Beginner, after repeated failures: "Funny game, golf."
Caddie: " 'Taint meant to be."
Traditionally, caddies have been showboat characters. For example, when Johnny Pott sank a chip shot to win the Crosby in 1968, his caddie, Raydel Scott, flung his arms up and fell down in a heap. The television cameras caught him in his prostration of pleasure, and he told me that his mother had seen him on national television, and most of the neighborhood, and he had become a celebrity.
When I spoke to him, he got to reminiscing, and he said that he thought he might patent his collapse and do it every time he came on the 18th with a tournament winner, or even with someone back in the pack if that golfer recorded a good shot on television. "Just throw-up my arms," Scott said, "and fall in a heap on the green."
"Scott, do you ever throw up your arms and fall in a heap on an early hole—if your man makes a great shot on the 3rd hole, say?"
I sensed his answer and was right: "Oh, I give a good yell," he said. "But for falling down, I save that for the finishing holes and the television. I mean it takes something out of you to fall down like that. It's a question of timing. Of course, the trouble is you got to find someone to pack a bag for who's going to do his side of the falling-down act. I mean, make that shot, baby. I been all set to fall down for some months now, but I ain't had no kind of cat to give me the opportunity. It seem like I'm fighting to make the cut every time.
"I dunno," he added mournfully. "Maybe the next time we make the cut I'm goin' to fall down in a heap jes' to keep my hand in...."
I asked them about perhaps the most famous contemporary caddie—the one the golfing public would know about from watching TV—Arnold Palmer's Iron Man, the tall, gaunt dean of the caddies at the Masters in Augusta, the caddie everyone remembered for his long, slow, loping walk up the last fairways in the white coveralls, the old, thin face under the cap, and how he sat on the bag at the edge of the green with his knees drawn up under his chin, or stood out behind Palmer and leaned over and spoke his notions into Palmer's ear as the two of them inspected the lie of a putt on those huge last greens.
A chorus of disapprobation rose, particularly from Scott.