Anthony Knight, who loops for Aaron Baddeley, won the annual nearest to the hole caddie contest on the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday. Knight hit a pretty little 9-iron from 132 yards to 9′ 11.” The wind had picked up shortly before Baddeley’s and Knight’s group reached the tee, providing a swirly breeze and some much-needed relief during the 90-plus degree afternoon in Ponte Vedra Beach. The photo above is a screenshot of Baddeley’s tweet (go here to see the video).
I happened to have a front-row seat for the winning shot. I’d heard so much about the caddie contest, so I decided to brave the heat and walk out to the 17th hole to check out the action. Players and caddies encourage and share laughs with each other. I saw a few get pretty serious about it. I don’t blame them — after all, there’s quite a large gallery (especially for a Wednesday), along with cameras and a monster leaderboard.
I had my money on Steve Marino’s caddie, GW Cable, who is quite the legend. His shot looked good for a moment, but it landed just a foot short of being perfect and rolled down the slope to about 26 feet.
Players and caddies empty their wallets and donate an amount left to their discretion in a large jar. Several hundred-dollar bills were visible in the clear container, which was about three-quarters full already by mid-afternoon. Proceeds go to the Bruce Edwards foundation. Edwards, Tom Watson’s longtime looper, passed away in 2004 of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).