Not many 19-year-olds have a cooler job than I do. For the past two weeks I've been caddying for Hank Kuehne on the PGA Tour.
I can't lie--I got the job because of my dad, Lance Ten Broeck. He played the Tour for about 10 years, caddied for Jesper Parnevik for a few years and now loops for Robert Allenby. About a month ago Hank and my dad were playing back home in Jupiter, Fla., at the Bear's Club, and Hank asked my father what I was up to. "He's at the beach," my dad said. Hank had been shopping for a caddie for weeks, so he decided to give me a try.
My caddying isn't just a goof. The Wachovia was the second week of a three-week tryout, and this could turn into a regular gig. So far it's going pretty well. Hank had missed the cut in eight tournaments in a row before I started working for him, but he's now made two straight. Two weeks ago in New Orleans he finished 21st, and he was 28th in Charlotte.
When I first showed up on Tour, I could tell that some of the other caddies--especially the ones who don't have steady bags--didn't like it very much, but I'm plenty qualified for the job. I've caddied at local clubs, and I'm good at reading greens, a skill I picked up from my dad, who has always been a great putter. I'm good at math, which helps with yardages, and have good eyes, which is important considering how far Hank hits it.
I haven't been shy about trying to help out Hank. In New Orleans he bogeyed our first hole together, mostly because it was playing dead upwind. I jumped right in and said, "Don't worry about it, everyone's going to bogey this hole. Let's birdie the next one." And you know what? We did. Sure, it was a par-5, but it made me feel like part of the team.
That week, by pure coincidence, Robert and Hank were paired together--meaning my dad and I were in the same group. I knew I was keeping up the family name when I heard Hank tell my dad, "Your kid's doing great."
The best part of the experience has been spending time with the players. In New Orleans we were paired with Vijay Singh in the final round. It was unbelievable how calm and relaxed he was, even at the most intense moments. Two days earlier we were all walking to the practice range together when Vijay looked at a leader board and saw that Hank and I had beaten Robert and my father. "Looks as if you outcaddied your dad," he said.
So far my 5% cut of Hank's earnings has come to $4,659. What am I doing with the money? Eventually it could help pay for college, and before that I'd like to get my own apartment, but right now my only concern is this week's EDS Byron Nelson Championship. That, and my three-week performance review. ?