Bowditch pays it forward with Twitter caddie hire
July 11, 2018
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Steven Bowditch received more than 150 responses to his Twitter post. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SILVIS, Ill. – Steven Bowditch was a teenager when he landed a one-off chance to caddie for John Senden at the Jack Newton Classic in Coolum, Australia. It was a formative experience, so when Bowditch learned he’d gotten into this week’s John Deere Classic, he paid it forward.
After opening up the job on Twitter, and getting more applicants than he anticipated, Bowditch hired 16-year-old Elias Francque, a kid from the suburbs of Chicago whose uncles work for John Deere and whose grandparents run a farm near TPC Deere Run.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Bowditch, “and I had a late entry, I got called Monday afternoon. I was struggling to find a caddie, and I thought about it, thought this was probably a good opportunity to make a kid smile for the week, and that’s all it was.”
That may have been all it was, but fans have had fun following the late-developing arranged marriage. Bowditch, who won the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson, lit up Twitter with his job posting:
Any local kids/college players in the Quad cities area that are interested in caddying in the tournament this week, this thread is for you. The best response/reason gets the job. 2pm Tues start, finish Friday. 1% chance Sunday. Payment: all leftover gloves and balls are yours 😉— bowdo (@bowdo83) July 10, 2018
I️ visit my grandparents farm nearby. I️ve played the course and loved it. Two of my uncles work for John Deere. I’m a caddy at my local country club and on the golf team. I️ turn 17 on Friday and helping you make the cut would be a great birthday present! I️ love Australia— Elias Francque (@e_francque) July 10, 2018
With that, he was hired.
In a sense, this goes back to Ian Baker-Finch, who hired a teenage Senden to be his caddie. Senden paid it forward when he hired Bowditch years later, and now Bowditch, 35, has kept it going. He is perhaps just being realistic when he gives himself little chance to make the cut; he is 0-for-5 this season, and coming off a brutal year in which he made just two cuts in 27 chances.
Still, the job seekers poured in on Twitter. Some of the 150-plus responders were jokesters, a few zinged him for his promised payment of gloves and balls, but most were serious.
“I didn’t think it would get the response it did,” Bowditch said. “It was neat.”
He played 18 holes with his new man Tuesday, and gave Francque the day off Wednesday, as the Aussie golfer did not play and instead hunkered down at the end of the driving range.
“He’s a good caddie,” Bowditch said. “He does it in the summertime.”
It’s tempting to conclude Francque has his work cut out for him, and easy to be pessimistic, but fortunes change. Bryson DeChambeau missed eight straight cuts last season before breaking out with his first PGA TOUR win at the Deere. And before the streaky Bowditch won the AT&T Byron Nelson, he endured a run of seven missed cuts in eight starts in 2015.
What if he doesn’t just make the cut at the Deere. What if he wins? What kind of cinema-ready Cinderella story would it be for Bowditch, and for Francque?
“I hope so,” Bowditch said. “I hope so for him, too.”