At first, the joke was lost on Pam Kuong.
The runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur has friend Mary Lou Bohn as her caddie in the 2nd U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which started on Saturday. Bohn, a vice president with Titleist, showed up for duty on Thursday morning in a full caddie jumpsuit, complete with Kuong’s name on the back.
“I said, ‘Are you going to have to wear that?’” said Kuong, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., who thought that host site Streamsong Resort had provided the garb. “I was worried she was going to have to keep it on all day in the 90-degree heat.”
Bohn assured her friend that, no, it was just for fun. She had found a pair of caddie overalls online and her husband, who is in the screen-printing business, affixed Kuong’s surname to them.
“Can’t you see how I would have thought it was legit?” asked Kuong, who qualified last October for her first Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with Susan Curtin, of Westwood, Mass.
Kuong should have expected such a ruse from Bohn, who also worked up an ad congratulating Kuong on her runner-up finish to Karen Garcia last October in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Bohn modeled the ad on those that equipment and apparel manufacturers run in golf magazines to mark victories by their clients. Across the top of several images of Kuong competing at Nashville Country Club, the faux ad reads, “The Difference is Tenacity.”
Bohn knows a bit about tenacity, as the daughter of late Massachusetts golf legend Fordie Pitts. Pitts competed in five U.S. Amateurs and three U.S. Senior Opens, and he was the co-low amateur (with Dale Morey) in the 1984 Senior Open. Pitts also bettered his age in a U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier, shooting a 64 at age 66. Mary Lou teamed with her father to win a pair of state Father-Daughter Championships, two of 10 such events Pitts won with his children.
Bohn is less worried about keeping up with her player this week than keeping track of her clubs.
“Every now and then I turn around and I see Pam carrying her bag to the next tee,” said Bohn. “I have to tell her, ‘Pam, I’ve got it – I want you to focus on your game.’”
Bohn is not the first golf executive to tote Kuong’s clubs. In the 2013 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, former USGA president Jim Hyler served as her caddie. A member at host club Biltmore Forest, Hyler had volunteered to caddie and got Kuong in a random draw. He helped her earn a berth in match play, but it wasn’t until two years later that Kuong got on a match-play roll in a USGA championship.
“I didn’t realize the significance of it until I got home,” said Kuong, who rallied from behind in most of her five victories before losing, 1 down, to Garcia. “People like Mary Lou and Sue understood it was a big feat just to get to the final. I got emails from [Bay Staters and LPGA Tour players] Alison Walshe and Megan Khang. [Three-time Senior Women’s Am champion] Diane Lang found a way to get in touch even though she didn’t have my contact info.”
Considering the wide net that Kuong has cast in the game with her congenial nature, Lang’s task was probably a lot easier than it sounds.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.