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'Well-Rested' Ten Broeck Ready for U.S. Senior Open Weekend
Seeing that he's caddied way more than he's played this year, Lance Ten Broeck drolly told reporters following his second round at the U.S. Senior Open, "I guess that means I'm well-rested."
Ten Broeck's regular gig is the looper for the PGA Tour's Tim Herron, but this week the 56-year-old Chicagoan is playing in the fourth of five majors on the Champions Tour. And he's not doing too bad, carding rounds of 4-under 66 and 68 at a tough Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich., to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Kite and ahead of such luminaries as Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin, Tom Watson and Fred Couples.
Because of his full-time job, Ten Broeck estimates that he plays only 25 rounds a year, thus the reason for his being rested. He's only played one round on the over-50 circuit in 2012, finishing 71st in last month's Principal Charity Classic. As a PGA Tour player, his biggest year came in 1989 when he earned $146,568.
"Caddying is a lot easier than playing," he admitted Friday. "That's why you get paid more money to play."
If Ten Broeck finds himself atop the leaderboard come Sunday evening, he'll not only earn around $500,000 he'll join a couple of other unlikely winners of 2012 Champions Tour majors. In May, England's Roger Chapman forged a wire-to-wire victory in the Senior PGA Championship. The 53-year-old's only prior title of note came in his 474th start at the European Tour's Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open in 2000.
And early this month, journeyman Joe Daley, winless in a short PGA Tour career and a mere two-time winner on the Web.com Tour, came out of nowhere to capture the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, edging Lehman by two strokes.
Who knows? Maybe the stars will be similarly aligned for Ten Broeck, whose caddie this week is his 26-year-old son Jonathan. On Friday evening, the senior Ten Broeck sat down with reporters and discussed the chances of that happening along with other subjects. Here's what he had to say.
MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We're pleased to welcome Lance Ten Broeck to the Media Center today. Lance shot a 2 under 68 today. He's 6 under for the championship, currently co leading. I'm told the last time Lance was a co leader on the tour was in 1982 at the Hall of Fame Classic. This is a tough course, Lance. You put together two pretty solid rounds. What were the keys to your success out there today?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Well, yesterday I played a lot better than I did today. Today I missed more fairways. You know, playing in the afternoon, the greens were a little choppier and not as soft, but I hung in there.
MODERATOR: What would Tim Herron say about your two rounds over the last couple of days?
LANCE TEN BROECK: We've played together quite a few times. He knows I can play a little bit.
MODERATOR: Why don't we open it up for questions to Lance. Anyone?
Q. First of all, just assess your round, first off.
LANCE TEN BROECK: Compared to yesterday, I think I played way better yesterday. Hit a lot more fairways yesterday. I think the course played a little harder. There's more wind. In the afternoon, the greens aren't soft or smooth. I'm kind of fighting the putter at the moment. Sohave to play a little defensive on the greens.
Q. Still right there on the leaderboard. High up there on the leaderboard. Like that going into the weekend?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I'm very surprised to be where I'm at. So I'm looking forward to the weekend.
Q. And the way things are going, would it be - how surprised would you be if you were in the lead at the end of the day?
LANCE TEN BROECK: In the lead, that would be pretty cool, yeah. I don't think I will be, though. I think Tom's pretty steady.
Q. How would that affect - either way, how does that affect you going into the weekend.
LANCE TEN BROECK: Either way, if you're in the last group, you've played very well the first two days. You've got to keep doing the same things you've been doing the first two, try to do something a little better.
Q. Been in a lot of pressure situations, being on the bag, I guess. Does that - are your nerves going to be that much different?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Oh, caddying is way easier than playing. When a guy is fighting the yips out there on the course trying to shake in a two footer, the caddie doesn't realize how bad the guy feels over the putt. My son doesn't realize how bad I feel over a putt. It's a lot easier caddying.
Q. You said you'd been caddying eight of the last nine weeks. Who were you caddying for?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Tim Herron. Caddying the last nine weeks, and the week I had off, I qualified for the Senior Champions event in Iowa. So this is my tenth week in a row.
Q. As much caddying as you've done, you haven't been able to play much. How surprised are you you've been able to play this well on this course.
LANCE TEN BROECK: When you don't play that much, you practice and you don't know - if you're hitting it good, you don't know how good you're playing. Obviously, I'm playing well. It's hard to tell if you don't play that much. But I expected to do well. I expected to make the cut when I came here. I knew I was playing that well.
Q. How about playing the final round going into Saturday? Did you expect to be anywhere near that?
LANCE TEN BROECK: No, not at all. So it's pretty cool.
Q. During a typical tour week, do you hit balls? What do you do?
LANCE TEN BROECK: No, you don't want to peak too early. Last week, I think I played two days last week. I hit balls maybe a couple of the days. When I hit balls, I'm talking about hitting 30 balls. I don't beat balls like some of these guys. 30 balls to get loose, see how it's curving.
Q. You play early in the week? How do you fit that in?
LANCE TEN BROECK: No, usually after, after the rounds. If I get time after, if we play early one day, I'll go out and hit a few balls, chip a few.
Q. Does it give you any extra insight into how you're playing, because from seeing it from a being a caddie all the time, does that give you any insight into what you're doing as a player?
