Golf Digest WomanJuly 20, 2009

Better Than Better Half

On a day when all over the world, golfers and non-golfers alike are lamenting the near-miss by living legend Tom Watson at the 138th Open Championship, lingering over the water cooler and pondering what could've been, I'd like to shift the focus to my new hero: Brenda Nardecchia. Nardecchia, wife and caddie of PGA Tour veteran Mark Calcavecchia (insert hyphenated-last-name joke here), is more than the typical young, blond trophy wife you often see hanging on the arms of the best male golfers in the world. Sure, she's young and blond, and she's probably been called a home wrecker at times (she's Calc's second wife), but this girl schleps her man's staff bag for at least a couple of practice rounds plus four rounds of competition several weeks a year, and she does it with a smile. In my book, that makes her a rock star.

At the 2009 Open Championship, Nardecchia carried some extra baggage along with Calcavecchia's bag, knowing that a year ago, she'd been the subject of public ridicule for pulling out of her job last minute. It was, in fact, her husband who had benched her at Birkdale because she wasn't feeling well, but that didn't matter. The British press jumped at the chance to make it seem as if Nardecchia had been too worried about getting her hair messed up in the bad weather. Needless to say, those comments didn't sit well with Mrs. Calc, and she made up for the embarrassment this year by helping her hubby to a 67-69 start at Turnberry (he would eventually finish T-27, at +4).

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*-- Stina Sternberg

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)*