The prospect of caddying for PGA great Lee Trevino during the Bass Pro Shops Legends Of Golf at Top Of The Rock Golf Course outside of Branson over the weekend initially worried Ozark’s Greg Thomas a bit.
After all, he would be walking 'between the ropes' for the first time in front of thousands of fans and a nationwide audience on The Golf Channel for the PGA Champions Tour event.
But Trevino more than lived up to his reputation os as jovial sort and the ‘Merry Mex’ put Thomas at ease immediately.
“I got nervous when I was first asked to do it and there was the anticipation and waiting,” Thomas said. “But once I got to the range I was fine. There was never anytime on the course in which I was uncomfortable. When (tournament director) Kirk Elmquist introduced me to Lee, he said, ‘Lee, this is Greg Thomas, our golf pro (at Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course). He’s going to caddy for you and should be able to help you read the greens.’ Lee said, ‘That’s great, but can he help me read the yips.’”
Trevino and Thomas were joined by PGA pro David Graham and celebrities Kid Rock and Larry ‘The Cable Guy.’ They made for an entertaining foursome.
“It was an amazing experience,” Thomas said. “Just to be in that atmosphere, with all of them in the same group, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Lee likes to talk and was always cheerful. He always had something to say, so conversation was not an issue. He talked about golf, but also about a wide variety of topics, jumping from one thing to the next.”
Thomas caddied for Trevino for 18 holes Saturday and nine holes on Sunday. He mostly helped Trevino with club selection.
“First and foremost you’re helping with yardage, how far is the hole playing to the flag stick and how far it is playing to the front of the green," said Thomas, who has been the pro at Buffalo Ridge and previously Branson Creek for 20 years. "You also want to help with the wind direction and things like that. Obviously, with Lee Trevino you’re talking about an established legend of the game, so I didn’t have to help him a lot. I talked to him about yardage for the most part and that would trigger what club he wanted. Other than that, it was about cleaning his ball and clubs and tending to the flag stick.”
During Saturday’s round, Kid Rock created lasting memories with a spectacular tee shot and a not-so-spectacular shank. His errant chip shot on the No. 4 hole hit a fan’s drink causing most of the drink to splash in the air and on her. The moment was caught on video and already had thousands of views by the end of the weekend.
“He gave her a big hug,” Thomas said. “Kid Rock and Larry ‘The Cable Guy’ were very funny. Kid Rock had a few good golf shots, but for the most part struggled with his game. But he was never upset or bothered about it. Larry played really well.”
Kid Rock had a shining moment on the 163-yard No. 9 hole Saturday, hitting his tee shot on the middle of the green, much to the delight of the crowd. A year ago at Legends while playing with Jack Nicklaus, Kid Rock drained a 40-foot putt.
Other celebrities on hand for Legends were Dude Perfect for the third straight year, Mark Wahlberg for the second straight year and newcomer Justin Timberlake. The galleries following their groups from hole to hole numbered in the thousands.
“For the celebrities, they all had an adjustment period getting started," Thomas said. "Obviously, they do other things for a living, standing on stage singing or doing comedy. They were out of their comfort zone standing in front of a lot of people swinging a golf club. Kudos to them for having the bravery to do that.”