'Haul' of Fame
Interview with
Jerry 'Hobo'

On CaddyBytes.com you'll find out what it's like to be a professional golf caddy. We have PGA Tour caddy news, winning caddie interviews, veteran caddie interviews, stories and much more.  You'll get a weekly

Visit -The CaddyBytes Pro Shop -it is a place that will 'fit' all your golfing needs!

Back to  CaddyBytes Home Page

Jerry 'Hobo' Osborn has been a caddy on the Senior PGA Tour since the mid 1980's.  He's worked for just about all of the senior tour players out there including a win with Gary Player.   Jerry was present for the Alfred, 'Big Rabbit', Dyer 'Haul of Fame' interview, this past year at the Canadian Senior Open in Toronto.   

This interview is an extension of the Dyer interview, and includes more about the early black caddies and players and climate of the PGA Tour back then. Osborne also relates quite a bit about his early days and his associations with many of those players including Charlie Sifford, the first African American Golfer to break the race barrier into modern professional golf.   (In this interview Rabbit and Hobo came up with the obitiuary of Afro American caddies who've died.)

CaddyBytes.com -So what was your first association with golf and caddying?

-I Grew up in a housing project called Southside Homes, in Charlotte North Carolina, and most of the kids who lived there caddied.  As a small kid we used to fish balls out of the lake at the public golf course - Revolution Golf Course.  Eventually we gravitated down to hanging around the caddy shack.  And my family came to depend on the $12 to $15 a week I'd bring home from caddying.  

CaddyBytes.com -" When was your first tournament as a caddy on the senior tour?"

Jerry -My first tournament was for Dow Finsterwald.  Dow knew me through a mutual friend of mine.  Joe World hooked me up.  

CaddyBytes.com  -And Joe World was one of your associations from the world of golf and the black tours.  And I know you grew up in Charlotte, and you caddied as a kid to help the family.  How did all that play into getting you into golf and associated with the early 'Name' black players in professional golf?

Jerry -When I was 16 years old, we were pretty good players, a caddy associate and friend of ours, James Black, successfully qualified for the Los Angeles Open, and amazingly he and a club pro were tied for the lead at Rancho Park in Los Angeles.  One week he's caddying the next he's leading the golf tournament beating Arnold Palmer and all those guys! He eventually tied for 9th, Paul Harney won the tournament.  Up until Tiger Woods he was the youngest black player to acquire his playing privileges.  A lot of players still ask about him, in Canada last year, Mo Norman asked me about him.  But Jim Dent, Jim Thorpe, think that he was probably as talented as any of the players, but not polished enough at that time to become successful.

CaddyBytes.com -"So then how did it progress from there with players and tournaments?"

Jerry -First of all let me say this.  Back into the late '40's, early 50's and on into the 1960's the professional golf tours had Caucasian only clauses, which prohibited blacks from playing them.  As a result, the only place blacks could play were on black only tours, or playing local  hustler circuits.  There were only two exceptions to that, one being the U.S. Open and George S. Mays'  tournament in Chicago, The 'Tam O Shanter'.  This climate existed all the way up into the 1960's.  All the blacks had to go either north or out west to pursue the aspiration of playing professional golf.  And there weren't any sponsors for black players back then.  I can name at least a half dozen players from my state.  There was Jim Thorpe, Chuck Thorpe, James Black, Charlie Sifford, Curtis Sifford, Junior Walker.  This is why I never tried to play.  So you couldn't really make a living just Eak out an existence. 

CaddyBytes.com  -Who were the other notable Afro American players of the time?

Jerry - Charlie Sifford who won the National Negro Open five times besides winning twice on the PGA tour.  Ted Rose, Bill Spiller, Howard Wheeler, I was never fortunate enough to have played with them, but I did play with Charlie and James Black, Lee Elder, Pete Brown, Cliff Brown  -I was younger than them, but I was just a 'respectable' player amongst them. I was in my teens. Between 16 and 18 I was becoming to be recognized as somebody who could hit a golf ball.  We played some gambling games back then.  I played the pro amateur circuit along with James Black and others.  

