I met Steve Rose during high school. We became great friends united by our love for sports, baseball card collecting and the movie Caddyshack. Steve excelled in all sports but his great love was golf. He competed in Junior Golf Tournaments and in one match he played against future PGA Pro Duffy Waldorf. Steve and Duffy became friends and drinking buddies. As Duffy’s golf career took off, Steve asked if he could caddy for Duffy in a tournament. Surprisingly, Duffy said yes.
Their first tournament together was the Winnebago Classic on the mini-tour. The environment was casual and relaxed and Steve’s lack of caddie skills posed no problem. At least until the second round. Duffy was playing great. As they reached the 18th green, Duffy had a 10-foot putt to set the course record. Steve reached into the bag for the putter but it was gone. “You don’t have your putter do you Duff,” Steve asked. Duffy stared back. “No.”
Realizing he’d left the putter on the previous hole, Steve sprinted to the 17th green, grabbed the club, ran back to the final hole and watched as Duffy calmly drained the putt. Duffy won the tournament and Steve earned $750 for his 3-day effort as caddie.
When Duffy joined the PGA Tour Steve again asked to caddie in a tournament. Duffy offered Steve the 1992 Phoenix Open. The PGA environment was different. Most caddies were pros themselves and caddying was how they made their living. They didn’t take kindly to outsiders coming in for a weekend of casual fun.
Duffy gave Steve a few tips: where to stand, how to tend the pin, to make sure to avoid the eye line of other golfers. “Return the club to the bag after I’m done with it. I don’t need you sprinting through the course for forgotten putters.” Steve viewed his job primarily as cleaning clubs, carrying the bag and keeping Duffy loose and relaxed. Their chemistry was effective. As they played Round 4, Duffy was tied for the lead with 9 holes to go. Mark Calcavecchia went on a birdie run to win the tournament but Duffy took second place earning him $108,000. Steve’s share as caddie was $2,500.
Duffy let Steve caddy for him once a year for the next few years. Duffy’s playing partners included some of the game’s greats: Phil Mickelson, John Daly, Rocco Mediate. At one tournament, as Steve stood on the green Duffy yelled…