Bound for the University of Minnesota on full scholarship in the fall, Bloomington’s Jacob Roy went back to work Monday alongside PGA Tour veteran Tim Herron in a pro-am group for the inaugural 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities. By doing so, he represented the caddie slogan he wore on his cap:
Best First Job Ever.
“It is,” he said. “It’s really is life-changing.”
Now 19, Roy participates in one of two programs designed to grow golf that Herron supports. One is the Tim Herron Prep Tour, a series of fall tournaments for the state’s top prep players that launched last year at premier Minnesota golf clubs.
The other is “Caddie U,” a nonprofit organization (caddie-u.org). It trains and places primarily teenage girls and boys — some with conditions such as Tourette, Down and Asperger syndromes — as caddies at local clubs such as Interlachen, Olympic Hills, Woodhill and Minnesota Valley and in other jobs in the local golf industry.
Caddie U helped supply more than 300 caddies for the 3M Open’s pro-am events Monday and Wednesday this week in Blaine.
Born in South Korea, adopted and immigrated to Minnesota, Roy first caddied at Minnesota Valley Country Club when he was 12.
“I was a lot shorter then,” he said, “but I grew into it.”
Roy supported himself carrying golf bags, raking bunkers and reading greens in summer and also worked on de-icing crews in winter at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as he reached adulthood.
“It’s something I never thought would impact my life in the ways it has,” Roy said. “The personal relationships you make, learning the game of golf. Patience. Respect. It really is life-changing.”
When he started, he loved basketball and football and knew nothing about golf.
“Literally zero,” he said. “I probably could tell you who Tiger Woods was, but I couldn’t tell you anything else.”
Now he will receive an Evans Scholars Foundation scholarship that has helped nearly 11,000 high-achieving caddies with limited financial means graduate from college since its first was given in 1930.
Roy will use it to study either biochemistry or statistics. He has completed a year at Normandale Community College, where he studied calculus, among other subjects.
“Learn calculus and you’ll go far,” one of the scientific golfers in his foursome told him Monday.
Herron himself caddied at Wayzata Country Club when he was a kid. His 13-year-old twins caddie there as well.
“You learn about money and how to do things like set up a bank account,” Herron said. “I got paid pretty good: $12 for a single. Now kids are making $50 to $100. It’s a little better than minimum wage. It’s a great first job.”
The PGA Tour on Monday set its featured groups for play Thursday and Friday, but the exact times for each day won’t be revealed until Tuesday.
Those key groups: Brooks Koepka-Kevin Na-Patrick Reed; Bryson DeChambeau-Charles Howell III-Keegan Bradley; Phil Mickelson-Tony Finau-Nate Lashley; Jason Day-Hideki Matsuyama-Corey Conners.
• India’s Arjun Atwal, former Notre Dame golfer Mark Baldwin, Zimbabwe’s Nyasha Mauchaza and Apple Valley-born Brian Dwyer were the four who made this week’s field in a Monday qualifier at Victory Links. Atwal shot 62, Baldwin 63 and Mauchaza and Dwyer advanced from a three-man playoff.
• Among the first on the driving range Monday morning after playing in Detroit last week was Reed, the 2018 Masters champion and the world’s 25th-ranked player. He tied for fifth Sunday.
• Tournament officials have made concert-only admission available for Friday night’s Zac Brown Band concert and fireworks show at the National Sports Center stadium. A $100 donation to the 3M Open Fund benefits the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and other local charities. Fewer than 2,000 tickets remain. The stadium will accommodate 7,000 fans for a band that twice has headlined at Target Field.