Volunteer winds up as Langer's caddie

By Steve Pajak
Published on

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Bobby Siravo expected to spend U.S. Senior Open week far behind the scenes overseeing caddie hospitality as a volunteer.

That changed in a hurry Thursday morning when Bernhard Langer's caddie, Terry Holt, suffered a severe reaction to a bug bite and the resulting swollen leg left him unable to walk 18 holes.

Holt, who had exchanged pleasantries with Siravo earlier in the week, sought out Siravo a few hours before Langer's tee time to be his replacement. Siravo met Langer for the first time not long after and off they went.

Langer shot a 1-over-par 71 on Thursday, then a 66 on Friday to put him in title contention.

"He told me on the putting green: 'Here's how I read putts: It's straight, it's right half, it's right edge.' I went with that," Siravo said. "He said, 'Say everything that's on your mind.' Early on, there was a thought, maybe I'm screwing him up, we haven't made any putts. But I kept going in there. It's better than sitting on the side of the green holding the flagstick."

Siravo is a Del Paso Country Club member, a former assistant pro at the club and a former club champion. He caddied for Kevin Sutherland on the PGA Tour for a season 10 years ago and owns iFit Golf in Folsom.

In other words, he's more qualified than most pickup caddies, even though he doesn't work in meters, Langer's preferred form of measurement.

They had good chemistry, though.

"We talked about families and this and that," Siravo said. "He made it easy, and we had our laughs."

Late Friday, it was 50-50 whether Holt would be good to go for the third round, Siravo said. As for compensation, Siravo said he discussed that with Holt.

"I said, 'Terry, keep everything. This isn't my job, this is yours.'"

Said Langer: "I was very fortunate to find Bobby. He's a wonderful guy, great gentleman, and we loved being out there together."

Del Paso assistant pros Doug Dickson (U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Michael McCoy) and Mark Watson (Barry Lane) were called into emergency caddie duty Friday when the regulars became ill.

Watson, come here

Jon Blanchett and Betty Faciane both had one-day tickets to Friday's second round and chose to follow Tom Watson.

They were part of one of the largest galleries the first two days, a group that braved triple-digit temperatures for most of the round.

"I chose to follow Tom because he's great," said Faciane, a Rosemont resident and a member of the Sacramento Women's Golf Club. "He's a great, old golfer and old guys can still play."

Faciane and Blanchett both said they didn't intend to make the turn with Watson because of the heat, but after Watson holed a dramatic 10-footer to birdie the ninth, both hustled over to the 10th tee box to watch Watson swing again.

"What a putt," said Sacramento's Blanchett of Watson's putt that rolled along the front half of the ninth hole's lip before dropping. "I think I better keep watching. He's going to win this thing. To hell with the heat."

Et cetera

--Though it doesn't have exact numbers yet, United States Golf Association officials said they were expecting at least 20,000 spectators each weekend day. Daily walk-up tickets are selling briskly, the USGA said, and if Watson continues to be a contender those walk-up sales likely will soar.

--Mark O'Meara (right foot) and Steve Lowery (back) withdrew before the start of the second round.

--Because an unusually high number (72) of players made the cut (top 60 and ties), a two-tee start will be used Saturday beginning at 9:04 a.m. The leaders will begin at 11:05 a.m.

This article was written by Steve Pajak from The Sacramento Bee and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.