Got a chance to watch it and was very moved with how much impact Bruce had on so many people. Tom Watson is one of the toughest minded guys ever on the tour. Last year when he just missed winning The Open, a heartbreaking loss in which he had a six-footer to win it on 18. He was one putt away from winning a major at 59-years old. It was a pretty amazing thing and such a heartbreaking loss for Watson and many golf fans who love the guy.
In the press conference afterwards, Tom was his typical self saying, "What is this, a funeral?" Tom didn't cry or show a lot of emotion. He was gracious in losing, but strong. I like when some guys get emotional, Mark Ingram stood out as a genuinely moving, emotional moment. But it's also impressive when a guy controls himself and basically says, "It's just a golf tournament; it's not life." It is their livelihood and that's important, but there is a lot more to life; family friends, faith in God.
When Tom talked about the day Bruce died (April 8, 2004) there were tears rolling down his cheeks and that's highly unusual for Tom. They were more than just caddie-golfer and really more than friends. They were like brothers. Tom told the story of when he was on number seven at Spyglass later in his career and he crushed a drive on the par 5 hole. He told Bruce he was going to lay up; it was 235 to the front. Bruce disagreed. Tom finally in an intense tone and almost yelling, said, "What do I need to lay up?" Bruce responded by saying "you chicken blank, it's blankin a three wood to the front and a seven iron to lay up." Tom just kind of laughed. He respected that. While Bruce totally had Watson's back, he didn't back down from Tom when he thought he was doing what was in his best interest. Tom never said what he used on the hole and if he went for it. You got the feeling he did.
One of the most famous moments in golf in my life was the 17th at Pebble in the '82 U.S. Open. Tom hit a shot right of the pin in the rough. Tom told Bruce he was dead. Bruce told him he could get up and down. Tom had the confidence from Bruce that when Bruce said, "Let's get it close," Tom said, "Get it close? I'm going to make it." He did and beat Nicklaus for his only U.S. Open in his career. Tom won eight majors. Bruce was on the bag for the U.S., probably his most famous victory.
Then at Olympia Fields in 2003 when Bruce was dying from Lou Gehrig's Disease, Bruce caddied for Tom in that U.S. Open. Everybody was chanting Bruce's name after Watson shot a 65 the first day to share the lead. At the end of the tourney where Tom finished tied for 28th, Bruce gave a speech and said working for Tom, "Was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life." Tom had to be so touched that someone besides his wife and kids cared for him that much. They had such an impact on each other.
"Caddy For Life," was surprising to me. I had heard a great review on it, but didn't know what to expect. I had never kept up with Bruce that much so went into it just to see what it was about. It was something else. He was something else. He touched so many people and was so beloved by golfers, fellow caddies and his family and that includes Tom Watson as a family member. So many people spoke on his behalf during the documentary. Caddies, players like Greg Norman, whom he caddied for for a brief time, John Cook, Arnie, Jack, Jay Haas. It was amazing how much they cared about him. He was to caddying what Jack and Arnie were to playing the game. A pioneer. He made caddying a distinguished career for guys like Steve Williams (Tiger) and Jim "Bones" MacKay (Phil) who have reaped the benefits of Bruce's work ethic, passion and charisma.
Great story, great life, great person. A life cut short at too young an age, but a life well lived for sure.
(Bruce and Tom pictured above)