Bruce Edwards
           'Haul' of Fame
             Story from 
            August 2003

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April 8, 2004

We are all saddened today in the community of professional golf with the news of the passing of Bruce Edwards at his home in Ponte Vedre Florida from ALS.  The caddies have lost a good friend and compatriot and the world of golf has lost a top flight and well know caddy.  (We also lost two other life tour caddies in the past weeks with the unexpected passing of Ralph Coffey, and the passing of Harry Cadell due to prostate cancer.)  Though Bruce is now gone, tragically a legacy lives on –so that one day a cure may be found to help others afflicted with this insidious disease.  With the help of Tom Watson and others The Driving For Life Foundation was formed rallying around Bruce’s and tour player Jeff Julian’s struggle to find a timely cure for ALS.   You can still contribute to this foundation in Bruce's name by clicking on this link: or click the link after this ‘Haul of Fame’ story about Bruce Edwards -written last summer (2003) during the week of the Senior British Open that follows: 

August 2003

Bruce Edwards -Caddybytes 'Haul of Fame' member story

Bruce Edwards has been Tom Watson’s primary tour caddy since the early 1970’s on the PGA Tour.  The first week he was on Tom’s bag they finished top ten.  (Good things always seem to work right from the start and theirs was no exception.)  Bruce must have wins totally somewhere in the upper 20’s in his caddy career with Tom.  

Here was a guy who really seemed blessed with great success and the early linking up in his caddy career with Watson, not unlike Jeff ‘Squeaky’ Medlin who won the PGA with Daly as the 8th and last alternate to get in the early ‘90’s, and won a myriad of times with Nick Price -only to see it all come to an end, tragically and fatefully with a long losing battle to leukemia.  Now Bruce is faced with similar circumstances with ALS. 

In the mid to late 1970’s on the PGA Tour the top caddy characters were an already elderly Creamy Caroline (of Arnold Palmer) caddy fame, Hank ‘The Bank’ Podalski (Julius Boros), ‘Gorgeous George’ Lucas (Arnold Palmer and others), Lee Lynch (Hogan, Al Geiberger’s 59), Nick DePaul (Ballesteros, Norman, Crampton), Big Griff (Lanny Wadkins), Ray ‘Dogpatch’ Medlin, Ralph Coffee, ‘Tobacco Lou’, Alex ‘Windwalker’ Chitchen, and still on occasion Angelo Argea, Roy Stone and others.

And the Black caddies:  Herman ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, (Gardner Dickinson, Lee Trevino) Aldolphus ‘Golf Ball’ Hall (Ray Floyd), Alfred 'Big Rabbit' Dyer (Gary Player), ‘Smitty’(Ben Crenshaw), ‘Big Lee’ (George Archer), ‘Momma Bill’, Walter Montgomery, Seymour, Leroy Shultz, and many more.  

Then there were the new breed.  Mike Carrick  (Andy Bean, Tom Kite), ‘Gypsy’ Joe Grillo (Jim Simons, Curtis Strange), Lin ‘The Growler’ Stickland (Ben Crenshaw) Pete Bender (Norman, Wadkins,), Mike ‘Fluff’ Cowan, Russ ‘Pinecone’, and others.

Also coming out in the same time frame were the ‘Big Three’ Caddies from Wethersfield Connecticut –‘Disco’ Dennis Durning (Andy Bean now Bruce Fleisher), Greg ‘Boats’ Rita (Curtis Strange, John Daly, now Mark O'Meara), 

-and the guy with the best success of that whole lot -Bruce Edwards -caddying for the best player in golf at that time -Tom Watson.

I remember Herman Mitchell one time holding court with a group of caddies espousing the secret to caddy success given all his loop’s in the biz with ‘It’s who you’ve got’, not necessarily what you know, when it comes to caddy success.  So yes.  To belabor the point.  Bruce had the best in golf early on in his ‘caddy game’.  That’s ‘who he got’, right from the beginning -a young and great player in modern golf history, none other than the young Tom Watson.    

Tour caddies back when Bruce began could only work the regular tour events.  They weren’t allowed to caddy in the majors much in those days -The Master’s used only their own until 1983.  Caddying at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship’s was limited at best ‘sporadically’ into the mid to late 1970’s to tour caddies in America. 

And traveling to the British Isles to caddy the British Open with the high cost of travel combined with the small purses back in those days was almost unheard of for an American tour caddy.  If any caddies did so back then it was only the top player’s caddies who went and only less than a handful at that.  (Angelo Argea did caddy for Nicklaus in the great duel between Nicklaus and Watson at Turnberry in 1977, and even earlier 'Big Rabbit' Dyer worked for Player at Lytham and St. Annes.)

Tom Watson won the British Open a total of five times in 1975, ‘77’, ‘80’, ‘82’, and ‘83’, with English caddie Alfie Files on the bag.  (Files passed away only just a few years ago).  He won the Masters in 1977 and 1981 with an Augusta caddy on the bag.  He never won a PGA Championship.  Watson was PGA Tour Player of the Year from 1977 to 1980. 

Bruce was Tom’s primary caddy during that great heyday run but didn’t work any of those major wins for him.  Though Bruce did eventually come over and work for others in British Opens in his career 

Bruce did have that one great major championship victory with Tom at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1982, where Bruce said to Tom ‘You can make this one partner’ or something near that on #17 as he was getting ready to play that now infamous shot there.   

Their last win together in that great run in the 1980's was at the Nabisco Tour Championship at Oak Hill in the fall of 1987.  There after Watson’s putter went sour, and Tom really struggled in the late ‘80’s to early mid ‘90’s with that. Tom also played a limited schedule during that time period and so Bruce attempted to ‘test the waters’ with some other top players but with limited success –most notably for Greg Norman. 

After the stint with Norman, Bruce and Tom re-united in the early/mid 1990’s and together pulled off a great victory at Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament in 1996.  It had been a long gap of nearly 9 years without a victory for Watson, and likewise with Edwards on the bag.

It’s been said that the true test of character is how you deal with the difficult times in life.  And that success is sometimes determined by how well we deal with the way things ‘turned out’ to be in our lives.   I’ve seen caddies be jealous of the top caddies in golf, not unlike I’m sure happens at the top of any profession or life endeavor.  This guy worked very hard for Tom Watson over the years though.  

There is a lot of 'heat' on a caddy who's got a top player in the hunt to win from week to week and a lot of responsibility as well.  Even with all the wins I'm sure Bruce will tell you that Tom's compliments to others and in public about what a good caddy he is, are more important than the money, wins, and success that comes with it all.  You see, Bruce is loyal to the core.  And it is that kind of esprit de corps that all the top caddies live by. 
But now, after such a seemingly magical caddy career, it all appears to be over for Bruce -(and Tom).  Unless they can quickly find a cure!

Bruce has certainly displayed tremendous strength in character in this -his most difficult of times.  All I can do is remain in awe of Bruce and in wonder of his tremendous Guts!!!  And, thanks Tom Watson for standing by your loyal friend and caddy during this most difficult of times –you make all of us proud to be a part of our chosen profession.  Here’s the link again for contributions to  Bruce Edward’s and Jeff Julian’s website.  Please make your tax deductible donations and please help to find a cure for this awful disease! To do so just click on the following link:


*Also See our related story from Senior British Open 2003 victory by Tom Watson last summer at Turnberry and his dedication of that victory there to Bruce.
Bob Whitbread


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