published Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Rickett Diary: Fox pulls in big crowd

Former UTC golfer and assistant coach Ben Rickett has volunteered to provide a first-person account of his daily activities as caddie at the Masters for UTC senior and U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox.

To: Chattanooga area golf fans

From: Ben Rickett

Subject: Crowds come in

What he said: We got a little Starbucks on the way in, and there was barely any traffic for where my spot is. I don't have to go to the public parking. I park across the street from Magnolia Lane.

I ate my breakfast, then went outside the caddie hut [to the right of the teeing ground on the range] and waited. I was just mesmerized at what's going on. There were people everywhere. The bleachers were full and you could see people flowing in from every direction.

Steven warmed up and decided to play with T.J. [Vogel]. It was a lot of chipping and putting. I had four or five balls in my pocket and he was chipping them from all sorts of positions.

He got booed a couple times because I picked up a ball outside the ropes. On No. 15, there were 20-30 people around his ball wanting him to hit it. I picked it up and they booed. I put it back and he hit it, and they cheered.

We got to No 16 and it was just packed. T.J. was up there ready to skip a ball, but they wanted both to hit together. A few were counting down, but Steven and T.J. wanted them all, so the whole crowd counted down -- 3, 2, 1 -- and they both hit it across the creek. Neither of them got on the green, but Steven was dry.

After he finished on 18, it took 30 minutes to get from the green to the big oak tree. It's just a cool scene. He kept a Sharpie in his pocket the whole time.

That's what Steven did unbelievable today -- he took in the crowd, he took time to sign autographs.

— David Uchiyama

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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