SI Vault
J.E. Vader
November 20, 1989
Michelle Moody has helped her father, Orville, become a big winner on the Senior tour
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November 20, 1989

Daddy's Favorite Caddie

Michelle Moody has helped her father, Orville, become a big winner on the Senior tour

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But Michelle isn't in this line of work because she loves golf. Though she was on her high school golf team in Sulphur Springs, Texas, she says. "I don't have enough talent to make a living at it." She isn't caddying only for the money, either—she appreciates the time with her dad, who was usually on the road when she was growing up. Even when Orville is cussing and grumbling, she knows, as few daughters ever do, that her father genuinely needs her.

On the greens Michelle is Orville's seeing-eye daughter. She squats low, shades her eyes, and imagines where the ball would go if hit straight at the hole. She tells her dad. "Three inches left." Orville, who stands behind her and tries to read the green, too, frowns.

"I can't see as well as I used to." he says. "I get floaters." No matter. Last year he was first in the tour's putting statistics and fourth on the money list, with $411,859. This year he aims to finish first in both categories.

Michelle is philosophical about Orville's insults and cussing when the ball doesn't drop. "That's what caddies are for," she says with a shrug. "I can handle four hours of that. I don't argue back, and I try not to get emotional."

Although Michelle doesn't talk back to her dad when they're working, as soon as the scorecard is signed and they're off the course, the two snipe and banter as enthusiastically as an old married couple. They'll argue about the best way to get back to the hotel, the attractiveness of some of the spectators, where they are supposed to be for a radio interview. But they have one ongoing dispute that makes Orville sad and quiet.

Michelle may be the only teenager extant whose parents want her to continue to bum around the golf course, but next September Michelle plans to hang up her towel and go to college. She wants to get a degree, perhaps in broadcasting or education. She's thinking of the future, and the drawbacks of life on the fairway are becoming obvious. "I think if I did it another year I'd learn to hate it," she says. "It's not all glamour."

Orville doesn't argue. "I think he hopes I'll still change my mind." Michelle says. As fierce as he can be toward her on the course, he clearly adores her. You won't find Orville Moody. Lear-like, wandering some windswept par-5 in tattered Sansabelt slacks, pulling on his beard and lamenting over a daughter he didn't appreciate until too late. Sometimes when things are going well and they are waiting for the group ahead to hole out, Orville will kiss his caddie on the cheek for no apparent reason. And sometimes Michelle will stand behind her father in a patch of mid-fairway shade, resting her chin on his back and looking over his shoulder. In the end, this is the enduring picture of the Moodys on tour.

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