From the Dashboard:

of Mark Huber:

Mark Huber is a professional caddy currently working on the PGA Tour's Champions golf tour for Jim Roy.   He's been caddying on the PGA Tour since 1988 and worked for over 70 different players on every tour over the years.   His main bags were Bob Murphy, Doug Tewell, Raymond Floyd, Larry Rinker, Greg Twiggs, and Robert Gamez.  He's also 'looped' for Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, and Larry Nelson to name a notable few, plus countless other players on the PGA, Nationwide, LPGA, and Champions golf tours.   Mark has accumulated twenty wins and countless experiences during his tour caddy career and you can read more from Mark by clicking here at -  Mark's Kaddy Korner. 

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This 'Caddies Dashboard' story was written  
- 'From the Dashboard' of tour caddy Mark Huber!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mark Huber 11/22/10
                               'Champions 'Q' School, TPC Eagle Trace, Coral Springs, FL'

Driving across Alligator Alley Saturday morning I was thinking about the 7 or 8 Q-Schools I’ve attended over the years and only successfully graduated from one. There were three final stages on the PGA Tour, two on the Champions Tour, and a few second stage visits. I wouldn’t consider myself a grizzled vet at these things but seen enough to know no one really wants to be here. They are a necessary evil for struggling tour pros and a glimmer of hope for club professionals and low handicap amateurs.

Carney wanted me there for a Saturday afternoon practice round and I actually was looking forward to it. I had a good feeling about the week; Mark was hungry to get back on tour after ten years of running golf tournaments and announcing for Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio on XM. He had been playing a bit and working hard on his game since April, I sincerely thought we had a shot at one of the five spots, at the worst one of the seven conditional exemptions.

TPC at Eagle Trace had grown up since my last visit in 1991. There were houses lining every fairway, oak trees swaying in the light breeze, and a few changes to the course. We played nine holes Saturday afternoon with two members and garnered a little inside perspective. They told us a new greens keeper was recently hired and his budget was cut. The spotty fairways and rough greens certainly showed it, they gave us trouble all week.

We met 7:00 Sunday morning for our first official practice, which means Mark couldn’t wear shorts. It’s kind of strange seeing these guys in shorts but they are just like the rest of us and would prefer shorts and tee shirts over this pro golf garb. We were the first cars in the lot and I watched Carney get out of his Tahoe then suddenly sit down on the door step. Thinking he was talking on the phone I finished putting on my shoes then walked over. The agonized painful expression told me his back was out, he didn’t have to say a thing.

He struggled to the clubhouse, tried to hit some balls and few putts, and then made arrangements with a chiropractor. I had the day off but still had a lot of work to do. My hip was barking but I needed to check the course thoroughly and try to sell my Priceline hotel room. Luckily we could use carts while charting the course but there were no takers on the room. An old high school friend lived close by and wanted me to stay with him but I was stuck at an Extended Stay Deluxe a half hour away.

It’s not the way you like to start the week but Carney assured me the back issue was temporary and he’d be ready to go Tuesday. Our Monday practice round was a bit subdued but he seemed to loosen up, the swing stretched a bit longer, and he wasn’t wincing at impact. I was watching him closely on the range and sneaking a peak at the other contestants during our practice session. There were all shapes and sizes, swings that didn’t come from instructors or film sessions, cigars and cigarettes everywhere, and not a sports psychologist in sight. It was like the good old days without a large crowd. This week there are no TV cameras, a handful of local spectators, and not much adrenaline flowing. There is no one cheering you on, it’s all player, caddy, and maybe a family friend in your corner.

We started on the back nine, bogied the par five tenth with a wedge in our hand then followed with a bogey on the eleventh. Not the way you want to start but Carney righted his swing after a mutual pep talk and battled through the round. We finished a couple over despite the excitement on our fifteenth hole.

Steve Haskins caddy, Jeff, a friend not a regular caddy, had been acting a bit strange all day.  After Steve missed his par putt Jeff let out a powerful groan then collapsed on the green convulsing and bleeding from the mouth. I was standing next to him and with assistance from Jim and Jill Rutledge we were able to roll him on his side, comfort him, and kept him from swallowing his tongue until the ambulance arrived 15-20 minutes later. Carney saved par after the EMTs carted Jeff to the ambulance and headed for the hospital. The group finished the round in a mild stage of shock but we managed three pars.

Our week wasn’t much fun after that. Carney gutted it out but the game just isn’t quite there yet. Carney drove the ball great but we missed a lot of greens with wedges in our hand, our putting was lackluster, and we could never get anything going. A little short game practice, a better back, and some tournament experience is all he needs to be competitive out here. He was extremely disappointed but never gave up all week.

After we packed up I wandered back to the clubhouse, grabbed a box lunch, and watched the contenders finish up. The Q-School scoreboard is always surrounded by the hopefuls waiting for their card. Steve Haskins was there after shooting a good round Friday and on the cusp of getting his card. Jeff was dismissed from the hospital Thursday night. I was in his room when the neurologist told him all tests were negative, he needed to cut out the drinking, and his seizure was induced by dehydration. Believe me; this caddy took notice of the doctor’s orders.

Well, the season is over. It wasn’t my best and it was far from the worst. A wheelchair met me at the gate when I landed in Chicago. There will be no deer hunting, no beer, and a lot of rehabbing this hip before and after surgery. I need to get physically and mentally prepared for next season, the hip replacement will be a big start.



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