‘That was pretty bold’: Caddie pulls tourney leader off shot — during backswing

Lee Hodges on Saturday after stopping during his backswing on the 8th hole at the PGA West Stadium Course.

Golf Channel

Lee Hodges stood over his ball, then backed off. The wind on the par-5 8th at the PGA West Stadium Course had changed directions, and he changed his mind on the 212-yard shot. He pulled a different club from his bag, his caddie, Robert Peeler, backed away again, and he addressed his ball again. 

And again the wind blew. 

While the shot of this American Express tournament is still to be decided, its shout came during Saturday’s third round. 

“Hold up, hold up,” Peeler screamed to the right of his man. And Hodges did. 

During his backswing. 

But hold up: Has a caddie ever stopped a player in the middle of his swing? It’s here we’ll note, too, that Hodges was also tied for the lead on the second-to-last day, only two holes in his round remained (he started on the back nine), and he was back in the big leagues after playing last year on the Korn Ferry Tour. So it’s not as if Peeler stopped him on the range, either.     

“Not that late in the game,” analyst — and 2008 Masters champ — Trevor Immelman said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “That was pretty late right there.” 

And you, John Cook? He was also on the call and also a Tour winner. 

“I never got pulled off right there,” he said on the broadcast. “I got pulled off clubs but not when I was over the ball. 

“That was pretty bold,” Immelman said. 

Very. Hodges, after a quick swipe at the grass to the left of his ball, huddled back up with Peeler, then grabbed a different club. On the broadcast, Cook noted that the wind was at Hodges’ back.     

“That caddie is praying that he’s correct now,” Immelman said on the broadcast.  

“Yeah, he is,” Cook said. “He’s going please, please, please.” 

He was. Hodges hit just past the hole, it rolled to the back of the green, and as Peeler handed his player his putter, he smiled. From there, Hodges two-putted for a birdie four, and he’ll enter Sunday’s final round still tied at the top.  

“That is some gutsy caddying right there,” Immelman said on the broadcast.  

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.