Durban – There were three simple instructions from Padraig Harrington to his stand-in caddie, Pat Cashman, when he was asked to take on the bag from regular caddie, Ronan Flood, who fell ill during the second round of the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club on Friday.
Cashman, a 65-year-old photographer with the Golfing Union of Ireland and who has known Harrington since he was 10 or 11 years old, said: “I was given clear instructions: the first was that I was not to give Harrington any lines. The second was to keep up (with him and the play) and the third was to shut up.”
“I’m very animated as a guy watching the game as I talk to the ball all the time. I keep saying ‘come on, roll-up’ when I’m following him around the course. You know we get along very well together and I have been following him for many, many years and he knows what I get up to.
“I just laughed when he gave me the instructions and I carried on with my new assignment. It was a thrill to take on the responsibility.”
Cashman was called on after Flood fell ill – he had food poisoning – and at the sixth hole he just collapsed, according to Cashman.
The photographer, who knew Flood was ill as he had seen him at the range earlier in the day, was in the gallery following Harrington. That’s when Harrington asked him to take over the bag. “But I told him that I’m 65 and was worried about the weight.
“These guys carry everything in the bag that we hackers don’t. So I threw out all the extras like the sunblock, rain suit, etc, and made the bag light for myself. I was right there when he needed me. It was a fantastic experience,” Cashman admitted.
“I did it from the sixth when he was one-under and when we finished, Padraig was two-under for the tournament.”
Cashman rated the experience the best in all his years of watching the game.
On Sunday, when the event ended, Padraig handed his long-standing friend and “best” stand-in caddie a cap – signed by the three-time Major champion.
“He signed it and wrote: ‘To Pat, my caddie, best wishes’. I couldn’t believe it. I was overjoyed,” Cashman said. “He is such a wonderful guy. What a professional and a real credit to the game.”