Thursday, July 11

Review: 'Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk'

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By John Coyne

Bestselling author John Coyne became a caddie at Midlothian Country Club when he was 10 and oversaw the caddie yard as a teenager. Learn about his golf novels at

CADDIES HAVE FEATURED IN A surprising number of movies, including funny ones (Caddyshack), pretentious ones (The Legend of Bagger Vance), and even sexy ones (Tin Cup, although arguably the golfer in that one, Kevin Costner, is way sexier than the caddy, Cheech Marin).

But there has never been such a serious film about the second most important role in golf as a new documentary, Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk.

Narrated by Bill Murray, who caddied as a teenager on the west side of Chicago, the film tells the story of golf from the caddie's point of view, beginning with the first royal golfer, Mary Queen of Scots, who is often credited with coining the term caddie.

The role of caddies has changed dramatically over the centuries as reflected in their growing importance. Loopers' director, Jason Baffa, and writer, Carl Cramer, trace this development against the backdrop of the world's legendary courses, including St. Andrews in Scotland, Ballybunion in Ireland, Canterbury in Ohio, Pebble Beach in California and, of course, Augusta National in Georgia.

So the scenery is great, but the focus is on tales of the generations of men, boys and girls who've caddied for a living, starting with Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews and ending with Michael Greller, Jordan Spieth's tour caddie.

Their funny, sometimes heartbreaking stories explain how a gig that once brought in just enough cash to buy another drink became a seven-figure career.

Case in point: Greller. In 2012, as a young, married middle-school math teacher, he took a risky leap and started looping for Spieth. Since then he has earned an estimated $5 million, between his cut of Spieth's winnings and his own lucrative endorsement deals.

Caddies, of course, serve at the pleasure of their players, and the film corrals a number of major ones.

Tom Watson speaks movingly about his longtime caddie, the late Bruce Edwards (what the two-time Masters champion doesn't say: that when Edwards became seriously ill, Watson paid all his medical expenses). Nick Faldo tells the story of how he sought out and hired Fanny Sunesson, the first woman caddie on the PGA Tour.

The film also tips a hat to Chick Evans. While never a caddie, Evans did change the lives of many caddies, young men and women, by creating the Evans Scholars Foundation in 1930. Now supported by private country clubs across the nation, the Foundation has sent more than 10,000 caddies to college.

The caddie creed was always, "Show up. Keep up. Shut up." While that is still good advice, this film illuminates how much the club carrier's role has changed as the social gulf between caddies and players has narrowed since the first days of the feathery balls. It also shows that caddies still have a lot of good advice to give their players, and a lot to say after the round about the game of golf and the players who play.

Country clubs and golf organizations can rent the film for private showings as it makes its theatrical conclusion at:

The film can also be preordered on iTunes now at:

DVDs are due for delivery in late summer.

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