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Caddies take aim at TPC Sawgrass to honor one of their own

Graeme McDowell (R) looks on as his caddie, Ken Comboy, takes a shot at the 17th hole's island green.

May 8, 2013

By Michael Curet, Special to

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- PGA TOUR players took a break from their practice rounds on Wednesday to watch their caddies take on TPC Sawgrass' 17th hole during THE PLAYERS Championship's annual caddie competition in memory of Bruce Edwards.

Edwards, a former Ponte Vedra Beach resident and longtime caddie for Tom Watson, died in 2004 from ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease").

As players stepped up to the 17th tee box, they had the opportunity to contribute to a prize fund for the caddies. The closest to the pin after the last group tees off took home the money.

At the end of the day, nobody had hit a better shot than Y.E. Yang's caddie, who stuck it to within 4 feet, 7 inches.  Jason Dufner's caddie Kevin Baile hit his tee shot to 8 feet, 7 inches.

One of the noteworthy moments of recognition came when last week's Wells Fargo Championship winner Derek Ernst stepped up to applause at the 17th hole with his caddie, Aaron Terry.  Neither expected to be here this week.

"I've started teaching Derek when he was 10 and have caddied for him since he was around 15," said Terry. "It's all overwhelming.  I'm just going to step up there and see what happens."

 Last year's champion Brent Henley, caddie for Robert Garrigus, has been reminded about his title defense all year long by his boss.

"We have fun with it," said Garrigus, who has used everything from a seven-iron to a sand wedge in his career attempts on No. 17. "Brent's got bragging rights. It's unfortunate, but he hit it to about 2 feet, seven inches last year and I think I've only gotten it to five or seven feet over the years. We both know that I'd rather hit it close in competition than have him it close."

When it was clear that Henley's 2013 attempt fell short, Henley calmly grabbed the bag from Garrigus and went back to work. 

Graeme McDowell made sure he recorded every second of caddie Ken Comboy's big moment, even double-checking club selection as his caddie teed it up.

"It's a lot of fun," said McDowell. "And he won here a few years ago too. We've come through some good times and hard times together.  He's been with me seven years now.  He's a very good friend, coach, mentor.  We've had a special relationship and I'm glad we can have this moment."

In addition to the prize money, the winning caddie will also receive a VIP parking spot in the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse lot for the week.

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