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Who's Your Caddy?: Looping for the Great, Near Great, and Reprobates of Golf [Paperback]

Rick Reilly
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 4 2004
Who knows a golfer best? Who’s with them every minute of every round, hears their muttering, knows whether they cheat? Their caddies, of course. So sportswriter Rick Reilly figured that he could learn a lot about the players and their game by caddying, even though he had absolutely no idea how to do it. Amazingly, some of the best golfers in the world—including Jack Nicklaus, David Duval, Tom Lehman, John Daly, Jill McGill of the LPGA tour, and Casey Martin—agreed to let Reilly carry their bags at actual PGA and LPGA Tour events. To round out his portrait of the golfing life, Reilly also persuaded Deepak Chopra and Donald Trump to take him on as a caddy, accompanied the four highest-rolling golf hustlers in Las Vegas around the course, and carried the bag for a blind golfer.

In the same inimitable style that makes his back-page column for Sports Illustrated a must-read for more than fifteen million people every week, Reilly combines a wicked wit with an expert’s eye in the most original and entertaining look at golf ever.

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From Amazon

To really know someone, as the saying goes, you must walk a mile in their shoes. But to really understand a golfer, you've got to work as their caddy. Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly managed to get some very intriguing golfers to let him lug their bag and write what he learned both about the game and the folks who play it. Going hole to hole with them let Reilly know a different side of veterans such as John Daly, David Duval, Tom Lehman, and Jack Nicklaus. But Reilly also went beyond the pros to caddy for Deepak Chopra, Donald Trump, professional gambler Dewey Tomko, and Bob Newhart. In some cases, the portraits that emerge fall directly in line with the popular image but at other times it's just the opposite. Daly is sober but has shifted his addiction to massive amounts of Diet Coke, candy, and marriages; Duval is intensely driven during rounds but surprisingly laid back and friendly off the course; Chopra's inner peace is locked in a mortal battle with the inherent frustrations of golf; and Trump manages to be both an egomaniac and a pretty nice fellow. And although he's on assignment to profile his temporary employers, Reilly emerges as an entertaining figure in his own right as he commits numerous faux pas, breaks taboos, infuriates multiple golfers and caddies, accidentally dumps all of Nicklaus's clubs onto the turf in the middle of a round, and discovers that caddying is tougher than it looks. Reilly walks a nice line with the tone of Who's Your Caddy?: it's reverent to the game without becoming a misty-eyed poetic ode, and it's laugh-out-loud funny without being nasty or low brow. And while golf fans will certainly appreciate it, Who's Your Caddy? is an impressive book for fans of biography in general. --John Moe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Hilarious misadventures, catty gossip and downright embarrassing facts are only part of the appeal of this deftly written journal by Sports Illustrated writer Reilly (Missing Links). Caddying for a golf pro just might be every amateur golfer's dream. Reilly managed to talk 11 players, media personalities and one infamous gambler into letting him follow them inside the ropes, even though he had no experience as a caddy and showed that fact so many times that John Daly nicknamed him "Dumbshit." Consider spilling Jack Nicklaus's clubs out onto the wet ground, just as he asks you for a new ball. Or leaving David Duval's golf clubs in the locker room overnight (the ones he won the British Open with) and not being able to find them the next morning. Self-help guru Deepak Chopra recently took up the game and proved that although he may be able to control the aging process, hitting driver is beyond his mystical powers. Reilly gets serious while carrying Casey Martin's bag, the pro golfer who sued the PGA Tour for the right to ride a golf cart during tournaments (Martin suffers from a rare leg disorder that makes every step excruciatingly painful). Billionaire Donald Trump, comedian Bob Newhart, beautiful LPGA pro Jill McGill, Tom Lehman (there's a "Jimmy Stewart decency about him"), legendary gambler Dewey Tomko and blind golfer Bob Andrews round out the field and provide Reilly ample inspiration for a truly funny, don't-miss read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly average May 17 2004
By A Customer
A writer with Reilly's pedigree, access, and connections should be able to write a better book. These days, all sports writers seem to want to seem as funny and as ironically hopeless as possible, and it ruins their efforts. Reilly ridicules his caddying ability ad nauseum, when in fact everyone KNOWS he's supposed to be bad. This is just veiled irony, of course, because he wouldn't run down his bag-carrying skills if he didn't already have a good gig at Sports Illustrated.
There's a difference between taking us into John Daly's private world, and allowing himself to wallow in it. What do we end up knowing about Daly that (a) we wanted to know, and (b) didn't already know? Nothing. What we get is Reilly living the vicarious thrill of hanging out with a guy who might just implode at any moment.
This book is just one more step toward the merger of sports, sports journalism, and entertainment. You know, the world where goateed sports enthusiasts come up with cutesy little diminutives of every athlete's name, and every writer/broadcaster has to find a way to be part of the story. In golf this is particularly annoying, because the players usually play along (e.g., the insufferable Jimmy Buffett-wannabe Gary McCord) and, suddenly, golf journalism becomes a parody of itself.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Majestically unfunny May 13 2004
Reilly is like the kid in high school who tries sooo hard to be funny: some of the jokes he tells might indeed be good, but the sheer, focused effort to "be funny" conveys a sad idiocy to it. Many of his "funny" lines read like they should be accompanied by a vaudeville cymbal-crash, or at very least the canned laughs of 70s sitcoms. His relentless self-deprecating fun-poking at his own caddying inability comes across as contrived in someone who, at other junctures in the book, is revealed to be a solid low-to-no handicap player. The sections on Trump and Jill McGill were decent. The rest was a write-off, and revealed no more abut the inner workings of tour golf that you can glean attending a practice round at any tournament. The snippets of translated "caddy lingo" are pitiful, and by the end of the book I was simply skipping them outright.
This book will appeal to some tastes - after all, even "Blind Date" and "Maury" find audiences... somewhere. If you love watching "Grey Goose 19th Hole" on Golf Channel, or you tape or TiVo episodes of "Peter Jacobsen Unplugged", buy the book with no second thoughts. Otherwise, redeploy your money to another piece of golf literature (Ken Venturi's "Up and Down...", for instance) and you'll be glad you did.
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Overall, this CD set is a great deal of fun to listen to, as Reilly knows golf and golfers well. Somehow or other, he managed to caddy for several professional and prominent golfers: John Daly, David Duval, and Donald Trump, to name a few. Reilly is more than willing to describe in detail his mistakes as an inexperienced caddy; he has the ability to make the listener visualize exactly what the embarrassment factor was for each "goof." Reader Grover Gardner is excellent at portraying the author's emotions. Working together, Reilly and Gardner make the experiences so real that listeners can almost hear the rattle of clubs before one of the professional caddies shows Reilly how to stop them from shaking in the bag and disturbing his golfer. Two of the golfers, Casey Martin and Bob Andrews, play with physical handicaps: Martin, who is the only professional golfer allowed to ride in a golf cart by a Supreme Court decision, plays with continual pain; Andrews is blind. Reilly's descriptions of their courage and competitiveness display great sensitivity and are extremely effective. The only chapter that fails is the one involving LPGA golfer Jill McGill, where Reilly's attitude abruptly changes to patronizing and supercilious as he describes the women's golf tour. Recommended for all audio collections, but primarily for men
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1.0 out of 5 stars Out of Bounds March 31 2004
Not exactly Herbert Warren Wind here. Rick Reilly's attempt at a humorous peek at life on the other side of the ropes falls well short of the green. Of the twelve chapters, each detailing time spent carrying the bag of a celebrity, only two or three are of any interest. The highlights of the book perhaps include the stories on blind golfer Bob Andrew, crippled Casey Martin, and David Duval - with a glimpse of the family tragedy that colors his game. And in all fairness, I learned a bit more about the LPGA. Yet the constant snickering about the idiosyncracies, different biology, and lifestyle preferences of women pros were consistent with the bulk of this book: written for an audience in a third grade bathroom.
We learn for instance that the author gets a first hand glimpse of why John Daly is nicknamed "Long John", and that Brad Faxon's caddy measures yardage "You got 189 plus OJ" (meaning 2 for two murders,) or "It's 201 plus Anna (Kournikova, a perfect 10)." We're subjected to a discussion with self-help mystic Deepak Chopra that describes how to keep cool or hot on the golf course. Naturally, the answer involves a bodily aperture below the belt. Even worse, we endure Reilly's retelling of Bob Newhart's old jokes. As you might suspect, Reilly's poor delivery leaves the reader wishing he or she just found the old Newhart albums on [...].

