IMAGINE BEING ON THE BAG for Curtis Strange, John Daly, David Duval, Mark O’Meara, Scott Hoch and Gil Morgan. One word comes to mind: intense.
Greg Rita, who died Saturday on his 54th birthday after a two and a half year battle with brain cancer, strode the fairways with those and other players in a PGA Tour career that spanned more than three decades.
Nicknamed “Boats,” Rita looped for Strange when he won consecutive U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989, the first repeat winner in 40 years. And he was the bag man when Big John was presented the Claret Jug at St. Andrews in 1995. Rita was inducted into the Professional Caddies Association Hall of Fame in 2000.
In his 2nd Annual David Feherty Golden Ferrets, Feherty conferred ferret status on Rita and wrote, “It’s not the same without you. And we don’t care if part of your brain is missing. (In fact, to be a caddie it’s almost a prerequisite.) So get your ass back out here. We miss you. We love you.”
The caddie fought hard. “If there’s a way, I’ve got the will to get through this,” Rita said in 2008. He is survived by his wife and 4-year-old son. He will be greatly missed by fellow caddies, players and others throughout the golf world.
−The Armchair Golfer