Former TOUR winner Wrenn turns caddy for Billy Andrade
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Wrenn filled in for Andrade's caddy during the Dominion Energy Charity Classic
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
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Billy Andrade just needed a minute to collect himself and think. It was about an hour before his tee time on Saturday at the PGA TOUR Champions Dominion Energy Charity Classic, and he had just been informed by his regular caddie, Mark “Ziggy” Zyons that he wasn’t going to be able to handle the bag.
Andrade had stretched and gone to his car to remove a layer as it had warmed up. Zyons approached and said he had been dizzy not only when they were on the putting green after Friday’s round but already on Saturday morning. And after getting checked out, his blood pressure was through the roof. Andrade took one look at his ashen face and told him to go find a doctor— he’d figure out what to do for a looper.
“It just hit me. I’d gotten a text the night before from Robert saying good luck,” Andrade said.
Robert Wrenn is a predecessor of Andrade’s at Wake Forest and on the PGA TOUR, where he won the 1987 Buick Open. He is a Richmond, Virginia native and lives only 2 miles from the Country Club of Virginia where he’s a member. He was planning on walking a few holes on Saturday and catching up with some of his old friends from outside the ropes. But suddenly he was back inside the ropes and in the thick of it.
“I didn’t even know if he was in town,” Andrade said. “He said, ‘I’m actually driving to the course right now.’ I said, ‘Here’s the situation, can you help me out?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely.’”
“As luck or misfortune would have it, I was available,” Wrenn cracked.
Andrade, 58, and Wrenn, 63, estimate that they’ve known each other for about 45 years, when Wrenn was part of a Demon Deacons golf team that was helping to recruit Andrade. Once Andrade made it through Q-School in 1987 and got his TOUR card, Wrenn invited him to be his partner in the Chrysler Team Championship in South Florida.
Every year he plays in Richmond, Andrade has a Saturday night dinner with Wrenn and his wife, Kathy. But Kathy was in Arkansas visiting family over the weekend, so Andrade and Wrenn spent two long days together on the course instead. Zyons was unavailable on Sunday as well, and since has been diagnosed with vertigo. Andrade is hopeful he’ll be ready to go by the TimberTech Championship.
“Robert was fantastic,” Andrade said. “He knows the course, and he’s a total pro. He played the TOUR. He knows what to say and when to be quiet. He did all the yardages, and that kept him in the game.
“I asked for a lot of advice. I didn’t putt very well on Sunday and didn’t get it in the hole. But to have a friend come in and caddie as well as he did goes to show how much he loves the game and knows the game.”
Wrenn and Andrade agreed that tee-to-green the player hit the ball extremely well. He just couldn’t get much going on the greens, which has held him back all season.
“What’s interesting is the greens were putting about a 13,” Wrenn said. “We don’t ever see them that fast. We routinely putt on them when they’re 11, 11.5. Then you get some of these putts look pretty straight, maybe left edge, and all of a sudden the break is 6 inches. It’s a little different ball game. But most putts I had a reasonable idea and then it’s just a matter of committing to it and executing it.
“As I like to tell people, we shot 68 on Saturday, and he shot 73 on Sunday.”
Wrenn said he prepped for Sunday with a couple of glasses of wine and a few Advil on Saturday night. He was feeling every bit of his age after toting “a bag of that magnitude for the first time in a long time.” But he woke Sunday feeling fine.
“I was really encouraged by how he drove it,” Wrenn said. “He drove it great. He just missed a lot of putts. Sunday he said he just didn’t have a feel for the greens. But his ball-striking was still really good.
“Sunday was a tough day to play. It was kind of misty and cool and the breeze was coming out of the north. That breeze makes that course really difficult.”
Andrade advanced to the second round of the Schwab Cup Playoffs, the TimberTech Championship. He’s in 50thplace, so he would need at least a top-10 finish and probably better to advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix, which takes the top 36 in the standings.
“I feel like I’ve hit the ball awesome. I just need to get the putter hot,” Andrade said. “It hasn’t been hot all year, but what better time for it to happen.”