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'Big Easy' Has Celebrated Caddie for this Week's U.S. Open


Four-time major winner Ernie Els doesn't take his profession lightly. The reigning British Open champion and a two-time U.S. Open champion will have former NHL All-Star Dan Quinn on his bag for this week's U.S. Open at Merion.

Besides being a 14-year player on hockey's biggest stage, the 48-year-old Quinn is also quite a golfer. The Ottawa native is a five-time winner of the American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe. He'll be the defending champion when the event tees off July 18, and won the event in 2004, '02, '01 and 1992.

He's also no stranger to being Els' looper. Quinn will caddie for Els in at least 10 tournaments this year; he's already worked for Els in the Players Championship and the Memorial and is slated for the Canadian Open in late July. In working together for more than 35 events over the past four years, Quinn has helped Els to several top-five and top-10 finishes.

In a notable coincidence, last year Els earned his second Claret Jug on the same Sunday at Muirfield as Quinn took his fifth title in Lake Tahoe.

Els said he and Quinn have a great symbiosis. "He's always remarkably positive," said the South African. "He knows what's going through my mind. He knows what to say and when to say it. And most of all, he knows when not to say anything . . . He's one of the best readers of greens I have ever come across."

As for Quinn's shift from player to caddie, he offers the following advice: "You want to have nervous energy and apply it. That's important to the player. But you've got to stay even and just give him the right information. There's really nothing tough about it. It's work and you have to be sharp, but I enjoy the heck out of it."

Quinn also caddied for John Daly at the 2000 U.S. Open, and has looped for Jesper Parnevik and Dustin Johnson.