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"I tell you," someone said, "the caddies' best friends are the golfers who finish in the top 15. You don't pack a bag for one of those cats and you like to have troubles."
"You're talking," said Cricket. He reported he had made $2,700 in a month of Florida tournaments carrying Sanders' bag. Normally, if their golfer finishes out of the money, the caddie gets paid $100 to $150. Usually he can rely on 10% of his professional's winnings.
The caddie called Doc stirred and said that when it came to money they were all spoiled. He had been on the tour for 22 years. When he started to caddie he was lucky to get $2 for packing a professional's bag for 18 holes. Out of the first prize for tournaments in those days—maybe $3,000—why, a caddie'd be pretty lucky to clear $150. Doc's real name was Foster Eubanks. He was called Doc because he carried all his gear—his rain hat and so forth—in a doctor's satchel. He was one of the caddies with a car. Five other caddies drove with him—spelling each other at the wheel. He shook his head thinking of their conduct. "They don't know what a dollar is. The gambling! Those boys from Dallas, I tell you, they'll bet you a hoss fell out of a tree."
The caddies themselves kept track of each other's fortunes. "You can tell if a caddie's doing O.K. on the tour by his shoes," one of them told me. "If he ain't wearing rubber-sole shoes to get a grip on the hills, and he's got on his regular shoes with wax paper in them to keep the wet out of his socks and slid-in' under those bags—those big Haigs, they'll weigh over 100 pounds—and he's wearing a quarter in each ear to keep out the cold on the dew patrol, well, you got a caddie who hasn't got a deal, an' he'll be thinking real low."
One of the main topics that the traveling caddies talk about is the "Rule." They inveigh against it at any opportunity, and one can hear such odd legal phrases along caddies' row as, "I'm telling you, baby, it's restraint of trade...and besides it ain't fair practices."
The Rule is the condition enforced by the PGA that touring caddies cannot work the tour from June 1 to September 1 when school is out and the caddie forces are largely made up of kids caddying for their summer jobs.
"Those kids snap up our bread," the Rabbit said. "Why in San Francisco this one time when they play the Open there in June, this boy from the University of Stanford packs for Bill Casper who makes the playoff and wins it. Kid's name was Jim Stark. Casper says, 'Stark, what's your fee for packing?' And he says, 'Seven dollars a day. Five dollars for the playoff 'cause that's extra.' Billy gives him $2,000."
A moan went up along the fence.
"We're treated like dogs," one of the caddies said. "We got to park 50 miles over in the woods. The public don't understand this. We got a lot of trouble. We should have credentials just like the touring pros. We're worth it to them. In the seven years I been a touring caddie I can't think of a touring pro who's lost a penalty shot 'cause of some mistake."
It was true that many of the golfers were sympathetic to the caddies' woes. When I asked Doug Sanders about the Rule, he was very insistent. "I wish they'd waive it," he said. "You have to be lucky to get a good caddie in the summer. You don't want an intern operating on you; you want a doctor. A good caddie can help you maybe only one shot a week—but that adds up. Try that on the money list. It makes a big difference, particularly if you're anywhere near winning a tournament. It's like combat. You want someone you can really depend on."