Golf

Michael Greller has U.S. Open champion’s bag; Jordan Spieth has local caddie’s back

In a trailer somewhere away from the chaos around the 18th-hole grandstands at Chambers Bay, U.S. Open-winning golfer Jordan Spieth and Gig Harbor-based caddie Michael Greller sat in near silence.

They watched as Dustin Johnson missed a short birdie putt that would have forced an 18-hole playoff.

Ten seconds ticked by.

“We just sat there,” Greller said. “And after a long pause, (Spieth) said, ‘This one is for you, Michael.’ And he gave me the golf ball from (No. 18).”

Greller — who started as a caddie at Chambers Bay, who got married on the links-style course, and finally steered the best young player in golf to his second major title in two months — certainly lived to see his dreams come true Sunday.

“My dream when (the U.S. Open coming) was announced in 2008 … was to just caddie this week,” the former University Place teacher said. “I certainly never envisioned all the things in between.”

This championship was certainly different, for obvious reasons — and something Spieth acknowledged during the trophy ceremony on that finishing green.

He called Greller his “right-hand man.”

“I told Jordan all week … I have nothing but great vibes here,” Greller said.

Everywhere he looked, he saw people he knew, from former students who were standard bearers, to his former principal who was the 10th-hole captain, to the tournament-volunteering couple who set him up with his wife, Ellie.

And when Spieth got into contention Saturday, Greller’s sister, Katie, started working on a way to fly their parents in from the Midwest in to see the finish.

On Father’s Day, Greller’s father, John — who has battled Parkinson’s disease the past five years — was waiting on the edge of the 18th green for his son to finish.

“They all came to celebrate with us,” Greller said.

Indeed, they did.

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