You've got to love the story from South Africa last week where Padraig Harrington marked his return to form – of a sort – with another top four finish at the Volvo Champions event in Durban.
The interesting story didn’t involve Harri’s putting woes on Sunday, but rather his caddying problems on Friday when regular bag man Ronan Flood was struck down by food poisoning and had to retire after six holes of the second round.
Looking around for a substitute caddy, Harrington spotted the well-known and well-liked Irish golf photographer Pat Cashman in the crowd.
Casher, as he is known to those of us who play alongside him in the Dublin Journalists Golf Society, was on vacation in South Africa and duly answered the call to arms from a golfer he has known for many, many years.
Cashman’s story took the golfing media world by storm as he carried Harrington’s bag for the final 12 holes of the second round and was on call for the rest of the weekend in case Flood’s illness returned.
The photographer, a club mate of Flood’s at the Hermitage in Lucan, Co Dublin explained, “I’m only down here on holidays. Ronan turned white like the color of Padraig’s golf bag. He asked me if I’d take the bag and I said I would. Then a replacement was sent out but Padraig said, ‘Look Pat, if you’re happy to continue, do so by all means.’
“He double-bogeyed the eighth soon after I took over but nothing was said. You know Padraig, he’s so nice, it was a lovely day.”
Harrington himself was delighted with his novice caddie.
“I suppose the fact that he’d photographed golf over the years, Pat knew exactly where, when and for what he was needed. So it was excellent out there,” he said.
“Sometimes when people step in like that, they stand at the side of the green and carry the bag but it wasn’t like that with Pat. He was doing pins and whatever needed to be done and got stronger as the round went on.”
Cashman’s day ended with Harrington inviting him for a pint in the Durban clubhouse, but we’ve yet to discover if he saw any of the $150,000 the Dubliner won for his tied fourth place finish!
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