Golf

Putnam team working out kinks before U.S. Open at hometown Chambers Bay

It has been well-documented that no golfer in the field of the 115th U.S. Open has played more rounds at Chambers Bay than Michael Putnam.

He grew up a mile from the course. He’s played it at least 30 times.

And then there is his brother, Joel, who has caddied between 400-500 rounds at Chambers Bay in the course’s eight-year history.

So now that the two are hooking up as a golfer-caddie team this week for the U.S. Open, no problems, right?

Did we mention they are brothers?

“Yeah, (Joel) watched a lot of bad golf caddying for the amateurs that play out here,” Putnam said at his morning U.S. Open press conference Tuesday. “He’s seen a lot of the bounces that maybe I’m not going to have.”

The two brothers have a long history together on the PGA Tour, but took a break from each other starting three weeks ago when Putnam decided to hire new caddie Bill Harke for the short term.

Because of Joel’s history at Chambers Bay, they did make an agreement if Putnam qualified for the U.S. Open, Joel would be his caddie for the week.

They started with practice rounds last week. That is when the dialogue got a tad interesting.

Joel has Chambers Bay yardage books as far back as the 2010 U.S. Amateur, when he was caddying for Andrew Widmar. And he was given a new preliminary yardage book when he registered Friday that had a few incorrect yardage numbers in it.

That is what caused some of the early arguments.

“He has it figured out now,” Putnam said.

But the heated discussion picked up again once they stepped foot on the course.

“He thought the ball would bounce a lot farther on the green than it actually did because he watches amateurs who can’t spin the ball,” Putnam said.

So as Putnam lined up to his an approach shot to a middle-of-the-green pin location, Joel recommended he hit short so the ball could run up to the hole.

“I said, ‘Joel, I have a pitching wedge in my hand, so I don’t have to do that,’ ” Putnam said. “He tried telling me I had to do that. We got into it on some of that, but he learned quickly.”

Learned what?

“That I am still the boss,” Putnam said. “And I know my game.”

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