Adam Scott emerged from a daunting 36-hole sectional qualifying tournament last Monday with his major championship streak intact, with his hopes for the U.S. Open renewed and without his caddie. Therein lies one of the most intriguing stories of the championship being held this week at Shinnecock Hills.
It is the sort of story that shows how open the U.S. Open really is. This one led to Lenny Bummolo of East Islip getting to work this week, carrying the bag of a major champion — and giving Long Islanders a local rooting interest.
“Honestly, I was thinking the worst thing that can happen is that I have a week off. As it turned out, the opposite spectrum happened,” he said after looping for Scott in an early morning practice round Monday. “I’m thrilled to be doing it, you know? Timing in life is everything.”
He will be with Scott throughout the championship, telling him which way the putts will break based on his 30 years of caddying at Shinnecock. Bummolo will not tell him much of anything else, unless he is asked. “I speak when spoken to. I think the worst thing you can do is to do anything over what you should be doing,” he said.
Scott trusted Bummolo enough to call him after he parted ways with his regular tour caddie, David Clark. The latter’s last official job for Scott was the last two rounds in the Columbus qualifier. Being there was a humbling experience for the former world No. 1 and 2013 Masters champion, who had fallen out of the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking and missed out on an automatic Open exemption.
Like all of his fellow tour pros, Scott loves playing in majors. He has not missed any of the previous 67 ones, a streak that ranks second currently to Sergio Garcia’s 75. After dispatching Clark, he needed someone he trusts on the bag. So, he called Bummolo, who carried for Scott during a casual round in 2013 when the Australian golfer shot a then-course record 63.
Bummolo worked the 1995 and 2004 Opens, but not for someone with such a strong resume (his golfers, Mike Sanfilippo and Justin Hicks, both missed the cut). The 60-year-old feels like a little kid.
“I’m trying to temper it. I think the two previous times I’ve been here are helping me right now,” he said. “At 1:47 on Thursday on the 10th tee, I’m going to be pumped up. No doubt. I’m going to have to calm myself down. I think once we get started, I’ll be OK.”
This is hardly the sort of career arc the lifelong golf enthusiast envisioned when he first drove onto the Shinnecock Hills property 30 years ago. “I came out here in 1988 to earn some money while I looked for another job and I never left,” he said.
He grew accustomed to commuting at 5 a.m., moved up the ranks, became assistant caddie master and earned the right to carry the bag of Jimmy Dunne. Bummolo was there for Dunne’s 63 from the member’s tees in 2010. When Scott showed up for a casual round from the championship tees in 2013 as a guest of Dunne, Bummolo carried for him, too.
The round still is vivid. The caddie recalls his guys starting on the back nine playing through three groups and watching Scott reaching the final green in two.
“Adam hit it right under the hole about 15 feet. He called me over and said, ‘Just point where you want it.’ I knew it was for 63. Everyone in the group did. He somehow made it,” the caddie said.
The pro never has forgotten it and is entrusting his week to Bummolo. The latter will apply his extensive knowledge of Shinnecock’s greens. He might break the Open tension by asking Scott about his two young children.
“Bo and Byron, I think, are the names. I looked it up on Google,” said the caddie who always is prepared.