LANCE TEN BROECK: No. But you see a lot of trends of certain ways certain players screw up. You can see that. Usually happens in, like, the domino theory. I think guys tend to throw together two, three, four bogeys in a row or throw a double in there. They try to press, try to get it back. Course like this, par is your friend. There's some birdie holes, but not too many.
Q. How much trouble did you think you were in on the last hole?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I knew my drive was going to be good. I hit it exactly where I was trying to hit it. I picked out the perfect gap. I figured it would be left of the green. That's a good spot to go for where the pin was. I just was surprised I was able to drop in the drop zone, which made it a little bit easier shot. I had a good shot, but I hit a pathetic putt. I mean, it wasn't even close.
Q. Lance, 66 yesterday, 66 today. One shot out of the lead after 36 holes in the U.S. Senior Open. You've been on the road 8 out of 9 weeks. Who's more surprised, you or the guy you've been caddying for, Tim Herron?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Probably Lumpy is pretty surprised. Like you said, I haven't played much golf. When I do practice here, you don't know if you're playing good, bad. If you are playing good, you don't know how good you're playing. Yesterday I played great, but today I struggled a little bit getting into the fairway often, and I'm fighting the putter the whole way.
Q. Working as a caddie all these years now and having played as well, has caddying given you some greater perspective on the game that maybe necessarily you didn't have when you were really playing week in and week out?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I think it helps me with my strategy or just your overall attitude on the golf course as far as trying to press. You've got to play safe sometimes, and sometimes par is your friend.
Q. You got up on line last hole, held onto the driver, pretty gutsy play. What's going to be a strategy for 36 holes to go here? Is it going to be aggressive or maybe a little more conservative?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Well, I'm fairly aggressive from tee to green. Once again, on the green, I can't get the ball to the hole. I'm fighting to get to the hole. I just want to get it up there a foot away and tap it in.
Q. Talk about what kind of experience is this for you to not be caddying and actually playing and having some success so far.
LANCE TEN BROECK: When I came here, I knew I was playing pretty good in spite of having not really played much. But I figured I should be able to make the cut, but I never figured that I'd be in the last group on Saturday. So I'm happy about that. I'm fighting the putter both rounds. I putted average at best yesterday, and today I made a few short ones, but I missed quite a few very easy putts inside of ten feet.
Q. Lance, how does your caddying help your own performance? What do you gain from that? Also, how do you rate your son's caddying skills?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Let's see. My son's doing a great job. He knows what's going on. He's good at reading putts, and he knows how far I hit the ball. So he's pretty good. He stays on the ball. As far as caddying goes, one thing I've noticed - and I've caddied for 13 years now. I caddied for Parnevik for ten years, Robert Allenby for a year and a half and Herron for a year. The guys seem to, when they screw up, the bad holes come in succession, like a domino theory. They screw up three or four holes in a row. So I kind of learned, if you make a bogey, you can't really press, you've got to try to, especially on a course like this, make pars. Because if you try to force the issue, you're just going to tack on more bogeys.
MODERATOR: Was the wind a factor at all today during your round?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Compared to yesterday, the wind was blowing probably at least twice as hard and a little bit different direction. So it made the last, 16 and 18 played a lot shorter today than they did the first day.
Q. Lance, if somebody asked you in recent years how many complete 18 hole rounds you play a year, approximately what would the answer be?
LANCE TEN BROECK: How many rounds do I play in a year?
Q. Yeah, 18 hole rounds of golf.
LANCE TEN BROECK: 25, 30. I guess that means I'm well rested.
Q. You said you're surprised to be in the final group tomorrow. Does that make you change your perspective for the weekend, your expectations or your goals?
LANCE TEN BROECK: No. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing. Try to play aggressive from tee to green, hit the fairways, and then hopefully gain a little confidence with the putter on the weekend. Hopefully, I can putt better on the weekend than I have the first two days, and I'll be happy.
MODERATOR: What will be your routine today? Will you go and rest, or will you work on different aspects of your game?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I'm going to go putt for a little while, probably 15, 20 minutes. I might hit 15, 20 balls.
Q. Would you talk about growing up with golf and playing golf with Rick when you were a kid?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I'm the youngest of eight kids. My father played. Everybody in the family played. I'm the youngest. So I used to caddie for my older brother in amateur tournaments, and we played a lot of golf together. We had some good matches.
Q. Where did you play?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I'm from the south side of Chicago, a place called Beverly Country Club.
Q. Caddying and playing at the highest level, when do you get more nervous, when you're on the bag and you have no control or when you're out there making the shots yourself?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I don't get too nervous when I'm caddying, no. But when I'm playing, though the hardest part, like I said, is to play when you're fighting the putter a little bit. If you feel a little yippy or whatever, it makes for a long day, especially when the greens are fast, and you're in contention. So I would say definitely caddying is a lot easier than playing. That's why you get paid more money to play.
Q. Does your son know how to calm you down if you get nervous?
LANCE TEN BROECK: I don't really get nervous. I just get mad. I get pissed if I hit a bad shot or a bad putt.
Q. Does he know what to do?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Usually when I get mad, he wants to go hide. We haven't worked on that yet.
Q. How old is your son?
LANCE TEN BROECK: He's 26.
Q. His name?
LANCE TEN BROECK: Jonathan, J o n a t h a n.
MODERATOR: Solid round. Congratulations. Good luck this weekend.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.