Steven Alker's easygoing caddie fits his game perfectly
4 Min Read
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
Steven Alker's up-and-down winning birdie at TimberTech Championship
Sam Workman, 54, has been in the golf business his entire life.
He has spent time as a teaching pro. He has run a municipal course in his native Texas. And for most of the past 15 years he has been a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Workman estimates he has been on the bag for more than 400 tournaments, for pros such as Brad Elder, Jon Curran, Tag Ridings and AJ McInerney.
But until Sunday with PGA TOUR Champions rookie Steven Alker, he had never looped for a victory.
He said that partially explained his emotional state in the video below.
He mentioned the other part, too – his father.
“When I told my dad I was going out on the road full time to caddie he gave me 100% acceptance,” Workman said. “Unfortunately he passed away about four years ago so he didn’t get to see this. But before he did, I told him I’d eventually get a flag at some point, and we got it done last week.”
In fact, Workman said he still had the flag from the 18th hole at the TimberTech Championship in Boca Raton, Florida, on him as he and Alker wrapped up practice on Tuesday in Phoenix in preparation for the final event of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR Champions elongated super season, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. They’re in the field for the finale courtesy of the victory, which propelled Alker into the top 36 in the Schwab Cup standings.
Workman said when he gets back to Texas after this week’s finale he has a friend in Austin lined up to frame the flag. Not before Alker signs it, of course.
One framed flag doesn’t a wall make. But with the run Alker is on, Workman might need a bigger wall.
“I think there’s gonna be many more,” Workman said. “I just see the guy being in contention quite a bit. This run that we’re on is phenomenal. I knew when he got out here he would do well, but I would never have expected this well. Let me say just as consistent and as quick as we’ve done it.
“He’s very fundamentally sound in every part of his game. He works tremendously hard but he works very smart. He’s not one who’s going to spend eight hours on the range just to say he’s practicing. There’s always a purpose, always have a goal in mind every day. He’s just … I think the preparation of playing with those young kids on the Korn Ferry Tour and competing with them just kept him going. You could see it every week at the end of the Korn Ferry year he was getting a little more excited and looking forward to the move and he just looks comfortable.”
That he does, now that he has assured himself of no more Monday qualifiers for at least a couple of years.
“It does take a lot of pressure off,” said Alker, who kept grinding on the Korn Ferry Tour until here turned 50. “It hasn’t sunk in. I’m sort of in tournament mode. It’s a home game this week (Alker has made his permanent home in Phoenix for the past 12 years), lot of friends and family will be here. Next week we’ll sit down and think about what we’ve done and the win and it will sink in a bit more then.”
Alker and Workman said it was Australian caddie and mutual friend Tony Lingard who put them together at the start of the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour season. Their first event was The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay and Alker finished T4, his best Korn Ferry Tour result since 2014.
They’ve been together ever since.
“Sam has a great personality,” Alker said. “He’s pretty easygoing. He just stays so even and calm out on the course. No matter what’s going on, whether you’re shooting 80 or 65, he stays the same. That’s a huge trait for caddies. He knows the game, has done a lot of teaching, been a PGA pro, worked for golf schools.
“We’ve been through a lot. Just kept surviving. He’s very loyal and just stuck with me and dug the hard yards and to come out with a win it was pretty special.”