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A golf caddie's life

With club in hand, hole in sight and ball teed up, Canadians love to play on the greens of the golf course. Though Mark Twain deemed golf "a good walk spoiled," supporters are passionate about the sport and say that it teaches etiquette, discipline and an unending quest for self-improvement over frustration. The CBC has chronicled our love of the game from coast to coast, in sun and in snow.

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Part schlepper, part psychologist - the caddie's is a complicated and taxing profession. Part of the job involves following the golfer, carrying his or her 45-pound bag from hole to hole. The caddie shines golf balls, makes sure clubs are clean and advises on distance. But, the job may also require the caddie to act as a sports psychologist - and this is the tricky part.

A caddie must always say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. They must be empathetic and know how to calm an anxious player and boost a downtrodden golfer. The CBC's Robin Brown speaks to Canadian caddies about their complex careers. 
• A caddie's income rises and falls with the success of the golfer. In the PGA, standard caddie pay is:
- 10 per cent of a first place cheque
- 8 per cent of a top-10 payout
- 6 per cent of any other cheque

• Most professional golfers also pay their caddies $1,000 for their work at each tournament. A golfer may consult only their caddie for advice, under PGA rules.

• Caddie Miles Byrne was at the centre of one of the most spectacular caddie bungling episodes in July 2001. Byrne cost his golfer Ian Woosnam a two-stroke penalty in the British Open when he was found carrying an extra driver in his bag. PGA rules stipulate that a golfer may only carry 14 clubs; Byrne was carrying 15. Woosnam finished third at the Open, four shots behind the winner, David Duval. Two weeks later at the Scandinavian Masters, Byrne overslept and missed Woosnam's tee time. Woosnam fired Byrne.

• Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' caddie, has won more tournaments than any other caddie. Williams goes to great lengths to protect his player's game. "That's my job, and if it means taking care of people taking pictures when they shouldn't be, or talking on cell phones, I have to do it. It's written on the back of tickets and badges to every tournament out here. Don't bring that stuff on the golf course."

• Recreational golfers can use a digital golf caddie or a robo-caddie to measure crosswinds, offer posture and driving advice.
Medium: Radio
Program: The Inside Track
Broadcast Date: April 11, 2004
Guest(s): Gail Graham, Ian Leggat, James Roxborough, Pat Sharp , Cameron Whittle
Reporter: Robin Brown
Duration: 11:57
Credits: PGA, Caddyshack audio: Orion Pictures Corporation.

Last updated: November 4, 2014

Page consulted on November 4, 2014

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