DREAM WIN

Tracy Tatom on get­ting a last minute caddy job for Daniel Nis­bet, win­ner of the NZ Open.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENT -

Tracy said the week never looked promis­ing to get a caddy job but the call came when he was sit­ting in the club­house at Ar­row­town on the Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. My golf­ing buddy and fel­low caddy Der­mot and I were sit­ting back af­ter our round when Der­mot got the call from the cad­dy­mas­ter to say he had a pro bag and did he or Tracy want it. Der­mot looked at me and said you can have it. An­drew, the cad­dy­mas­ter, told me to meet Daniel at The Hills driv­ing range at 11am on Thurs­day morn­ing. “I had never heard of Daniel Nis­bet be­fore” (he had played the NZ Open 5-times pre­vi­ously for one top 10 fin­ish) so I was un­sure how good he was so need­less to say I never put a sly $10 to win on him at the TAB at odds of $126 - 1!

But Tracy quickly saw that Daniel had game and about the 3rd hole in he was im­pressed with Daniel's crisp ball strik­ing. At the end of day one Tracy had watched a bo­gey free 9-un­der 63 and Daniel was sit­ting one shot of the lead. He did have to con­fess the sin­gle strap titleist tour bag was a lit­tle heavy on the first round but it did get lighter as the birdie putts started to drop. The high­light of the round was when play­ing the 13th hole he smoked his drive and striped a 3iron to 15 feet. Two pure shots and a missed ea­gle but tapped in for easy birdie!

Tracy was also quick to re­al­ize that Daniel liked to chat about any­thing but golf be­tween shots. Over the ball we would talk about the yardage and the shape of the shot needed. But like most golfers Daniel had a cou­ple of rules in that the clubs al­ways had to be in the right place and I couldn't hand him a club as it was im­por­tant to him to pull it from the bag. I also learn't quickly not to touch the end of the black gloss put­ter as the fin­ger marks were tough to rub away and Daniel wanted a pure gloss fin­ish.

They com­fort­ably made the cut on Fri­day and for Tracy who had made the cut in 3 out of the last 4-years he was com­fort­able car­ry­ing the bag on the Satur­day. But it was a lit­tle more spe­cial as it was the first time he was in the lead­ing group just one shot be­hind Terry Pilka­daris. He could sense noth­ing was re­ally hap­pen­ing but they still cruised to a smooth 4-un­der 67 and the ball strik­ing was pretty flush. It was a chal­lenge to keep Daniel pos­i­tive when Terry Pilka­daris was on fire as he cruised around Mill­brook shoot­ing 62 but we just kept chat­ting and go­ing about our busi­ness.

Tracy could see that the Sun­day morn­ing range ses­sion was re­ally good and he and Daniel dis­cussed stay­ing pos­i­tive and go­ing for pins. They re­al­ized that if they got off to a good start any­thing was pos­i­tive and if it hap­pens it hap­pens but they were still 5-shots be­hind Terry Pilka­daris.

Get­ting through the front nine in 3-un­der par but stand­ing on the 10th tee Daniel knew he needed to do the busi­ness! The ea­gle putt he made on ten was huge. Daniel was ex­tremely fo­cused over that put and that re­ally lifted him into con­tention and he was pumped and that this was go­ing to be some­thing pretty spe­cial. Play­ing the back nine 6-un­der par and fin­ish­ing with four birdies in the last five holes un­der the pres­sure was amaz­ing and I could sense the mo­men­tum change and Daniel win­ning of the tour­na­ment. But for Tracy stand­ing in the mid­dle of the 17th fair­way on Sun­day was pretty cool as he and Daniel is gen­er­ally a chatty per­son but when I saw him stand­ing qui­etly on the 18th tee I knew that I needed to get him en­gaged in to what had to be done and to not start think­ing. We talked about the yardage, picked the tar­get in the mid­dle of the green and sure enough his 9-iron went ex­actly where it was sup­pose to go! Daniel talked about what needed to be done. With the front right sucker pin was a solid 7-iron but we looked at 180-me­tres be­ing a safe yardage to the mid­dle of the green and so the 6-iron was the play and then it was a long 30-me­tre put from the top tier down to the front for a safe 2-putt birdie 4.

Daniel is gen­er­ally a chatty per­son but when I saw him stand­ing qui­etly on the 18th tee I knew that I needed to get him en­gaged in to what had to be done and not to start think­ing. We talked about the yardage, picked the tar­get in the mid­dle of the green and sure enough his 9-iron went ex­actly where it was sup­pose to go!

The first putt went a tad fur­ther than Daniel ex­pected but he made a solid 1.5-me­tre putt back to the hole. For Tracy it wasn't un­til Daniel handed him the put­ter on the 18th green be­fore he said “I think you may have just won the NZ Open”. Daniel was pretty emo­tional but we weren't 100% sure where we stood with Terry play­ing in the group be­hind us. It was pos­si­ble for Terry to fin­ish birdie birdie to tie Daniel but when he made par on 17 we knew only a mir­a­cle shot had the abil­ity to tie us!

Once Tracy ti­died up af­ter the round and put the clubs away it was time to re­flect on what had just hap­pened. Sit­ting in the Cham­pi­ons Lounge with my mate Der­mot who had said to me on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon “you take the bag” was pretty sur­real. Daniel had dis­ap­peared into the me­dia scrum. Tracy ad­mit­ted it did take him a cou­ple of beers be­fore it started to sink in and re­al­ize dreams can come true!

Hav­ing cad­died at five pre­vi­ous NZ Open's he was fully aware that cad­dy­ing is rolling the dice and you never know who is go­ing to be on the best bag. Heck for a caddy from the tour­na­ment caddy pool to be on the win­ners bag is sim­ply amaz­ing as the top play­ers all bring their own pro­fes­sional cad­dies so for a club golfer like me to have this thrill is sim­ply amaz­ing! I know Jor­dan Zu­nic also won with a caddy pool caddy (Jaimes Woods “Woody” from

Heck for a caddy from the tour­na­ment caddy pool to be on the win­ners bag is sim­ply amaz­ing as the top play­ers all bring their own pro­fes­sional cad­dies so for a club golfer like me to have this thrill is sim­ply amaz­ing!

Royal Welling­ton Golf Club).

Tracy is quick to add yes he has the 18th hole flag from the 72nd green as per the caddy tra­di­tion and ar­range­ments are al­ready in place to carry Daniel's bag next year. But for now Tracy is look­ing to his next golf­ing bucket list ad­ven­ture as he heads to the Masters at Au­gusta with his golf­ing mates from the Christchurch Golf Club.

Tracy Tatom drinks from the Brodie Breeze Chal­lenge Cup.

Daniel Nis­bet and his caddy Tracy Tatom pose with the Brodie Breeze Chal­lenge Cup.

Daniel Nis­bet poses with the Brodie Breeze Chal­lenge Cup.

Daniel Nis­bet and his caddy Tracy Tatom.

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