From the 'Dashboard':
of 'CaddyBytes Bob':

Veteran tour caddy Bob Whitbread - 20 years as a caddy in professional golf. Since I don't necessarily like to 'blow my own horn' or make CaddyBytes about me so much - as I created in 2002 for an emphasis on professional golf caddies and what caddying out on tour might be all about. I also wanted it to be a tribute to a special breed of people who've dedicated their time in a game that they feel passionate about. I've been around the game out on tour in the past two decades after a couple of brief stints in the late '70's and early '80's. Then full time from 1990 - 2007. Needless to say we've seen a lot of changes today which pretty much reflect the market place - such as the inception of the FedExCup and the loss of tournaments here in the USA and the great expansion of golf internationally. This column will be from my own 'Dashboard' and will be my take on things that I choose to 'Take On' - let's call it the world of golf 'According to Bob' - hehehe!!! I Hope it's somewhat informative and at least occasionally enjoyable. If not - why bother to visit CaddyBytes at all - right?!.

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The Caddies Dashboard continues here in 2011  
- This Week's featured caddy story is - 'from the Dashboard' of:

                                                                                                                                                                                       'CaddyBytes 'Bob' 03/24/11
                                      'On Tiger and The Tour - in Two Parts:  Part One'

Welcome to another segment of the World of Golf according to Bob Whitbread!

I’ve wanted to do a piece on Tiger and all the to do for a while now.  At first I wanted to moralize a bit about the affair and all and then saw that the tabloids did enough of a job -  Bob the Critic.  Then I wanted to protect him as hallowed property to all of us as fans of the world of professional golf and as a former tour caddy for many years -  Bob the Enabler.  Then I wanted to do a piece just on the demise of his golf swing -  Bob the Swing 'Expert'.  Now I’ll just try to roll all three into one.

One conclusion that I draw from it all is that Tiger’s career will be forever defined in two segments.  Tiger Woods pre scandal and then Tiger post scandal.  The swing problems which are also tied into his damaged and reconstructed left knee tie into the same time frame and the advent of the scandal - kind of early pre and now post - the subject of later discussion.

Let me drop back a bit though to set up the change that’s occurred post scandal for Tiger and that will remain there from here on.  Many will believe and many who write about it will agree that Tiger's lack of candidness and unwillingness to be forthcoming about it all and the ensuing ‘cover up’ probably will do more damage in the long run than the actual fall from grace by Tiger.  Most in the world of golf from Palmer to Trevino said he should have just owned up from the beginning and moved on.  So this lack of true ‘vetting’ of the events will forever hang over Tiger Woods the person in a lot of the publics eye.

This will in turn have an effect on how well received his winning ways will be if and when he returns to form now post the ‘unvetted’ scandal.  I was only paired one time with Tiger at the Deutsche Bank TPC of Boston Labor Day weekend of 2005.  Just to backdrop even further though let me say that I’ve caddied for wins on the Hogan,, and PGA Tours. 

I’ve been paired with Arnold in the early Senior Tour days when he was in the hunt on Sunday and with Jack as well.  I’ve seen from ‘inside the ropes’ what it was like coming from those galleries.  I’ve caddied in majors on both tours in their heydays and have been paired with eventual winners on the PGA Tour on a winning Sunday or two. 

But I’ve got to tell you I’d never seen anything like I did on that Thursday and Friday (I was caddying for Mark Brooks) and we missed the cut there – except for Sunday at the Country Club in 1999 with the U.S. winning the Ryder Cup there – where I worked for NBC spotting matches there that week. 

Granted it was Labor Day weekend and played on Friday through Monday rather than the typical Thursday through Sunday PGA Tour event.  So the turnout was huge in good weather end of summer time in the greater Boston Worchester, MA area.

Fans hung over the ropes they climbed trees they constantly were shouting out ‘We love you Tiger’; ‘Go Tiger’; etc.  The galleries were so big on Saturday that people actually camped out between a green and tee to hold a spot so that they could see Tiger as he walked by to the next tee.  I remember one young couple with their newborn baby in a papoose and saw the look on their face when they were able to draw attention from Tiger who paused briefly looked at them and smiled. I’m certain they considered this to be a moving event in their life and one they would cherish and share with the neonate when he was old enough to understand.

At one point on day 2 I mentioned to Steve Williams, ‘Man, I don’t know how you can put up with this stuff on a daily basis – and of course I meant the kind of ‘police work’ he must do along with the normal duties of caddying for someone who’s almost always in the hunt as well. Steve acknowledged my observations and we had a  laugh and a nod of the head’  - I’m telling you it was just unbelievable!!!

I don’t think you’ll see those types of fans coming out to see Tiger play like you did before his fall from grace to any great extent again.  Yes you will see the core golf fans who want to see a great player that will never go away.  But there will be a dip from the volume and types of fans who worshiped him and saw Tiger as some kind great icon of our times.

Part II & III Coming in the next segment:   

                                                                                 My next story:  ‘On Tiger and The Tour Part II’

                                                                                          Thanks for visiting,

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