I thought this story from the Times on the decline in the number of African-American caddies buried the lede. The writer pitches it as something we should be mournful about or at least feel rather wistful:
At the 76th Masters this week, there will be no club caddies required; only two black caddies started the season with regular jobs on the PGA Tour and one has since been fired. The great black caddies of the past, who carried the bags for Gene Sarazen and Jack Nicklaus and the game's other greats, are dead or well into the back nine of their lives. For a variety of reasons, no new generation has taken the bags from them.Caddying, once perceived as a menial job, has become a vocation for the college-educated and failed professionals who are lured by the astronomical purses driven by Woods's immense popularity. In 1996, the year Woods turned pro, the PGA Tour purses averaged $1.47 million. This year, they average $6.20 million.
At Alotian Club near Little Rock, Ark., Jackson oversees 14 caddies, only one of whom is a minority. Jackson, who earned enough as a caddie and caddie master to put his six children through college, was asked what advice he would give to an African-American youth who expressed an interest in golf."It would be my suggestion," Jackson, 65, said, "to try to be the player."
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