Villegas' Caddie Exchanges Bag for Spot on Nationwide Tour


The regular caddie for Camilo Villegas, Brett Waldman, will play on the Nationwide Tour next year instead of working again with the Colombian star. Waldman, who's been a caddie for eight years, qualified for the Nationwide Tour through the PGA Tour's Q-school.

Waldman finished the final, six-round endurance test of Q-school after posting scores of 68, 72, 71, 72, 75 and 68. The former college golfer at Kansas State and Central Florida finished tied for 64th at 3-under 426.

The biggest decision Waldman had when opting to become a touring pro was to choose between the financial security of looping for Villegas, who earned $3,035,523 in 2010, or striking out on his own on the Nationwide Tour, which has much smaller purses but offers the possibility of Waldman gaining his own spot on the PGA Tour.

"It's just a dream," Waldman told Associated Press writer Doug Ferguson (for the full story, visit http://stats.cbc.ca/golf/story.asp?tour=PGA&i=20101215124416546253508&ref=hea&tm=&src=). "I don't want to look back knowing that I had the chance to do it and not doing it, and hating myself for it. I would always look back and say, 'What if?' There's a reason I got to where I am. I might as well chase the dream."

Waldman tried Q-school in 2002, but after not making it became a caddie for his cousin, Tom Pernice Jr., before going to work for Ben Crane and Villegas.

Thanks to support from his wife Angel and several friends, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna and other pro golfers and caddies, Waldman tried one more time to fulfill a lifelong dream. He did it the hard way, becoming one of only nine players to make it through a pre-qualifier (four rounds), the next two stages of four-round tournaments and, finally, the grueling finale, which took place earlier this month in Florida.

During this period Waldman continued to work for Villegas at the season-ending Tour Championship and events in China and Australia.

"I'm very happy for Brett," Villegas told Ferguson. "We had a great talk during the Q-school tournament and then again after he earned his Nationwide card. He is chasing his dream and I fully support him. He knows that I will do everything I can to help him, but he's already taken a very big step on his own. I'm proud of him."

"Camilo was great," Waldman said. "I don't think he was surprised. I think he expected it. I told him I was sorry, because I feel like we've got unfinished business. But all along, he has been unbelievable supportive and respectful."

Waldman added that he owed a lot to his friends and Villegas for their moral support. "It was overwhelming, the amount of people supporting me. When you've got the best players in the world pulling for you, it's pretty cool."


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