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PCA Voice for Tour Caddies.
By Matt Harness Sports Writer

From: LaGrange Daily News Sunday, Ocotober 4, 1998

     When you think of professional golf you think of the Mark O'Meara's, the Nick Price's and Curtis Strange's, but what about a Dan Huber, a Walt Cerrato or even a Montana Thompson. The latter few are professional caddies - the guys behind the sunglasses holding the flagstick.
     Caddies are the ones that lug around the 50 lb bags, clean clubs, mark off yardages and play the part of the friend.
     "Caddies are coaches, cheerleaders and psychologists," said Dan Huber, a professional caddie for 17 years and shareholder in the Professional Caddie Association Worldwide, which the caddies own 49 percent of. "Chemistry plays a big role in success as a team."
     Caddies are a part of the formula. They virtually play a role in every decision the player makes, thus they are an integral part of the team, and the goal to win.
     Six years ago, Dennis Cone had an idea that would revolutionize the caddying industry.
     "We wanted to provide an association for the caddies that fulfilled their basic needs," said Cone the founder and president of the PCA. "These guys have their own subculture on the tour. They aren't out there for the money, but to walk on the short grass and be inside the ropes."
     PGA Tour professional and Cone's friend Donnie Hammond couldn't agree more with his initiative.
     "It's good for the caddies to have this," said Hammond winner of two tour events. "They need a way to make a little extra. It's hard to make a living out here."
     About the time Cone's mother became stricken with cancer, he envisioned the idea. Cone caddied for Hammond in 1990-91, so he knew the tribulations of a job that had no benefits and low pay, but especially he knew that caddies had no security.
     "Caddies are a part of the team too," said Cone. "An association such as this one is long overdue by about 500 years."
     Cone understood that a caddie's life can turn upside down in a matter of four days. If their player isn't playing well or doesn't make the cut, then they don't make money. What the PCA is trying to accomplish is give the caddies a sense of job security - a way to make additional money plus benefit from a medical plan - while also giving them a presence at golf tournaments outside the shadow of their player.
     Laura Drumm, the vice president since November of 1997, heads up the benefits program and membership.
     "We want to give the caddies some choices when it comes to their medical benefits," she said. "We have also devised plans to make them additional money while on tour."
     Some examples of ways the caddies can earn extra wages include a weekly hat promotion, infomercials, Caddie-Ams, visor contracts and their co-branding agreement with the PGA Tour for selling merchandise. Drumm also stated that the association plans to increase the opportunities in the future.
     "In the future, we want to institute a 'caddie-log' where caddies can purchase merchandise and market it to stores at wholesale prices," Drumm said. "We are always looking for new opportunities and new sponsors."
     The 501(C)(3) PCA Foundation is the non-profit arm of the association that offers scholarships, catastrohic health care and supplemental retirement income. Additionally, in 1999, the board of directors is assembling a financial counsel for long-term benefits and financial planning. Furthermore, an education section will be created teaching members about retirement planning. The PCA also works in conjuction with the Caddie Master Enterprises and next year hopes to start a caddie certification program that will continue to educate caddies worldwide.
     Primarily, though, Cone sees the organization as a way to bring back caddies at the country club level.
     "Right now, caddies are an endangered species at that level with people always riding carts," remarked Cone. "This is an exciting time, promoting caddies."
     The PCA not only wants to receive, but wants to give back as well. Cone said, "We want to also give something back by funding charities."
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