She always shows up on time, keeps up on the course and knows when to shut up. She also cooks, drives, irons, shops and does the laundry. Yes, Jane Storm, who made history last week by becoming the first mother to caddie for her son in the Masters, has solid credentials as a looper and as a parent. But that's not why Jane's 22-year-old son, Graeme, the reigning British Amateur champ from West-pool, England, asked her to carry for him in the biggest tournament of his life. "Mum works for free," says Graeme, "and she's my best friend."
Not many guys call their 46-year-old mother their best friend, "but Graeme and Jane have a truly special relationship," says Sara Mullender, Graeme's girlfriend, and golf has long been a core component. Graeme grew up a soccer fanatic but turned to golf when he was 11. Under the tutelage of Jane's father, William True-man, a single-digit handicapper, Graeme became one of Great Britain's top junior players in only a few years. At 15 he was playing in 20 events a year throughout Europe, subsidized by his father, Ray, who owns a decorating business. Jane, a part-time hairdresser, chaperoned her son to the tournaments.
Graeme, who has a 19-year-old sister, Angela, first asked his mother to caddie for him in 1995, and since then she has been on his bag at every important tournament, more than 100 in all. Jane sticks to the basics—carrying the bag, tending the pin, raking bunkers and replacing divots—and leaves calculating yardages and selecting clubs to Graeme. "Having Mum at my side gives me lots of confidence," he says. Jane shepherded her son to the British Amateur tide, which qualified him for the Masters, at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland last July. In September she worked for him at the Walker Cup in Nairn, Scotland, where he scored the clinching point for Great Britain and Ireland in its 15-9 win over the U.S.
Originally Graeme told his mother that she would work only the par-3 tournament at Augusta and that he would hire a club caddie for the main event. Then he started having second thoughts. He decided that her years of sacrifice deserved some sort of a reward, so he gave her the best Christmas present she has ever received.
Conspicuously absent in Augusta was Ray, who has been separated from his wife for six months. He stayed home in England to try to keep the breakup off Graeme's mind. "Despite our troubles Ray has continued to support Graeme's career," says Jane. "Without him, Graeme wouldn't be where he is today."
To get in shape for Augusta's hills, Jane, 5'2" and 134 pounds, spent several months doing aerobic exercises and lifting weights. The training paid off, as Jane never lagged behind, despite lugging a 55-pound bag that's almost as tall as she is. "We are impressed," says Fred Bennett, the National's caddie master. "She's one heck of a strong lady."
There was nothing Jane could do, however, to prepare herself for the overwhelming aura of the Masters. "I'm a nervous wreck," Jane said while sitting on the edge of a chair in the clubhouse last Wednesday afternoon. "This place makes me prickle. A couple days ago Graeme and I were in Amen Corner. Oh, my gosh. You know the Hogan Bridge, it's soft with padding, like walking on air. This estate is perfect, a dream."
Once the tournament began, Graeme was the Storm most affected by nerves. Playing with Brent Geiberger and Mark O'Meara, and just ahead of the Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player trio, Graeme double-bogeyed the 1st hole on Thursday and shot a depressing 11-over 83. Though he rebounded on Friday with three birdies and shot a 76, he missed the cut.
Immediately after Friday's round, Graeme turned pro and accepted sponsor's exemptions to two pro events, the May 26-29 Memorial on the PGA Tour and the June 1-4 Hyundai Masters in Seoul, Korea, on the Asian tour. In the next few weeks Jane will go back to working full time as a hairdresser and Graeme will hire a professional caddie.
Mothers know when it's time to let go, but not sons. "Mum will always be Mum," says Graeme. "She still gets to cook and do the laundry."