Two years into caddying, in 1978, Fluff hooked up with Peter Jacobsen. "He was living in his car when he came to me," says Jacobsen. "He had this huge beard with lunch from four days ago in it and this old Pontiac and his dog, Shivas. I thought, Why not?" They formed the longest-lasting player-caddie team anybody can remember, spending 19½ years together. "And never once was he late," Jacobsen says. They were so close that Fluff lived with the Jacobsens in Portland, Ore., several winters, doing odd jobs around the house for his keep. "For about eight years," he once recalled, "I basically had no home."
Which is what made the events of last fall so bittersweet for Fluff. In the summer Jacobsen had hurt his back, which sat them both down. But one night Fluff got a call. It was Woods, who had won his third straight U.S. Amateur only hours before. "I'm turning pro this week, and I plan on playing the next seven events," he said. "How many of those can you work for me?"
You could have knocked Fluff over with a bong. "Well, I expect just about all of them," he replied.
That first Tuesday morning, during a practice round for the Greater Milwaukee Open, Fluff told ABC's Mark Rolling that he was on "just a temporary" job. Nine holes later he saw Rolfing again. "Remember what I said before?" Fluff said.
"Yeah?" said Rolfing.
"Well, forget it."
"I just started seeing these f———outrageous golf shots," Fluff recalls. "Just amazing. Tiger hit this flop shot over a bunker—with almost no green to work with—that was just awesome, incredible. Hardly any pro would've tried that. Everything he did was completely fearless."
It took Fluff two days to get used to a few things. Like the notion that a pitching wedge can go 155 yards. And that "It's 305 to carry that bunker" is not necessarily a bad thing. He stayed quiet. Then, on Thursday, Woods hit him on the 1st tee with "Whaddya like?"
Fluff tapped the driver. Woods hit it straighter than a 4-H Club, and the ball didn't stop rolling for 334 yards. Woods and Fluff went 60th the first week, 11th the next and fifth the next. By the start of the fourth week they had made their partnership permanent. "I want 10 percent on wins" was the only demand Fluff made. "And you are gonna win real soon."
When Fluff broke the news to Jacobsen, he cried like a baby. Fluff, that is. Jacobsen was numb. "It was like getting hit by a tractor-trailer," he says. "It was complete shock. But I'm happy for Fluff. He's got the kid who is, without a doubt, the Man out here. It couldn't have happened to a better guy."