"Iron Man? What he know 'bout packing a bag? He know nothin', man."
"That's right. You get the Iron Man offen the Masters course, an' he lost—why he stumble 'round like he gonna be bit by something."
Another caddie chimed in: "He been confused since he was 2 years old—man, how you talk about Iron Man?"
"Well," I said, "what about all that advice he gives Palmer. On the green. You see him there, leaning over, advising...at least he's whispering things for Palmer to hear."
"He's jes' movin' his lips. He don' know what he sayin'."
"Why, he ain't got nothin' to say. He don' know golf enough to say beans."
One of them leaned forward. "I'll tell you what he's sayin', man. He's leanin' into Palmer's ear an' he's saying, 'Jes in case you wanna know, Mis' Palmer, it's gettin' on to 'bout four fifteen in the afternoon.' "
The caddies all grinned and hee-hawed.
The one caddie all of them spoke favorably of—a hero among them, apparently—was Wayne Hagan, semiretired now, they said, who worked out of the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. They spoke of him as being the first caddie who made a scientific art of the craft—checking the course early in the morning for pin positions and pacing off the holes and noting landmarks on a card so that if a golfer asked what the distance was, Hagan would say, looking at his card, "Well, from that tree it's exactly 135 yards to the center of the green." All of this, when Hagan began, was unknown, but it is now widely practiced, not only by the caddies, but by the golfers themselves.
"Tell me more about Hagan," I said.