Beyond the premise that a rookie caddy might have a truly difficult time keeping pace with professional golfers the yuks are pretty dull. Reilly's self-deprecating jokes about dropping clubs, spilling bags, and misreading yardages grows old fast. After the first few pages, we get it.
The chapter on (famous?) gambler Dewey Tomko and his high-roller friends is mind-bogglingly offensive.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Revolting
The chapter on John Daly and in other parts makes this the kind of book that is dis-tasteful. As the Amazon people know I read a winde range of books and books are my hobby and I... Read more
Published on May 4 2005 by Jim Willis
2.0 out of 5 stars "Quite Distasteful" Old Chap
The book starts off well, but the chapter about John Daly is really distasteful. Irony is, Reilly falls into the hole he dug for Daly. Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by Mr. Money
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh-out-loud funny
Talk about inside the ropes! "Who's Your Caddy" makes "A Good Walk Spoiled" look like it was researched and written in Feinstein's basement. Read more
Published on April 21 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Double Bogie
Not exactly Herbert Warren Wind here. Rick Reilly's attempt at a humorous peek at life on the other side of the ropes falls well short of the green. Read more
Published on March 26 2004 by S. A. Cartwright
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud
Look - if you have ever played golf, attended a tournament and followed a weekend tournament then you will laugh at this book. Missing Links made me laugh and so does this book. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars What fun!!
This is one book you will want to read over and over. An absolute riot in some places, poignant in others. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by Richard L. Hubbell
1.0 out of 5 stars Can I give no stars?
Reilly is the master of the one-liner -- the hacked-out, ridiculously over-the-top one-liner. Want to know what John Daly is packing behind his zipper? Reilly is your man. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I love Reilly's work for the most part, but this is the same, tired joke, over and over. He repeats the same lines ad infinitum (just count how often he cites "spam"). Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid at all cost...an unplayable lie
This is a stinker of a book. It has little or nothing to do with caddying for the rich and famous or not so. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004 by John R. Linnell
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