I spoke to eight retired golfers, current caddies, and ex-PGA workers. All spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the cases of the former players, some earn attendance fees for certain charity events or have good friends who are still playing, while each of the others whom I interviewed have continuing business relationships with the PGA or earn income from tournaments that they are not willing to risk by going public.
These sources recounted stories of “hounds” or “wild men” inside the small professional fraternity. One of the names that came up the most: John Daly.
“I’ve been told ’Look around the ropes,’” says one caddie. “’See who is easy on the eyes.’”
Caddies frequently pull the prettiest girls out of the autograph line, often offering a private chat with the pro. The caddy then often serves as the go-between. Players never give out their telephone number or contact information, instead leaning on the caddy as a trusted arranger. It partly explains why some caddies get paid so well—often, with a percentage of the winnings—to carry a bag and judge breaks on the green.
For the more sophisticated groupies - the Pamela Des Barres - there are better ways to get close without actually standing in the galleries with the rest of the hoi polloi
But most of the girls who hang out looking to bed a golfer don’t wait on the fairways. Tournaments are a multi-day affair and walking around the course after a desired target isn’t the best way to land him.
“Some of the girls become tournament volunteers,” one retired player tells me. “That way they can run errands, or drive the players to the driving range or other places. It’s the best chance for a one-on-one.”
Others who are more versed in tournament life wrangle invitations to PGA dinners or special tournament social events. And the “real pros,” says one ex player, “know the hotels and resorts where every player is staying. It’s not that hard to determine.”
“You’d be surprised if you check the bios of all the pros,” one caddie tells me, “how many say they met their wife at this or that tournament.” That doesn’t mean that every wife who met her pro golfing husband at a tournament was a groupie, but it’s another sign of how much social and extracurricular life is part of the pro tour.
All very entertaining, but - come on - is any of this surprising? Anywhere you care to look, there's a lot going on behind closed doors.