MyLocalPitch.com interview golf caddy legend Lorne Duncan who takes a different approach to the dress codes put in place at major golfing tournaments by only ever wearing sandals. We chat with Duncan about his first golfing memory, his relationship with rising star Matt Fitzpatrick and the injustice he faced at Augusta.
What is your very first golfing memory?
It’s hard to say what my 1st golf memory is. I’m the son of a golf pro so I literally grew up at the golf course. But I can remember at 10 years of age going out to play my 1st actual round of golf (nine holes) with another member’s son. We met for the 1st time on that tee and 45 years later we’re still good friends. For me, that’s what golf is really all about.
2. Greatest golf play you’ve ever witnessed?
After 35 years a on tour it would be near impossible to say what the single best golf shot I ever saw was. It’s a bit like narrowing down your favourite film. But one shot that has always stood out in my mind took place on the final round of the tournament in New Orleans. I was caddying for Cory Pavin and we were paired with Bernard Langer and Larry Rinker. It was a very windy day and standing on the 16th tee all three player were in position to win the tournament. The 16th is a long par three that played straight into that strong wind. Langer was 1st to play and hit a long iron. He put it in the back of his stance and just busted a three iron that never left the pin for a second and never got more then 6 feet off the ground. The other five people standing on the tee (two player and three caddies just stood there with their months open and eventually just turned around and stared at each other. It’s the 1st and only time that I ever saw a shot that was so impressive that it actually silence the group.
Can you describe how did it felt during your first tournament together with Matt Fitzgerald?
That was a hard week. In the normal the caddie/player dynamic the player is the one that normally has the final say on what decisions are being made on the course. But with Matt being 19 years old and still an amateur he was heavily relying on my experience. To be responsible for ever decision for four rounds of golf on a world stage like The Open championship was a bit nerve racking to say the least. Matt went on to win the silver metal that week which was extremely satisfying but at the same time there was a certain sense of relief at the close of the tournament.
Who do you rate as the best ball striker you’ve ever worked with?
I’ve had the good fortune to work for some of the best player in the world. From Nick Faldo to Jesper Parnivik to Raymond Floyd to David Graham (All great ball strikers) but the best was still Bernard Langer.
What’s your favourite golf tournament?
As far as the Majors go, the US OPEN is the best of of those four. Always well run and always on a great course. This year’s US Open, I think, was my single most enjoyable week on tour. Pinehurst no. 2 was being used for the 1st time after a totally remarkable redesign and that combined with near perfect weather made for a very special week.
What are your thoughts on the Ryder Cup this year, any stand out moments for you?
I’m not sure one could honestly pick one stand out moment in that amazing week of golf. For me, McDowell going from 4 down after nine and coming all the way to win his singles match in that 1st match on Sunday morning has the highlight of the tournament. The standard of golf in that match was outstanding and you just have to admire that “no quit” attitude of McDowell.
What’s the best route in for anyone interested in becoming a tour caddy and what would you recommend?
If you spoke to a hundred caddies about how they got started caddying you’d get a hundred different stories. There is no obvious way to get started. If you have no experience then the players won’t take you and if the player won’t take you, there’s no way to get experience. It’s a catch 22. Probably the best place to start is at one of the early stages of tour school and see if you can pick up a bag and start to learn what’s needed to do the job.
What is your favourite golf course in London?
In the London area, hands down, Sunningdale. Probably in my top twenty world wide.
Looking back, to what extent do you feel you were unfairly treated in Augusta?
With all its airs and graces, Augusta is just another golf tournament. I’ve caddied all over the world and in all the majors and my sandals never brought about the collapse of any of those events. In my opinion the single greatest impediment to the spread of golf is the snobbery that has infected great game. Augusta and her attitudes are a major source of that epidemic. On a very parochial level, I was a victim of these attitudes but in the big picture, which is the one that matters, it’s the game of golf that suffers most.
BY - Finn Mongey
2 October 2014