I met up with LPGA caddy Ray Kim last week in NYC. He’s currently carrying Paige Mackenzie’s bag, but last year, he was looping for PUMA athlete Erica Blasberg. He’s from Congers, NY, a small town outside of the City. When he’s not traveling, he resides in Hawaii. On Tour, Ray’s nickname is AK. Why, you ask? He bears a striking resemblance to belt buckle fashion plate PGA rising star Anthony Kim. Just look!
Ray and I discussed his time spent as a caddy on the LPGA and he shared some of his fun times while looping for Erica.
How did you start caddying on the LPGA?
I was a local caddy in Hawaii. In 2006, I met Erica at the tournament at Turtle Bay [in Oahu, HI] and caddied for her. Both in 2007 and 2008, she called and asked me to caddy for her there. We did really well in 2008. Afterwards, I emailed her asking if she needed a caddy for any of her west coast tournaments. Well, she responded that she did, but I’d have to commit for the whole year. My response was something like, “Hell yeah, I’ll caddy but YOU have to commit, you don’t have to worry about me.”
What’s it like being a young caddy on Tour?
To be honest, many of the older guys hate us. Last year, one of the caddies came up to me and said, “You better watch out because a lot of the vets don’t like you.” This was coming from one of the most straightforward caddies out there. I didn’t know how to respond. And he said it was because many of the older guys are having problems getting a good full-time bag. Since I had been a local caddy, I took a way a job from a veteran. It’s been like that ever since I’ve been on Tour. Back in the day, it was all older caddies. Now, the vets see new guys that come along who to them, look like they know nothing and think that the younger pros are hiring us just because of our age. For example, recently, one of the players posted as her Facebok status, “Tired of dealing with caddies!!!player is the one who plays golf NOT THE CADDY!?!?!?!?” It was funny because I knew her mom had been caddying for her that week. But another caddy didn’t and commented [on her Facebook wall],“Instead of hiring young pretty boys, older more experienced caddies have patience and let the player play there own game.”
Any funny anecdotes while you were looping for Erica?
Last year in a tournament in Orlanda, FL, we were walking down the fairway that had houses along the hole and on someone’s balcony, there was a sign, “We love you Natalie [Gulbis], Call me [phone number]” Erica and I were laughing about it and she thought it’d be funny if we prank called him. She asked me to write [the number] down. As I started writing it in the yardage book, I tripped in a huge pothole and fell on my face with the bag on top of me. Erica just laughed and kept walking. It was even more ridiculous because of the reason why I fell – I was looking at a fan poster, writing down a guy’s number to call him and pretend we were Natalie Gulbis. I had to walk around with a towel over my head for the next three holes because I couldn’t stop laughing. It was my only fall of the year.
What were some other highlights while you were caddying for Erica?
Since it was my first year on Tour and I didn’t know anyone, she took care of me in a way. She was very thoughtful. At one tournament, we missed the cut and we were both upset. I was waiting for her to clean out her locker and she walked out and handed me a beer. Also, she always kept me outfitted in new PUMA shoes.
Erica loves pizza. At every tour stop, one of our goals was to try and find the best pizza place. During the Pro-Ams, all the sponsors adored Erica. She always made sure they had a good time – she was nice, friendly and funny. At the end of the round, I think they always tipped me to look good in front of her. We ended up making a deal that if i were tipped, I’d buy the the pizza.
What do you think about PUMA Golf?
PUMA is cool and different than all the other clothing lines. Erica really stands out because she’s always dressed well. She makes the clothes look good and the clothes make her look good. It’s a good match.
You caddied for Erica and now you’re caddying for Paige, two of the most attractive girls on Tour. What’s that like?
It makes waking up in the morning and going to work easier.
What do you guys do when you’re not on the bag?
I organized a poker night for the caddies every Tuesday. So, that’s the only other time the caddies talk to me – I’m very popular…on Tuesdays.
We’ve talked about how you get double takes from people thinking that you’re Anthony Kim. What would you say to him if you had a chance to meet him?
I’d ask if I could caddy for him in a tournament. He should pay his caddy for the week and I’d do it for free. Just for fun – Let the media and everyone get a kick out of it. Maybe occasionally he’ll carry the bag and I’ll hold the club – See if anyone notices the difference. I think that could be a possibility.
I think that someone should make that happen. Seriously!
You can now follow Ray on Twitter. He’s funny.