In 1989, PGA Tour rookie Ed Humenik asked Scott Gneiser to caddy for him. Gneiser, who had just completed his collegiate golf career one year earlier at Central Michigan University, called his dad to see what he thought.
“He said, ‘If you don’t do it, I’ll do it.’”
That’s all the convincing Gneiser needed and two weeks later, he caddied his first tournament at Pebble Beach. The partnership only lasted a couple of years, but Gneiser would go on to experience a great deal of success working with David Toms, highlighted by victories at the 2001 PGA Championship and 2018 U.S. Senior Open.
Gneiser was introduced to the game by his parents when he was 9. His mom was the most decorated golfer in the family, winning more than 20 club tournaments. Gneiser learned golf at an inner-city junior program sponsored by the Detroit Free Press.
“It taught me a lot. You had all different cultures there and everybody seemed to get along,” he said. “You learn your etiquette. You grow up a little quicker.”
Gneiser equates the program to The First Tee, an organization founded in 1997 by the USGA, LPGA, the Masters Tournament, The PGA of America and the PGA Tour to bring affordable junior golf and accompanying life skills to communities without it.
Gneiser went on to become a standout at Bishop Gallagher High School in Harper Woods, Mich., earning All-State honors twice before receiving a scholarship to play at CMU. He called college golf a wake-up call.
“I got extremely nervous and shot 90 my first round,” Gneiser said. “It was really disappointing for me and I took it emotionally, but I came back and shot 76 my second day. I would’ve been too embarrassed to shoot another 90.”
Following graduation, Gneiser began his two-year stint with Humenik. After that, the caddie bounced around, carrying the bag for Andy North, Dan Pohl, Jeff Sluman and Brent Geiberger, who let Gneiser go in 1999. That was around the same time Toms fired his caddie, so Gneiser gave the golfer a call.