On Nov. 3 The Legend of Bagger Vance, starring Matt Damon as a
washed-up golfer and Will Smith as a mystical caddie, hits movie
theaters. We enlisted real-life caddie Alfred (Rabbit) Dyer, 63,
who worked for Gary Player for 18 years and also looped for Frank
Sinatra and presidents Eisenhower and Ford, to watch the film.
More unrealistic things happen in this movie than I've seen in
more than 40 years of caddying. A woman stopping a player in the
middle of a competition to talk romance? Please. A player with
two caddies walking inside the ropes? No way.
There's a scene in which Smith counsels Damon in the locker room
after a round. Back then--Legend is set in 1931--caddies, who were
all black, were never allowed in the locker room. Being black
myself, I changed my clothes in the woods until the 1970s. Why,
in the '60s Charlie Sifford, a black player, had to change his
clothes in the parking lot.
Yet I have to say that overall I enjoyed the movie. The actors
played their parts beautifully, and as a caddie Smith was really
in the game. He made it seem like an important job. These days,
with all the yardage books and electronic measuring devices,
players could have their wives caddie for them.
So despite the inaccuracies, I score the movie an ace. I also
have something to say to Matt Damon, caddie to golfer: Don't give
up your day job.