x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Caddie Waldman finds it tough to cut it as a pro player

After spending nearly a decade as a caddie, one tough year wasn't enough to keep Brett Waldman from having another shot at trying to make it as a player.

Brett Waldman could only finish No 193 on the National Tour money list with US$6,958 for the year — less than half of what he would earn in a week caddying Camilo Villegas.
Brett Waldman could only finish No 193 on the National Tour money list with US$6,958 for the year — less than half of what he would earn in a week caddying Camilo Villegas.

After spending nearly a decade as a caddie, one tough year wasn't enough to keep Brett Waldman from having another shot at trying to make it as a player.

Waldman gave up his job as the caddie for Colombia's Camilo Villegas last year when he made it to the final stage of Q-school, giving him status on the Nationwide Tour.

It did not quite turn out the way he had hoped. After making the cut in his debut in Panama, Waldman went six months and 14 tournaments before making another cheque.

He finished his first year at No 193 on the Nationwide Tour money list with US$6,958 (Dh25,558) - about half of what he used to earn in one week as the caddie for Villegas.

"When I was missing all those cuts in a row, I definitely was missing caddying," Waldman said from his home near Dallas.

He decided to start again, and a bogey-free round of 68 in the final round two weeks ago was enough to make it out of the first stage of Q-school. He returns to the Tournament Players Club Craig Ranch in two weeks for the second stage.

"I worked so hard to get my game in shape, and it didn't come into shape until the end of the year," Waldman said.

"I just wasn't in any tournaments. I was fully exempt, but only for 10 events, which was my own fault. I made one cut out of 10, and my status dropped by like 35 players. I was in events easily, and then I had a hard time getting in. Therefore, I had Monday to qualify or get an exemption."

A year ago, Waldman felt as though he could not pass up a chance at playing professional golf. It might be different this year if he makes it through to the final stage, but still has only Nationwide Tour status.

He made it through the year, but financially says he "took a pretty good hit".

If he were to get his PGA Tour card, he would come out to the arena where he once only caddied. But to spend another year in the minor leagues might be difficult if he started getting telephone calls from players looking for a caddie.

"Getting a good bag is always tempting," he said. "Especially after a year like this."