I was wrong. I always said the PGA Tour wouldn't let caddies
wear shorts until one of us died. Well, Garland Dempsey, John
Maginnes's caddie, nearly died after collapsing from heat
exhaustion during the Motorola Western Open. Thank god he
survived. I believe it was this incident that prompted the Tour
to give the caddies a three-week trial period, ending at this
week's Buick Open, during which we could wear knee-length, khaki
shorts whenever the heat index topped 100. But my colleagues and
I wonder: Why only a test? And what took the Tour so long?
I've been on the Tour for 31 years, and I've always been a
crusader for the right to wear shorts. In 1982 my luggage got
lost while I was flying to the Hall of Fame Tournament at
Pinehurst, and my pro, Bobby Clampett, gave me some white shorts
to wear. Tour officials flipped out, but after I explained the
circumstances, they let me wear them. A short time afterward
Deane Beman suspended me for two weeks and gave Bobby a $200 fine.
I didn't defy the powers that be again until the 1996 PGA at
Valhalla. Two caddies got sick from the heat during practice
rounds, so Scott Jones, the brother and caddie of Steve, and I
decided to take a stand and wear shorts during the tournament.
We got through one hole before the PGA of America threatened us
and we were forced to put on pants. (In '97 the USGA showed more
enlightenment by allowing shorts at the U.S. Open.)
I know Tour commissioner Tim Finchem doesn't like having us in
shorts, but I hope he and the policy board make the shorts rule
permanent. I bet if Tim were out here carrying a bag six hours a
day, 30 weeks a year, he'd want to wear shorts, too.
Andy Martinez, 49, has caddied for Tom Lehman since 1992.