I caddied for Kevin Costner at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1997, '98 and '99, and last week I was once again in his group. This time, though, instead of carrying his clubs, I was swinging my own as Tin Cup's pro partner.
Kevin has been a friend since I was in high school. Back then my older sister, Jennifer, was his personal assistant, and he lived on the same street as my family in La Canada, Calif. When I attended Southern Cal, Kevin and I played a lot of golf, and he was a regular in my gallery at college tournaments. After graduating in 1997, I turned pro and Kevin became my sponsor.
Good thing Kevin's big at the box office because he hasn't gotten rich off me. My career has consisted of two years on the mini-tours. I got into the AT&T on a sponsor's exemption because Kevin requested me as a partner. The tournament was great fun, but I found myself constantly slipping into caddie mode and helping Kevin pick clubs and read putts. My play wasn't so hot, but I salvaged something by birdieing our last hole, the 18th at Pebble Beach on Sunday.
Our gallery last week was almost as big as in 1997, when Kevin played with Tiger Woods. On Sunday, during the fog delay, Kevin gave the audience a show worth the price of admission. On the 6th green he got the crowd rolling with a stand-up routine that included some clowning as Roy McAvoy, the character he played in Tin Cup.
Beyond being my sponsor, Kevin has been a great friend. I remember calling him after making a $2,200 check at a 1998 Nike tour event. I was thrilled, but he was even more excited. To Kevin, I'm just like Roy McAvoy: a pro chasing a dream.