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Parking lot meeting leads to caddying in the US Open

LaRue Temple met Michael Kim in the Merion Golf Club parking lot by accident, but now they're in it together at the US Open. (AP Photo)

LaRue Temple has been caddying for years at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, but he’s never had the chance to caddy for a PGA tour event – until now.

This year LaRue planned to watch the US Open with friends rather than work behind the scenes. He was taking a break from his busy schedule of caddying, bar-tending, and working as a DJ on weekends to make ends meet.

“I bought tickets for the Open last August,” said LaRue.

He had brought his mother to see Merion for the first time when 19-year-old amateur golfer and college student Michael Kim showed up to the course without a caddy.

So LaRue decided to help him out for the week. He didn’t realize that he would be rubbing elbows with some of the best in the business when Michael’s name made its way up to the top of the leader board.

“Michael’s a great golfer and a really great guy,” said LaRue. “I was really happy for him, I was happy to share that moment right along with him. And along with sharing that moment, I was happy I was really able to represent the course well.”

LaRue described how he used his local knowledge to help Michael on the course. He said that Michael knew what he was doing, but that Merion is a tricky course.

“Definitely with the lines, and some of the blind shots I really helped him out with that,” said LaRue. “Merion is tricky because the grain really, really affects a lot of the putts,” said LaRue.

LaRue won’t get paid nearly as well as other caddies in the PGA tournaments; usually caddies get five to ten percent of a golfer’s winning. Since Michael is an amateur, he can’t accept prize money.

But for now, LaRue has been happy to have his friends cheering for him on the course. He’s hoping that if he does a good job and Michael goes pro, he’ll get a call to the next PGA tournament.

“Nothing’s been made official,” said LaRue. “So hopefully if Michael’s confident enough, he’ll take me along with him. We’ll see where we’re going down the line. He’s got a bright future, this is definitely not going to be the last that you hear of him. He’s going to be around for a long time, I can promise you that.”

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