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Oh, Brother! It's hard to believe, but the Sutherland boys are making a name for themselves on Tour

June 07, 1999
June 07, 1999

Table of Contents
June 7, 1999

Faces In The Crowd

Oh, Brother! It's hard to believe, but the Sutherland boys are making a name for themselves on Tour

There have been a bunch of brother acts on the PGA Tour. Jay and
Lionel Hebert, Dave and Mike Hill, and Bobby and Lanny Wadkins
are but a few. The best one going these days, though, is Pigpen
and Linus. That's what the caddies call David and Kevin
Sutherland, two regular guys from Sacramento who have slowly but
surely established themselves as successful Tour players.

This is an article from the June 7, 1999 issue Original Layout

Kevin, 34, is the older, responsible one. He always carries a
towel around the course--to combat sweaty hands--like a security
blanket, hence the Linus tag. "But it's not the same towel every
week," he says. "I take a clean one."

David, 33, wears rumpled shirts half in, half out. He's the Oscar
Madison to Kevin's Felix Unger. "David is a slob in every aspect
of his life," says Kevin.

As brothers go, they are an odd couple. "I'm very much like my
dad," says Kevin. "He's a typical engineer, very organized,
everything has to be in its place. David is the opposite. He
drives my dad crazy. In college David's clothes were all over the
floor. He would gather them up, do his laundry, then throw them
back on the floor. He had no carpet, just clothes."

Are you guys sure you're brothers? "I was pretty young when we
met," David says, "but I've known him my whole life."

Cut to older brother rolling his eyes. "We are similar in that
we both love sports and we both.... That might be about it,"
Kevin says. "David is my best friend, with the exception of my
wife. We talk all the time. One reason we get along is that we
are different. If we were more similar, we might have become
rivals, like some other brothers."

The Sutherlands have always played golf together. They started at
a par-3 course called Foothills, near their parents' house, took
lessons from Don Baucom, the pro at the Vineyard, a driving range
in Sacramento, and walked on at Fresno State when no colleges
recruited them. Amazingly, the Sutherlands have been paired only
once in a Tour event, in the recent Compaq Classic in New
Orleans. (David came in 28th, Kevin missed the cut.) They have
gone head-to-head in a match on one occasion, a memorably awkward
first-round encounter in the '86 California State Amateur at
Pebble Beach. "It was the most awful day," David says. "Neither
of us wanted to win."

The match appeared to be over on the 17th hole. Kevin was one up
and had a 20-footer for birdie, while David was stuck in the
front bunker. Then David holed his next shot. "I remember getting
out of the bunker and saying, 'Sorry, Kevin,'" David says. "He
said, 'Don't worry about it.'" Kevin missed his putt, and the
match went to 18 all square. It says something about the
brothers' relationship that neither remembers much about that
last hole, only that David made bogey and Kevin won.

David's life story is more likely to be made into a movie than
Kevin's. "It would be Something About Mary meets Dumb and
Dumber," David says. What would a movie about Kevin be like?
Think PBS, says Kevin.

David's movie would have an action sequence from the final day of
the 1989 Western Amateur in Benton Harbor, Mich. "That was the
dumbest thing ever," he says. Here's the short version: David
left his clubs in the trunk of someone else's car, and that
person left. During a frantic 110-mph chase in a friend's
Cadillac to retrieve the clubs, David was pulled over and
ticketed for speeding. After racing back to the course, David
dashed to the 1st tee just as his name was announced. He won the
first three holes and the match, then beat Tony Mollica in the
final that afternoon. "If that had happened to me, I'd have been
frazzled," says Kevin. "For David, that's just a normal day's
work. He's always in a hurry."

Both of the Sutherlands participated in another chase scene, this
one at the '87 U.S. Amateur in Jupiter Hills, Fla. Leaving the
course, David and Kevin decided to have a race from the clubhouse
to their car in the parking lot. David took a shortcut, hopping a
temporary fence. Oops. On the other side was a 10-foot drop. He
broke his right wrist and couldn't play golf for almost a year.

