Home' Golf Plus : Golf Plus Issue 12 Contents LUKE ELVY
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good grouping for ‘us’. Both are quality
players who would be competitive in
the event and easygoing.
There’s no rolling up 15 minutes ahead
of your tee time in the pros; usually
players arrive around two hours ahead
of time to ensure a proper preparation
before their opening tee shot. An
appointment with Kim Davis, the PGA
Tour physiotherapist, to loosen up
his tight back, was followed by a light
lunch. This was my time to sort out the
Fourteen clubs (check), enough golf
balls (check), sun cream (check), wet
weather gear (well, it is Melbourne,
check), umbrella (no!). I start panicking,
and all of a sudden I’m rushing around
like a headless chook trying to locate
one. Thankfully, the boys in the pro
shop have one I can borrow for the
All up the bag weighs about 15
kilograms. It takes broad shoulders to
lug these things around, even with the
double strap—full respect to all who do it
The warm-up routine begins an hour
ahead of time and consists of roughly 10
minutes on the putting green, 25 at the
range, 10 for chipping and bunker play,
then another five back on the green,
leaving five minutes to get to the first
Gardiner’s warm-up is solid, the ball
is singing off his irons and he appears
relaxed. Even I nail a few one-liners
early. It feels good to be inside the ropes
with some of the stars of Australian
golf. I say to Jarrod Lyle that if my boy
doesn’t win, I hope he does. He smiles—
it’s hard not to cheer for the big guy.
A quick “lets go mate, we’re on!” is
all I need to say as we head to the first
tee, but for some reason I throw in a
“it’s showtime!” like it’s a title fight. I
remind myself I’m not on TV this year,
and park that type of gibberish for the
rest of the day.
The first tee is full of jovial hellos.
There’s only enough time for quick
conversations, grab scorecards, caddie
bibs, drinks and bananas before the
players are introduced. There’s also
nervousness in the air, but more from
the three novice caddies—I was not the
only ‘nuffy’ out there.
Gardiner hands me Goggin’s
scorecard; I realise I’ve got another
responsibility. I’ve done it a thousand
times, I think, surely I can’t stuff it up.
Immediately, thoughts of past DQs
for incorrect scorecards run through
my mind—not a good thought from a
positive bloke like myself.
A flushed three-wood down the
first fairway and we’re off. I notice a
moderate crowd following the group,
but there’ll be no need to hush rowdy
fans, even less smash any cameras.
Outside of the player’s family and
friends, I could count the crowd on two
Scott’s dad, Tom, and mother, Gloria,
are there, plus his best mate, Richard
Strong. As my roomie for the week and
Gardiner’s regular caddie in Australia,
Richie has been a great help, giving tips
and a helping hand when required, a
much-needed safety net.
Early conversation in the group
centred on how each caddie had the
role and how brilliant Metro was
looking. Despite playing on the PGA,
Web.com and Asian Tours, this is easily
one of the best courses they’d played all
year. “It’s good to be playing proper golf
again,” says Goggin. Everyone gives a
A few solid pars early set the tone
for Gardiner’s opening round. He hit
enough high-quality shots to shoot
a few under, but the putter didn’t
cooperate and an even-par 71 was a
solid start. Neither of us excelled or
struggled—it was a decent day’s work.
Both Griffin and Goggin card two-
under 69s, which was inside the top 10—
Gards was hovering around the top 30.
Still, dinner tasted good that night as we
discussed life on the PGA Tour and how
impressive it is in the United States.
DAY TWO: A 7 o’clock tee-time meant
everyone had to be up for a 4:30 a.m.
departure from the hotel. I made
certain nothing was left behind, giving
an impromptu roll call followed by one
last check of the golf bag.
“Gards, where’s your putter?” He had
taken it out to do a bit of extra practice.
“It comes down to
managing your player,”
said veteran pro Mathew
Goggin. “ You’re almost
like a psychologist.”
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