All these years later Caddyshack still holds a place in the hearts of … caddies!
These are interesting times. My local paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, has had a weekly series called “One Movie, One Philly.” Bill Murray has made two appearances already: Groundhog Day (of course!) and Caddyshack. Gary Thompson, a longtime Philadelphia movie critic, did a Zoom session with Neil Oxman about it. Neil (a close friend of mine) has caddied in hundreds of Tour events and senior events, and has seen thousands of movies. Regarding Caddyshack, he told Thompson, “It’s been deconstructed more than Citizen Kane.” Neil’s an original.
Philadelphia has produced a number of interesting Tour caddies, Neil among them. Also Mike Mazzeo, who caddied for Fuzzy Zoeller for years. The late Nick DePaul, who worked, and survived, his years with Seve Ballesteros. They won the ’83 Masters together and the ’84 Open at St. Andrews. Mike Boyce, who caddied for Roger Maltbie in his colorful prime and Gil Morgan and various others.
For years to come, there will be Philadelphia caddies who go to college on scholarships named for Nick and Mike. Everybody knows about the Chick Evans caddie scholarship in Chicago. Herb Wind’s sister used to run a similar kind of program in Boston named for Francis Ouimet. The one in Philadelphia is named for an amateur named J. Wood Platt. Platt once opened a round at Pine Valley with these scores: birdie 3; eagle 2; hole-in-one; birdie 3. The 4th hole at Pine Valley is beside the clubhouse. He walked in and didn’t come out.
Caddyshack came out in late July 1980. It was still playing in theaters when the Tour came to upstate New York in late August for the B.C. Open. The B.C. Open was a holy week for caddies. There was a caddie tournament on the Monday after. There was a caddie-player softball game. Alex Alexander, the tournament director, had a soft spot for caddies. A bunch of loopers, Mike Boyce among them, went to see Caddyshack that week. It was a good year for movies: Raging Bull, Ordinary People — and Caddyshack. The Binghamton paper summed it up thusly: “Crude comedy about a golf club invaded by the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase.”
Invaded is a little strong. Ty Webb (Chevy) was a member at Bushwood C.C., and Al Czervik (Rodney) an invited guest. In any event, what Lawrence of Arabia is to serious film scholars, Caddyshack is to a whole bunch of caddies, working and retired. I’ll leave the rest of the deconstruction to Neil.
Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments or suggestions at Michael_Bamberger@golf.com.