John Deere, The Open, and Our Twitter Experiment

by Chris O'Connell5. July 2009 13:06

Sorry it has been a while since we’ve put up a blog post.  The summer months are busy times for me as Jim Hardy spends much deserved time with his family in Colorado.  I wanted to give you all an idea of what I will be up to over the next couple weeks.  I have quite a busy, but exciting travel schedule coming up.

On Monday night I will be traveling to the John Deere in the Quad Cities to work with Scott McCarron and Matt Weibring.  As you know, Matt is a student of mine and Jim is Scott’s instructor.  When Jim is unavailable I assist with his students.  Another student of mine, Matt Kuchar, may also play.  However, at this time he is unsure as his wife just delivered their second baby boy.  Prior to leaving I will be spending the day with Peter Jacobsen in Dallas as he continues to work his way back from multiple surgeries.  Peter is an absolute instructor’s dream because of his enthusiasm, dedication, and talent.  He will try and do whatever it is you ask him to no matter how bizarre it might feel to him.  I was fortunate enough to spend three years caddying for Peter in the late 90’s and it was from that relationship that my friendship with Jim Hardy came about.  There is never a dull moment when caddying for Peter Jacobsen.  He’s quite a character both on and off the course and those three years produced some of the best times of my life.  Now it seems that occupationally I will be going back in time for a week…read on.

After spending a few days in my birth state of Illinois, I will be going over to Scotland for The British Open or simply “The Open” as the Euros call it.  The 2009 Open is taking place at Turnberry which is located on the southwest coast of Scotland about an hour’s drive from Glasgow.  I am going with Matt Kuchar to instruct him as well as caddy for him.  I have never caddied for Matt so it should provide valuable insight for me as his instructor.  I have experience at this course caddying for Peter Jacobsen in the 2006 Senior British Open.  We had the best and worst of the weather during the tournament.  The first two days were “chamber of commerce” days of mid 70’s and sunshine.  The weekend followed with low 50’s, gusts of 40 mph, and rain coming down sideways.  I have only visited a few of the Open courses, but I find Turnberry to be my favorite so far.  It is a beautiful site with a great collection of holes.  There is the famous Ailsa Craig which is an island 10 miles to the west.  The island was quarried for its rare type of granite which was used to make curling stones.  It is now a bird sanctuary.  The saying goes that if you can’t see the Ailsa it is raining and if you can see the Ailsa it’s about to rain.  Caddying in The Open can be a lot of work given the unpredictable weather, but it is always an experience.  If you plan on attending either the John Deere or The Open, stop by and say hello!  If you can’t make it, you can follow along with my experiences during the events on our new Plane Truth Twitter account at PlaneTruthGolf. (

On a sad note, friend and PGA TOUR player Chris Smith recently lost his wife in a car accident and both of his children were badly injured.  He and his family are constantly in my thought and prayers.  I’ve known Smitty for well over 10 years and I feel blessed to call him my friend after being paired with him in my first ever PGA TOUR event.  I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs that day.  Adding to that, Smitty is an extremely long hitter and great ball striker who never misses the middle of the face.  I believe him to have one of the top 10 swings in the world and one who has yet to realize his full potential.  As great of a golfer as he is, it doesn’t compare to what a wonderful person he is.  He is beloved among his peers and is someone who always greets you with a smile and some self deprecating humor.  He turned a stressful experience into a memorable one with his encouragement and humor, and I in turn, gained a friend for life.