BRITISH OPEN / DAILY REPORT : Putter Is Returned, but Careless Caddie Remains Without a Job at Turnberry


The good news is that someone found American Greg Kraft’s lost putter in time for him to shoot a four-under 66 Saturday at Turnberry in Scotland.

The bad news is that no one has found Todd Blersch a new job.

Blersch was Kraft’s caddie until he went out for lunch Tuesday and left the player’s prized Arnold Palmer Wilson putter behind. The putter, at least 30 years old, was a gift from Kraft’s grandfather.

“How much is it worth?” said Kraft, who is playing in his first British Open. “About $2,000. I was prepared to pay anything to get it back.”


Blersch spent the rest of Tuesday searching frantically for the putter, but came up empty handed. That’s when Kraft decided to fire him.

“I know it was an accident and accidents happen,” Kraft said. “I know he feels bad, but it was so hard for me to deal with the fact that it was lost carelessly. I looked at him, he had puffy eyes and head down and he was embarrassed and hurt. But every time if I had missed a putt and looked at him, it wouldn’t have worked. I felt it was best to put all that behind me.”

Kraft, using a new Ping putter that he got at the Exhibition Tent, had a 69 Thursday and a 74 Friday. He averaged more than 30 putts during each of those two rounds.

Thursday night, after the last threesome completed play, someone handed the putter to a marshal on the first tee. Kraft was asked to return to the course, where deputy secretary George Wilson asked, “Is this the head cover to your putter?” Kraft said yes. “Is this your putter?”

Kraft couldn’t believe it.

“I was holding back the tears,” he said. “My putter is very important to my game.”

As for Blersch, his one-year tenure as Kraft’s caddie appears finished. Kraft has hired a new caddie for the upcoming New England Classic.

“To lose the putter two days before my first championship was devastating,” Kraft said. “I said to Blersch I didn’t know whether he would be back with me--’I’ll talk to you down the road. Just now I can’t bear to look at you.’ ”



Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, who began Saturday one over, responded with a 65 and now finds himself within range of the leaders.

Montgomerie, who set a U.S. Open record for most shirts drenched with sweat, birdied four of the last 10 holes on the sun-drenched, mostly windless Ailsa Course on Saturday. That done, Montgomerie wants to see rain and gales today, the more the better.

“I’m hoping for a bad day--poor spectators--because that’s when things go wrong,” said Montgomerie, who finished tied for second at the U.S. Open. “I need the weather to be very, very bad.”

Otherwise, he doesn’t like his chances to win the Claret Jug.

“I started off too far behind,” he said.


During a Tuesday practice round that included the foursome of Brad Faxon, Ben Crenshaw, Corey Pavin and Davis Love III, a bet was made. Whoever could shoot the first bogey-free round would win $1,000 from the other players.

Faxon won the wager. He has gone on to 41 consecutive holes without a bogey.

One problem.

“Crenshaw’s the only one who’s paid,” Faxon said. “Print that.”