In an earlier post about the differences between the 1991 PGA Championship and the 2012 BMW Championship both held at Crooked Stick, “The PGA Tour & Crooked Stick: Then and Now”, we speculated that it was highly unlikely that any player who competed in the ’91 PGA would qualify for the ’12 BMW. That ended up being the case. However, there is at least one person who was inside the ropes 21 years ago who is back in the same position this year. Longtime PGA Tour caddie Tony Navarro.
Navarro is probably best known for being on Greg Norman’s bag for many years. And most recently looped for another Aussie, Adam Scott. At this week’s BMW Championship, he’s working for Bud Cauley. But at the ’91 PGA he was caddieing for Jeff Sluman (who tied for 61st back then). When asked if he remembered the course, Navarro admitted, “Not really. I remember it was long.” Which is true. At the time, Crooked Stick played as one of the longest courses in championship history. When it was pointed out that it’s even longer now, the veteran caddie said, “Yeah, but it’s not playing as long. The guys are hitting it a lot farther now.” Which he attributes to the technological advances of the ball.
“Sure, the players are better conditioned now,” he continued. “And they have all the launch angle and spin rate stuff. But the balls are just hotter.”
Already one of the best-liked caddies around, Navarro further endeared himself to golf fans for what he did at the recent Wyndham Championship. With Navarro on the bag, Bud Cauley was in the final group with eventual winner Sergio Garcia. Garcia had just split with his caddie and had a young local caddie, David Faircloth, working for him that week. On the 18th green as Garcia was about to win his first PGA Tour tournament in four years, Navarro could see how overwhelmed Faircloth was. Navarro unscrewed the flag from the 18th pin and gave the flag to Faircloth, saying, “Well done this week. This is yours.”
Navarro later told the New York Times, “That flag is kind of our trophy. I figured he didn’t know, so I just did the right thing and gave it to him.”
Welcome back to Crooked Stick, Tony.
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