Being Price's caddie is cash, carry business

August 15, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

TULSA, Okla. -- A little more than a decade ago, Jeff "Squeeky" Medlen was an unemployed bricklayer for U.S. Steel in his hometown of Gary, Ind.

Now he is the most famous caddie -- not to mention the wealthiest -- in golf.

Yesterday's victory in the 76th PGA Championship by Nick Price gave Medlen one more victory in this tournament than his boss. "I've been very lucky," said Medlen.

That was certainly the case at the 1991 PGA at Crooked Stick, when Medlen carried the bag of an obscure rookie named John Daly after Price pulled out the day before the tournament began.

But it was Medlen's decision to accept Price's offer before the 1992 season that put him in line to work for a player who now is considered No. 1 in the world.

It came down to Price or Tom Watson, who had made Medlen a similar offer.

"My girlfriend said that she saw Nick's name on the leader board more than she saw Tom's," Medlen recalled last night. "And Nick played a lot more than Tom did.

"I guess I turned down one of the best players in the history of the game for a player who was about to become one of the best ever to play. Things have turned out pretty well."

Medlen, whose nickname was given him as a freshman in high school, has become something of a cult hero. His distinctive voice -- it has changed since high school -- often is heard on golf telecasts.

"It's fun, but I don't want it to get in the way of the job I have to do," said Medlen.

Medlen's cut for yesterday's victory was about 10 percent plus expenses, or a little more than $30,000. Considering that Price has made more than $5 million since winning the 1992 PGA, Medlen's decision to take up caddying has proved to be a correct one.

An up in a down year

This had been a tough year for former Woodmont Country Club pro Bob Boyd.

After leaving the Rockville club, Boyd found a job in a club in Hilton Head, S.C. But he recently lost that job, and was trying to make a living playing both the Nike Tour and something called the Hurricane Tour.

The Maryland graduate certainly showed how capable a player he is during the 76th PGA Championship. Boyd, 39, finished in a respectable tie for 30th at 4-over 284, giving him the best finish of any club pro.

"I played pretty well over the weekend," said Boyd, who shot a 71 yesterday. "I wasn't even thinking about it [being low pro]. I had hoped to get a couple under and shoot even-par for the tournament, but I came up a little short."

The name game

Most interesting leader board note of the day:

At the 17th hole, someone put the name "Hogan" followed by 8-under at the bottom.

"Jay Haas pointed it out to me," said Price. "I couldn't figure out what it meant."

Maybe that Price would have beaten anybody -- including Ben Hogan -- in this tournament.

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