It occurred to me that I never wrote blogs while in Florida for 1st Stage Qualifying. Granted I was only there for 3-1/2 days…I did get to see & meet some interesting people. While waiting for Tom to tee off for the last round of 1st Stage Qualifying at Orlando’s Disney Palm Course, I wandered over to the first tee and was watching the groups ahead of us tee off. I witnessed a pre-shot routine like none other…it’s a good thing it was during a time of year when the bug population was low because my mouth hung open watching this…process…and were the bugs out, I’d have probably ingested quite a few! It became my mission to find this player & take a video of him to show my golf friends. Unfortunately this would not come to pass during my brief stay in Florida. More on that in Part 2.
Tom’s pairing for the final round at 1st Stage Qualifying consisted of himself, Sonny Skinner and Chris Hunsucker. While watching the round with some friends that were in Florida during the same time & who’d come to watch Tom play; our friend Kathy noticed that the gentleman also watching the round with us looked remarkably like Chris’s caddy…like…exactly like him! She guessed they were twins. At some point early on in the round, I finally asked this gentleman if they were at least related and learned they were indeed twins! Now this in-and-of itself isn’t remarkable, what was is that they looked to be in their late 60’s or early 70’s. Blaine was caddying and Boyd was watching. We struck up a conversation (because that’s what you do when you’re in a golf gallery) and I learned that they were gospel singers from Joplin, MO. I asked Boyd how old they were but he would not reveal such sensitive information. They had both been professional caddies for over 20 years so the sun exposure (they were awfully tan) may have betrayed their real ages.
At some point during our conversation, Boyd mentioned he & his brother had a special “twin bond” that allowed them to communicate without speaking. Obviously I found this fascinating so he offered to demonstrate. While the players were putting, Boyd asked me what my favorite number was, between 1 and 100. I whispered “16” (they were putting & I didn’t want to say it too loudly for fear I’d give away whatever was to occur next). As the group finished & was walking off the green, Boyd called over to his brother Blaine (who was never closer than 30′ from us) & asked him if he knew my number. Blaine smiled a sweet smile & said, “16”! Yah…I was floored! What was this they were doing here? They were gospel singers…perhaps they had a special “in” with the angels?? I don’t know! I was SUPER excited to know what had just happened…totally distracted from the golf!
As we approached the next hole (there’s quite a bit of green-to-tee at that course), Boyd said, “we can do it for your birth month too.” Oh, well let me think about that…DO IT!! I was stoked! As we got closer to the next tee box I stopped him, made him turn away, and whispered, “February” in his ear. He got this silly grin on his face & said, “okay…I’ll get his attention.” Now Blaine was kind of busy with his player (who hadn’t hit the best of tee shots on this short par 3) so initially Boyd couldn’t get him to acknowledge us. As the group left the green, and as Blaine was jogging up to meet his player at their golf cart, Boyd again called out to him and Blaine kind of rubbed his eyebrows, then looked over at Boyd and with a somewhat furled brow, said, “February”! Okay…things just got REAL WIERD on the golfcourse!! Tom who? Was I watching golf or at a freak show? Our friend Steve (Kathy’s husband) was nearby so I immediately ran up to him to explain this craziness I was experiencing with the 2 gospel singer/caddies. He was somewhat incredulous so I convinced him to ask Boyd to demonstrate this freak show for Steve as well. He did. Same result. Freak show complete! I now had zero interest in the golf and was totally immersed in getting to know this man a little better and trying to convince him to explain to me how any of this was possible.
He told me that he’d never married…his brother Blaine was married. They had been caddying professionally for over 20 years; first with the LPGA and eventually on the PGA Tour. Boyd had been Casey Martin’s first caddy when he filed his lawsuit against the tour to get them to allow him to use a cart during tournaments due to a disease that would not allow him to walk any extended distance. He also told me about how he’d met the owner of the Orlando Magic’s wife (Jill Williams) because she was writing a book about how she & her husband Pat Williams had 4 children & had adopted 14 others from 4 different nations…for a total of 18 children! Blaine & Boyd have big hearts for children and are/were actively involved in children’s ministries so Blaine decided to call her! Yah, just called, explained who he & Boyd were (gospel singers) and, to make an already long story a little shorter, became very close friends. They were invited to Williams family gatherings & to vacation with them! As you can deduce…these two gentlemen were something special.
As we walked further…I introduced Boyd to the rest of Steve & Kathy’s family (their son Conner, Kathy’s Mom & Steve’s parents [referred to as “the old people”]). Boyd pulled Conner aside & asked him if he wanted to see a trick. Then called all us around to watch. Conner was a little shy but we were all about it. Boyd hands Conner 2 coins; a quarter and a penny. He puts them in his hand, closes his fist & rubs the top of Conner’s hand. He then turns Conner’s hand over, peels his fingers back & reveals a silver dollar now occupying the space on Conner’s palm that previously held the 2 coins! Boyd smirked and walked away! I was on tilt.
We were now approaching the 9th hole & Boyd told me that if Chris didn’t make a birdie, he was going back to the pool! This was obviously not what I wanted to hear! Chris was +3 on the day & hadn’t made birdie yet! I decided that I probably should start paying attention to the game & what my husband was doing since he was the reason I was there…and Kathy had started to chat with Boyd anyway, as they walked a few steps behind me. However, I somewhat overheard Boyd telling Kathy what his secret was and explaining their “mindreading” skills. Part of me wanted to know…part of me wanted to indulge my inner child & just believe it was a crazy twin thing. As the group walked off 9 (Chris made another par) and before I could step back to butt into their conversation…I noticed Boyd walking off the course! NOOOO!!! Dang it!! I didn’t even get to say goodbye!! I really wanted to let him know how much I’d enjoyed our very brief time together. This was a special dude…he needed to know that.
The rest of the round I spent doing what I was supposed to be doing…watching golf. Fortunately Steve, Kathy, Conner and the old people were pretty entertaining. Steve was posting live videos of Tom on Facebook & I kept trying to find “hair” for Conner. After the round I accepted a ride back to the scoreboard with Sonny Skinner…my first real chance to chat with him. Again, more on that in Part 2. I’ll never forget Boyd (or Blaine). They are permanently filed in my “people you meet along the way” mental file where they’ll hold a special place. Much like Dr. Roy Vomastadt from Crystal Downes. I may have to write a blog on him too…later.
Below are some pictures from Florida. I never got a picture of Boyd, nor did I get to thank him for his entertainment & kindness…but you can see Blaine in the picture of the group on the 18th green holding the flag.