LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WLFI) – Lafayette Jeff head golf coach and Battle Ground Golf Club Head Professional Chad Cooper is experiencing the thrill of a lifetime at this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
Every golfer knows the value of a good caddie, and this week Cooper is on the bag for his former college teammate and friend Brian Norman.
“When he called me and asked me to caddie for him — it’s a major championship — so it was an extreme honor to say the least,” Cooper said. “It’s an incredible experience.”
A graduate of Lafayette Jeff, Cooper played his college golf with Norman at Southern Illinois University.
“Brian and I have played a massive amount of golf together,” Cooper said. “We were already great friends, but our friendship kind of grew just playing golf and traveling around. Brian and I butted heads a lot of times on the golf course. But it was always great fun, and we worked together on each other’s games constantly.”
When Norman qualified for the PGA Championship earlier this summer, by virtue of his finish at the PGA Professional National Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Cooper wasn’t surprised.
“It was one of those experiences that Brian and I had talked about for years,” Cooper said. “We always said that one of these days one of us was going to make it. One of us was going to do something really great, and it was very bittersweet to see Brian go ahead and make it like that.”
Norman is one of 20 club professionals who earned a spot in the final major of the year through a qualification process in June. Cooper says one of the coolest parts this week is interacting with some of the game’s best players.
“It’s been jaw-dropping to see the best players in the world be standing right next to him [Norman], and watching them hit balls. The Rory McIlroy’s the Keegan Bradley’s of the world,” he said.
With Cooper behind the bag, Norman will hit the first shot of the 96th PGA Championship bright and early Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m.
“I’m going to be extremely nervous for him of course, but it’s a good nervous. I think he’s one of those guys that just might step out of nowhere and surprise somebody.”
Norman joked to PGA.com that his caddie, Cooper, might have to tee it up for him.
As for his role, Cooper says he will remind his friend that it’s the same game he has always played.
“I’m trying to get his mind of the fact that he’s playing in front of millions and millions of people, and I’m not going to say anything like that to him, but put him at ease. You know, just put him at ease, and it’s just another tee shot that you’ve hit a million times.”