for Tour Caddies.
By Matt Harness Sports Writer
From: LaGrange Daily News Sunday, Ocotober 4, 1998
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
"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
"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
"Right now, caddies are
an endangered species at that level with people always riding
carts," remarked Cone. "This is an exciting time,
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."