Payne Stewart's caddie Mike Hicks turns up at Pinehurst, but not to reminisce
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Mike Hicks returned to Pinehurst Monday. He did not intend to hang around long, however.
The man who caddied for Payne Stewart in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 made a brief appearance on the championship grounds not to relive any memories or pick up a bag for this week's 114th U.S. Open. No, Hicks' teenaged daughter, Brenna, was working for a friend in the tournament's merchandise tent, and Hicks had come to pick her up.
"There's no other reason for me to be here," Hicks said. "Besides, I'm retired again."
Hicks, 53, who lives in nearby Mebane, N.C., stepped away from caddieing last fall, only to return at the start of the year working for John Huh. Then he reunited with Spencer Levin for a month but decided after May's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial that he just didn't have the desire anymore. Diabetes and a bad back contributed to his waning interest.
Instead, he'll return to the teaching school he started at Mill Creek Golf Club near his home, and he continue his involvement in a new course-mapping business that uses drones.
He would have enjoyed working as a caddie this week, but only if his son, Jacob, a member of the East Carolina University golf team, had qualified. Instead, he'll tune in to the championship from home.
"I had the best spot in the house 15 years ago," he said. "Nothing can ever top that."
(Getty Images photo)