Matt Minister must be doing something right.
"I guess I'm picking good players. Either that or I'm just lucky," the veteran caddie said.
Minister is the regular caddie for Nick Price, who lost in a playoff to Mark McNulty last week in a playoff at the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. He was looking for a gig at this week's Memorial Tournament in his hometown of Columbus and got lucky enough to land work with South Africa's Thomas Aiken, who got in via an international exemption.
Aiken had asked Basil van Rooyen, McNulty's caddie, to work for him this week, but he was unavailable. After consulting with van Rooyen and Ricci Roberts, who caddies for Ernie Els, Aiken gave Minister a call. "That was a good call," Aiken said after shooting a 5-under-par 67 Thursday, tied for second three behind Luke Donald. "Obviously, Matt knows the golf course, and he's a very good caddie."
Aiken, 25, has been on a roll himself since he shot a closing 7-under 65 at the CA Championship at Doral to tie for seventh. He's since added three top-10 finishes on the European Tour, including a tie for 10th at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. At Doral, Aiken had no endorsement deals and was wearing a beat up pair of Foot-Joy shoes. At the Memorial Tournament, he was wearing new Puma spikes and was showing off a hat emblazoned with the logo of Al Naboodah, a company in Abu Dhabi that is part owner of his management company ISM.
"First day wearing this hat," said Aiken, who has earned conditional status on the European Tour for next year. "You know, a lot of companies already were done for the year, so we'll have to see about next year.
"At least it's something," he added with a grin.
That's the way Minister felt. He was impressed with Aiken's play and happy to be done and going to his mom's house for dinner. "I got home to see my mom and I get paid for the week," Minister said. "It's a good deal."
-- Dave Shedloski