- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Gary and I didn't get off to a great start. On the 2nd hole of our first practice round he told me he was going to make my job real easy. He said, "I just want you to clean my balls and clubs and keep up." I was insulted. Gary was playing with Tony Jacklin, whose attitude was that the caddies didn't know anything. On Thursday, Player hit a great drive on the 1st hole. When he got to his ball, he looked at me. (Back then we weren't using yardage books at Augusta. I was going to let him pick the club he wanted and not say anything.)
He said, "What club do you like?"
I said, "Seven-iron."
All through the practice rounds I had zeroed in on his game, but I had been getting attitude from him and I had been giving it back. He hit every club I suggested from then on until the 72nd hole. By the 45th hole he swore that I was the best caddie he had ever seen. At the 72nd hole he was in a tie for the lead with Billy Casper and Gene Littler, who was already in the clubhouse at nine under. For his approach shot Player asked me what I thought. I said a five-iron. He said, "Laddie, I'm pumped up—I think I can get a six there." He hit a great shot, but it plugged in the bunker, and he dropped out of the lead when he didn't get up and down. Casper went on to beat Littler in the 18-hole playoff.
The Augusta race riot
You had 90 to 100 caddies with families out there who looked to the Masters every April for some extra money. All the cooks, waiters and caddies at the club were black. For a lot of the caddies the politics didn't really affect us that much personally because we were on the course all day. We had no problems with the members and their guests. But when things got really out of hand during the May 1970 Augusta race riot—six black men were killed by the police—all the members and their guests left town.
Lee Elder and 1975
I was in the golf shop when Chen Ching-Po, from China, played there for the first time, in '63. Mr. [Clifford] Roberts was there to welcome him, and he did the same thing in '70 for Sukree Onsham from Thailand. When Lee Elder showed up at the clubhouse in '75, Mr. Roberts gave him a personal welcome and treated him the same as he did every other player. I was well aware of the historical significance of Lee playing in the Masters, so I made sure that I was standing on the 1st tee on Thursday so that I could see the expressions on the faces of some of the patrons and members when Elder hit his first tee shot. There was a different energy in the air.
We were known as his boys, in a positive sense of the term, especially the good caddies. At the club we had the Game, which was a match between two or three foursomes of members. They took it seriously. The caddies who were not so sure of themselves were always nervous around Mr. Roberts. When you made a poor read, he would say, "You are no such of a damn lie." Then he would look around and ask for one of the more experienced caddies to read the putt. He didn't want scared or timid people around him.