Standing on the first tee at Sahalee Country Club, preparing to tee off in a first minutes in the first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, caddie Ryan Young pointed out some advice to his player, Elizabeth Caron of West Hartford, Conn. on how to play the first hole.
Young is the PGA director of instruction at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., site of last year’s U.S. Open.
So, how did he get here? And how did he and Caron get connected?
Caron’s original caddie had suffered a heart attack last week (he is still alive), and she needed someone local to step in to be on her bag for the week at Sahalee.
“I Googled ‘best caddie ever’ and he popped up,” said Caron, with a laugh. “No, I called the PGA Section office in Tumwater and asked if they knew of anyone, and they referred me to Ryan. He appealed to me because of his background in golf instruction, which is what I do as well. Also, his support and involvement with the local First Tee chapter is a good connection.”
Caron, who is seven months pregnant, is an LPGA professional, a member of their Teaching & Club Professional division. She’s currently an instructor at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, Conn. She is also an honorary director for The First Tee of Connecticut.
As with the men’s PGA Championship, the women’s PGA club professionals have the opportunity to qualify for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and Caron was one of eight women in this category to qualify for the championship at Sahalee.
Caron is no stranger to major championship golf. As an amateur growing up in Connecticut, she won the Connecticut Women’s Amateur five times, won multiple tournaments while playing for Duke University, has qualified for four U.S. Women’s Opens, won the Connecticut Women’s Open four times, and played two different stints on the LPGA Tour. She has also qualified for the LPGA Championship several times, competing last year as well in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship held at Westchester Country Club in New York.
Because of the PGA of America’s support of the championship at Sahalee, several of the local PGA club professionals were on hand all week, working as volunteers at a number of positions that go into conducting a major championship.
Caron did not make the cut this year at Sahalee. And Ryan returns to his duties at Chambers Bay. “Absolutely worth it, and I was thrilled to do it,” he said. “She’s a great person, and we had a great time.”