And we all played the North American Golf Association, 'Chitlin' tour, which a lot of the southern white pros also played like Gibby Gilbert and Tom McGinnis.  Most of the tournaments were played in the South.  It was a tour that blacks could play for pro purses.  I never won one as a professional, I couldn't beat any of those black pros, (many of them went on to become and are tour players), and after you got down to 10th place or beyond there was no money in that.  So I would play the pro am portion for the merchandise.  I'd play as an amateur under different aliases and win the merchandise prize for the amateur division.   

Then myself and a 'pro partner' would split the purse, me with the merchandise, and he with the pro winnings.  (Plus we all had bets on the side that we'd win too).  It could come out to a pretty good living at times.

CaddyBytes.com:   - Back in the early days of professional golf, the practice of 'purse splitting'  - an informal agreement arrived upon between two players before competing in a particular golf tournament whereby they agree after the finish of that tournament that they will then 'split' (pool or share) their winnings from that tournament.  It has been rumored that a successful Doug Ford used to split earnings on occasion with a young and upcoming Arnold Palmer when he first came on tour.  The veteran Ford was effectively, 'betting' that the young Palmer had the talent enough to make him some money and the young Palmer had the 'insurance' of an older viable player making him some potential dough with a good finish on a given week.  For the young player it was a way to help pay his expenses - since he was yet to establish himself in the game.  It wasn't very long after that though that purse splitting  and all forms of gambling were outlawed on the PGA Tour.   But in the case of the sub tours like the Chitlin' Tour where the purses were small for guys to make a living.  It was 'hustling golf' at it's very best!

CaddyBytes.com -Where did most of the black caddies come from who caddied on the Pro Circuit back in the early days?  Between You and Big Rabbit, try to come up with all the older black caddies of the early days who are still alive, and which ones are now gone?

Jerry -first of all most of the tour caddies came out of Jackson, Mississippi, and Texas. 

Still Alive
-Mitch, Herman Mitchell, (in his 60's and back caddying part time on the Senior tour for Lee Trevino), Smitty, Sam Killer Foy(74), Rabbit, Smiley Jenkins is still caddying at Atlanta Country Club. Golf Ball had a stroke not good, but all are still alive.  

-all the caddies who came up with me 99% of them all died. 

*To see the African American Tour Caddy Obituary of the Pioneer Tour Caddies of the PGA Tour Click Here and scroll to the end of the 'Big Rabbit' Dyer 'Haul of Fame' interview!

Tournaments page - with more Winning Caddy Interviews

New in 2007:
Golf News of the Day is the place to go on CaddyBytes for daily stories from around the world of tournament golf!

More CaddyBytes 'Featured Caddy Stories'

Read our exclusive caddy  'Haul' of Fame Interviews!

The Virtual Golf Tours are great visual golf tours of some famous courses...

Our Resource of Caddy Books provides you with a bibliographical resource of all the books ever written on, about, or by golf caddies! (*Now with Book Reviews added!)

Tiger Woods 2006
PGA Championship
Highlights DVD!
Click Here:

New in 2007!
Personal GPS
Yardage Caddie

Click Here:

Phil Mickelson 
2006 Masters
Highlights DVD!
Click Here:

M-Pulse Putter:
Get the hottest
new putter on the 
market now
from CaddyBytes!

Click Here:

Personal Golf Simulator 
- Play the World's best courses
at home on 
your XBox or PC! 
Click Here:

Signup for the CaddyBytes Newsletter Here: When you Submit your email address you will receive information about how to get a collectible BC PTCA Caddy Doll, as well as upcoming CaddyBytes News, Golf Product Specials and Giveaways! CaddyBytes.com will not share your email address with Anyone, Ever! (Also: We've recently updated our Email Security!)

CaddyBytes.com is not affiliated with the PGA Tour, PGA of America, or any other Professional Golf Organizations, their officers or agents -Just the Caddies! All Caddy Stories that appear on this web site are exclusively owned by CaddyBytes.com. Any duplication, or copying of the material presented on this site is prohibited without the expressed written consent of CaddyBytes.com and it's owner(s)!