PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (June 21, 2010) -- It's no secret that Casey Boyns, -- a long time friend of mine, and amateurgolf.com shown in the photo on the left -- has some serious game, having won the California State Amateur twice at Pebble Beach and being elected to the California Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. And while many of you know that Boyns is a long time caddie at Pebble Beach, you may not be aware that he was on the bag of Jason Allred at this year's Open - and that he also worked the 1982 and 2000 events. Including this year, his "cuts made" record is 2 for 3 (and, he told me, the third time, for Bill Bergin in 1982, he was a single shot from working the weekend).
I spoke with Casey this morning, and got a few amazing tidbits that I will share with you in no particular order. Let's start out with the 11pm celebration in Carmel with "G Mac," and his buddies Lee Westwood and some very lucky locals:
So, where did McDowell go to celebrate?
That would be a place called Brophy's in Carmel, where the public had to wait at the door, but where Champion Graeme McDowell, his buddies (such as Lee Westwood) and a bunch of locals were treated to a night they will never forget. McDowell, who said at the Press Conference "I might come back if I ever sober up," brought his entire entourage to Brophy's and took pictures, signed autographs, and at one time got behind the bar. "I can't believe I missed that," said Boyns. "I should have known better. He's Irish - of course he was going to be out celebrating."
Shot of the tournament for Boyns' "loop" - Jason Allred
"That's easy, it was on the 2nd hole [I forget which round, ed.] where Jason was in the left fairway bunker. I remember being there in a sudden death playoff with Spencer Levin and it's a tough spot - I tried to hit 6-iron. Jason launched a 7-iron from a sidehill lie over a big lip to about 10 feet. It was definitely the shot of the tourney and one of the best I ever ever seen," said Boyns, who has seen a lot of shots at Pebble, to say the least.
More on the long-hitting Allred
Allred, who contacted Boyns through the Pebble Beach golf shop after qualifying for the Open, needed a caddie because he does play as much as when he last had PGA Tour status in 2008. The Ashland, Oregon native graduated from Pepperdine in 2002. At 6 foot 2, 175 pounds, he's kind of lanky and can really get it out there with his big arc. "We hit 9 iron into No. 2 [the 503 yard par 4] and 5 iron/7-iron into No. 8 almost every day," said Boyns. "On the third day, he hit sand wedge into No. 9" That hole may have been down wind, but still...
Being on the clock
The USGA put Allred on the clock several times during the tournament. Casey told me that it definitely affected him on those holes, and that one of their playing partners on Friday, Erik Compton, was definitely knocked out his usual rhythm. (The other, Georgia's Russell Henley, who tied for low amateur, took everything in stride.) Here's how it works. The first time the offending player gets a warning. After that, they get 40 seconds from the time it's their turn to hit to make their stroke. A roving marshall follows and times each shot. For the first offense (after the warning) it's one stroke, and it's two strokes the next time. "We never got penalized, but I think it cost him at least a couple of shots, especially in a stretch from No's 6-8 where Jason missed a couple of easy birdie chances," said Boyns.
The other "shot heard round the world" by Jack Nicklaus and the famous 17th hole
We've all seen the replays of Jack Nicklaus' famous 1 iron shot into the 17th hole. Boyns was there to witness it first hand. Here's his account:
"The first year the Open was at Pebble was actually my best chance to work, because they had a lottery then. Tour players couldn't bring their regular caddies to majors - they had to use the club's, and I was an alternate. I worked No. 8 as a spotter the first three days, and did No. 14 on the final day. Once Nicklaus' group came through, I followed them the rest of the way in. So I was right there when he hit that shot. He hit the shot, and actually kind of turned it over - then the crowd went wild."
Like today, the 17th hole is not only a tough par three, but the putting surface is blind to the player so the best indication of a quality shot is the crowd in the bleachers on the right. I experienced this when walking with amateur Scott Langley's group - his 5-iron (hey, it was a nice day) from the back tee launched as high as I hit a 9-iron, hit the front of the green, and rolled just over the cup to settle at kick in distance. The reaction from the crowd was huge. But mostly, you either hear nothing, or groans.