What keeps this 76-year-old caddie going? These 5 words

Mike "Fluff" Cowan catches a golf ball while carrying a golf bag.

Don't expect "Fluff" to slow down yet.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This season on the PGA Tour, there’s a time traveler walking the fairways alongside the game’s best.

Working with PGA Tour winner C.T. Pan, legendary caddie, Mike “Fluff” Cowan, has returned to the PGA Tour.

He explained to Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan that the arrangement came about rather simply.

“I needed a player, he needed a caddie,” he told Ryan at the Players two weeks ago.

That’s the kind of matter-of-fact personality Cowan has been known for over his nearly 50-year career caddying on the PGA Tour. That and his characteristic bushy white mustache.

But he is perhaps best known for his lengthy partnership with Jim Furyk and toting the bag for Tiger Woods during the first four seasons of his professional career, including at the 1997 Masters. He’s also looped for Ed Sabo, Peter Jacobsen, Fred Couples and Michelle Wie.

But just because he’s worked for Pan already six times this season, including Pan’s T3 at the Mexico Open, that doesn’t mean his more than two-and-a-half decade run with Furyk is over.

In fact, the 76-year-old went straight from the Players Championship with Pan to last week’s Hoag Classic in California to work for Furyk on the PGA Tour Champions.

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“He’s just a dear friend,” Furyk said last week before the event of Cowan. “I love a lot of things about Mike, but what I really appreciate is how he’s able to hop in and out of different relationships. He’s always going to be a friend and now it’s become where I feel like he’s a friend first, but when we get out there on the golf course and he’s carrying the bag and we’re working, he kind of has to play a different role. He has to be a caddie and he’s got to work for me.”

Furyk added that his player-caddie dynamic with Cowan mirrors the teacher-student dynamic Furyk had with his father, Mike, the only instructor he’s ever had.

But why does Cowan — again, 76 years old — keep trotting out there, back-to-back weeks to carry a 40-50 lbs golf bag for five hours a day? Furyk said it had to do with these five words: “He loves what he does.”

“He’s out here at 76, I think he just really enjoys what he does,” Furyk said. He shows up for work because he loves being a caddie, he loves being with the boys on the wall whether it’s smoking a cigarette, whether it’s hanging out and talking about the day, whether it’s carrying the bag and working.

“I think first and foremost, of anyone in the world, it’s what I try and instill in my kids. You know, your first job out of school you’re probably not always going to love what you do, but you kind of work so that you really enjoy what you do in your life and enjoy the occupation you have. I think it makes your life wonderful, and Fluff does.

“I think he’s easy to get along with. He doesn’t change whether we’re shooting 82 or 58, he’s the same guy on the bag. He’s just — it’s been fun having him around. We’re almost at 25 years now.”

Cowan was asked what the key to happiness was this week by the PGA Tour Champions social media team and his answer mirrors Furyk’s.

“Doing what you love,” Cowan said, echoing his longtime boss. “Money is a wonderful sidelight, but money is not what makes you happy. You have to do things that you enjoy and let the bad times roll off your back and just continue to continue.

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“Just keep on keeping on.”

That’s exactly what he’s doing.

While “Fluff’s” namesake mustache and toned calves haven’t changed, along with his drive to be out there with Furyk, Pan or anyone else, father time is undefeated.

“You know, it seems like he’s going to caddie forever, but he’s probably not,” Furyk said. “I’ll definitely miss when we’re not out here together.”

But Cowan isn’t quite ready to think about that just yet. He thought back on the best advice he’s ever received.

“It’s something that I’ve lived by most of my life ever and I’ve remembered ever since I first heard it,” Cowan said. “It was my grandfather. He said, ‘Son, don’t you worry about a thing. It’s all going to come out in the wash.’

“That’s about it.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.



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