AUGUSTA, GA. — It was one of those blink-your-eyes-twice moments as Michael Greller stood on the 16th green at Augusta National Golf Club during a Masters Tournament practice round Tuesday.
Greller, once a sixth-grade teacher in University Place, is now up-and-coming superstar Jordan Spieth’s full-time caddie on the PGA Tour.
In fact, two years ago Greller won a lottery to buy Masters tickets for a Tuesday practice round. The timing was perfect – he was on spring break from teaching at Narrows View Intermediate School.
He arrived at the gates first thing and sprinted to set up a chair at the famed par-3 16th hole to watch all the action.
Now he is trying to read putts on that green.
“I was writing down notes on that hole when everyone (in the gallery) came running down to us,” Greller said. “That was one of the moments that hit me.”
Greller is really trying to learn this course on the fly. After Spieth missed the cut at last week’s Shell Houston Open, the two of them arrived at Augusta National on Saturday and began studying the layout.
A day of practice Monday was wiped out by thunderstorms. But that did not stop Greller from gathering information from longtime caddie Carl Jackson, who will work his 53rd Masters Tournament this week.
“I went through the whole yardage book with him,” Greller said. “And I’ve talked to Carl the last three days, and he has given me different insight on what to tell Jordan.”
One of the reasons Greller decided to leave teaching and get into caddie work was to someday counsel a young 20-something standout at a tournament like the Masters. He has one now in Spieth.
“I will work as hard this week as I ever have,” said Greller, who will have newlywed wife, Ellie, a kindergarten teacher at Artondale Elementary School in Gig Harbor, in Augusta with him this week.
“But at the same time, you want to enjoy it.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442