ‘Down Under,’ so Bodine hopes to catch a glimpse of the country if there’s time.
“It will be awesome to taste a new culture that I’ve never been a part of,” he said. “I’m hoping at some point we can see some kind of wildlife, some kangaroos and koalas. But that’s far down the list.”
Ryder Cup memories
Bodine and Finau got their first taste of U.S. team golf at last year’s Ryder Cup in Paris where Finau went 2-1, but the U.S. lost to Europe 17.5 to 10.5.
In fact, Finau was the final captain’s pick last year by Jim Furyk and he would be the player to hit the very first shot that raucous September morning in what Bodine called, “the coolest moment of my golf caddying career.”
“There was a little bit of chatter about who’s going to take the first shot and Tony didn’t let more than a second pass and he was like ‘I’m going to take it if no one wants it.’ He kind of volunteered himself and that shows you the confidence that he has.”
Finau then went on to crush a 3-iron 290 yards in 42-degree weather into the fairway. He would go on to play “some of the best golf of his career,” Bodine said.
Finau paired with Brooks Koepka for that first match against European juggernauts Justin Rose and John Rahm.
The rookie Finau would help the Americans win that crucial first point with a number of clutch shots including a hole-out on 5, a chip-in eagle, and a good drive on the 18th when the match was all square.
Not bad for a young player making his first team appearance, on the road no less.
“He was the first one to hit a tee shot there on 18,” Bodine said. “There was water all down the left, there’s rough that’s seven inches long on the right and he just hit it perfect, exactly what he was trying to do. That showed me just how in control he was with his game.”
Finau clearly showed he’s ready for the big stage with his game, he also beat a 4-0 Tommy Fleetwood in Sunday singles 6&4.
In addition to his game, Bodine also sees Finau’s adaptable personality as a huge strength to this year’s Presidents Cup team.
“He’s incredibly positive, easy going, and a humble guy,” Bodine said. “I don’t think anyone can argue that isn’t going to help (Captain Woods’) team.”
Bodine considers the Hero’s first-round pairings as a pairings preview of the Presidents Cup.
“I think we’re going to get a little bit of a read with them because we have everyone here but DJ,” Bodine said.
Finau is paired with Rickie Fowler at 11:46 am starting today.