AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Although his 49th Masters resulted in a missed cut -- his guy, Ben Crenshaw, shot 77-78 -- Carl Jackson appeared a happy man Saturday as he toured the grounds of Augusta National greeting members, some of whom he knew from his days as a caddie there. That's because he was wearing the public relations hat for his newly formed foundation "Carl's Kids,'' aimed at giving back to a game that gave him a second chance.
"The idea has been there since I had to drop out of school (at 13 years old),'' said the Augusta native. "It was a shameful thing for me. I was determined to get my GED and I did. I decided to go back and help others like me through my foundation.''
The mission statement on the foundation's home page says the Carl Jackson Foundation "is dedicated to utilize golf and sports in general as a life teacher of honesty first, self discipline and wellness.'' The "honesty first'' theme is the result of an on-course incident that Jackson experienced during his long career as a tour caddie.
"It's the result of being out there on tour and seeing a player about to cheat,'' Jackson said. "I approached him about it, asking if he was going to turn that score in. I said if you don't correct it, I will. He corrected it.''
Jackson, caddie master at a club in Little Rock, Ark., intends to pass along to young people the life lessons he learned as an Augusta National caddie while incorporating the discipline that golf teaches. He will also provide short-game-only golf instruction.
"Being around this place,'' he said, gesturing to the vast greenery, along with the exposure to Jack Stephens (former chairman of Augusta National GC, for whom he worked) was a great education in itself. And if you apply the rules of golf to your life, rules that teach honesty and integrity, you can't help but impact the lives of kids.''
Sounds like a solid plan for the man who has caddied in 18 more Masters than anyone else.
-- Pete McDaniel