The Sutherlands hit the Nike tour together in 1990. David made it
to the big Tour in 1992 but only lasted a year. Kevin got there
full time in '96, with David joining him in '97. Both had their
best seasons that year, Kevin finishing 52nd on the money list
and David 84th. Frankly, no one expected them to make it. "All
three of us were mediocre golfers," says Tim Loustalot, a
teammate at Fresno State who tied for second at last year's
Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic. "We didn't win any U.S. Amateurs
or anything, but the next thing you know, we're on Tour. That
people didn't give us a lot of credit in college probably spurred
us on to be Tour players."

The truth is, Linus and Pigpen got game. Neither has won yet on
Tour, but they've been close. Two years ago David had a 50-foot
putt on the final hole of the Greater Milwaukee Open to tie Scott
Hoch for the lead and narrowly missed. Kevin lost to Phil
Blackmar in a playoff at Houston in '97. This year Kevin was
paired with Tiger Woods in the final twosome on Sunday in the
Buick Invitational and tied for fourth.

Overall, Kevin's game is the better of the two. He's solid
throughout the bag, is strong mentally and looks ready to win.
"Kevin is one of the best players I've ever seen out of the
rough," says Paul Goydos. "Maybe Jack Nicklaus was better, but
he's about the only guy." Kevin is currently 64th on the money
list.

David is streakier. His strengths are usually his putting and his
iron play, but this year he has struggled in almost every area
and has missed the cut in nine of his 15 starts. He is 138th in
earnings.

David's goofball image is deceiving. He was a history major in
college and is a Civil War buff. As a golfer he is an accidental
tourist. He unexpectedly made it through Q school on his second
try, in the fall of 1991. "I didn't imagine in my wildest dreams
that I would play the Tour," he says. "I thought I would play
golf around the world--Africa, Asia, Australia--and eventually get
a real job. Then all of a sudden I had a Tour card."

Now the Sutherlands are practically Tour veterans. David even
landed an endorsement deal. He represents Jelly Belly jelly
beans. His top three flavors are tangerine, juicy pears and root
beer.

Kevin? He hates jelly beans.

COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL JOKERS WILD Kevin (left) is organized, while David always has a few balls in the air.B/W PHOTO: DAYTON DAILY NEWS

Sibling Rivals

Pro golf has a rich history of brother acts, in the U.S. going
back to Alex, Macdonald and Willie Smith, who dominated the U.S.
Open at the turn of the century. Who better to share a major
triumph with than a big brother? Lionel Herbert (above, left) was
congratulated by older sibling Jay after winning the 1957 PGA
Championship. Here are 10 noteworthy sets of golfing brothers.

Mortimer and Olin Dutra
Olin won '34 U.S. Open, '32 PGA; Mortimer got his "major" in '55
PGA Seniors

Danny and David Edwards
Combined for nine Tour victories; as partners won '80 National
Team title

Jay and Lionel Hebert
Each won a PGA (Lionel in '57, Jay in '60); Jay was '71 Ryder
Cup captain

Dave and Mike Hill
Dave was 13-time Tour winner; Mike blossomed on Senior tour with
18 W's

John and Tommy Jacobs
Tommy second in '64 U.S. Open, '66 Masters; John longest Senior
driver

Don and Rik Massengale
Five Tour victories between them, but Don lost playoff at '67 PGA

Masashi (Jumbo), Naomichi (Joe) and Tateo (Jet) Ozaki
In Japan, 132 total wins; Joe's second in '97 Buick Open top
U.S. finish

Alex, Macdonald and Willie Smith
Willie won U.S. Open in 1899, Alex in '06 and '10, when he edged
Macdonald

Jim, Joe and Willie Turnesa
Joe lost '26 Open by one; Jim won '52 PGA; Willie a two-time
Amateur champ

Bobby and Lanny Wadkins
Lanny has 21 Tour titles, Ryder Cup captaincy; Bobby $2.8
million, but no W's