My National Moment: Military Caddies
Since its inception in 2007, the Quicken Loans National has been a leader in honoring our nation’s armed forces. With over 330,000 complimentary tickets distributed to military members and half price tickets to veterans, the tournament gives back to those who serve. Of all the service men and women who attend the Quicken Loans National each year, a select few have the moment of a lifetime as a honorary caddie.
During the Quicken Loans National Pro-Am, TGR Live invites service members to serve as a caddie for the pro’s on the designated military hole of the tournament. This year’s military hole is the 16th hole, a 412-yard par 4 at TPC Potomac whose green is in front of the Lockheed Martin Military Pavilion, making the experience even more special.
The military caddie tradition began in 2007 and has provided over 250 military members the opportunity to caddie for the pros. Every pro is paired with a military member on the tee and given the full pro experience. From wearing a commemorative camouflage caddie bib, to handing the pro his clubs, walking step-by-step down the fairway and helping to read the greens, the experience is fully immersive. It goes even a step or two further with a hand shake, an autograph and occasionally the chance to hit a putt or two.
This year’s group of 26 caddies represents all five branches of service and has a collective 380 years of military service. Senior Chief Petty Officer Steve Pacheco of the Coast Guard is the longest tenured service member with 25 years of service. Master Sergeant Adam Harbold of the Air Force had the unique opportunity to carry the bags for two-time tournament champion Tiger Woods during Wednesday’s round. Harbold, who after 20 years of active service will be retiring at the end of the year, told Tiger that the moment was an early retirement gift.
It was a electric atmosphere on the 16th tee all day. Every amateur golfer, PGA TOUR professional and pro caddie took the time to shake the hand of every military caddie before the caddie was introduced to the crowd. Petty Officer 3rd Class Jay Jarvis of the Coast Guard who caddied for past tournament champion and Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley III, corrected the starter after his introduction reminding him to add five additional years of service to the groups total to account for Billy’s time as a Lieutenant in the Navy.