Lance Ten Broeck, pro golfer-turned-caddie who grew up on the South Side, dies at 67

He was the quintessential journeyman golfer, playing at least 14 tournaments in 12 seasons, making 355 career starts on the PGA Tour, recording 11 top-10 finishes without ever claiming an official win.

SHARE Lance Ten Broeck, pro golfer-turned-caddie who grew up on the South Side, dies at 67
Pro golfer and caddie Lance Ten Broeck, a native of the South Side of Chicago, died Sunday at age 67.

Pro golfer and caddie Lance Ten Broeck, a native of the South Side of Chicago, died Sunday at age 67.

Carlos Osorio/AP

“Last Call” Lance Ten Broeck, who famously played and caddied in the same PGA Tour event, died Sunday at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach. He was 67.

Ten Broeck grew up on the South Side of Chicago, part of a family of golfers, and played collegiately at Texas. He qualified for the U.S. Open seven times and held the 36-hole lead in the 2012 U.S. Senior Open, but was the quintessential journeyman golfer, playing at least 14 tournaments in 12 seasons, making 355 career starts on the Tour, recording 11 top-10 finishes without ever claiming an official win.

“I probably didn’t have enough confidence, but it’s hard to have confidence when you’re not playing well,” Ten Broeck once told The Caddie Network. “And when I played badly, I didn’t want to play.”

In 1999, with his playing status all but gone, Jesper Parnevik asked him to caddie for him. They won together that first week at the Wyndham Championship and Ten Broeck had a new profession. In addition to caddying for four of Parnevik’s victories, he also worked for the likes of Ernie Els, Tim Herron and Richard S. Johnson.

Along the way, he made a habit of committing to events where he caddied just in case several players dropped out and depleted the alternates list. At the 2009 Valero Texas Open, that’s exactly what happened. Ten Broeck didn’t know yet of his impending tee time and the night before he enjoyed eight happy-hour special orders of a 22-ounce beer and a jug of sake for $6.50. Parnevik teed off at 7:25 a.m. and when the round ended Ten Broeck, 53 at the time, was informed he had an afternoon tee time.

“I didn’t have any clubs or even any pants. I had to be taken to the mall to buy pants.”
said Ten Broeck, who still managed to shoot a respectable 71.

He followed it up by shooting 70 to beat his boss by two strokes but they both missed the cut. Ten Broeck, who was tall enough that he didn’t need a stool for kitchen cabinets, borrowed clubs from the 5-foot-7 Johnson and later complained the clubs were too short, the irons too stiff.

He repeated the feat the following year near Cancun, finishing his loop 12 minutes before his tee time. There was no time to eat lunch let alone warm up or even hit a practice putt. He played in sneakers.

“It was more fun the last time,” Ten Broeck said afterwards. “I played crummy. I didn’t even make a birdie.”

When asked later that year if he was interested in seeing if the third time would be the charm in New Orleans, where players were dropping like flies from the field, he said, “No, man. The thrill is gone.”

An all-time nickname

Ten Broeck earned one of the great nicknames in golf for his tendency to close the bar. He once recounted the story of how former caddie Jeff “Boo” Burrell stamped him with the nickname when Ten Broeck was playing in the 1980 Pensacola Open.

“Jeff used to make football bets with me and I would phone them in to the bookie,” Ten Broeck told Craig Dolch for a Caddie Network story. “He came into my hotel room Sunday morning and there was a guy sleeping on the floor in a bartender uniform. Jeff said, ‘Who the heck is that?’

“I had gone to Rosie O’Grady’s the night before and I needed a ride home. I had to stick around for last call for the bartender to give me a ride home. So Jeff started calling me ‘Last Call Lance.’”

As Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner noted in his tweet, “he loved a good hang as much as his golf.”

Ten Broeck won one event, the 1984 Magnolia Classic, but it was an unofficial opposite-field event played the same week as the Masters. Ten Broeck played sparingly on PGA Tour Champions, beginning in 2005. He threatened to win the biggest senior title in golf at the 2012 U.S. Senior Open, grabbing the 36-hole lead but couldn’t keep up his pace over the weekend and finished T-9.

Read more at usatoday.com

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