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Grace under Pressure
on 25 July 2004
Do you have a long-time friend who has made a big difference in your life? I hope so.
Bruce Edwards and Tom Watson have been blessed to have one another as friends for over 30 years. Mr. Edwards was Mr. Watson's primary caddy for all but four years of that time. They've supported each other through victory, defeat, family problems, and serious illnesses. Both are graceful men who want to help others and take responsibility for their own actions. That friendship became more important to both of them in 2003 when Bruce Edwards was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and they knew their friendship would soon be over. This book features the magnificent story of how both of them responded in uncommonly valiant and wonderful ways to this new challenge.
This book will be most appealing to those who have been caddies, fans of Tom Watson, those who know someone with ALS, people who value friendship and those who appreciate the potential of the human spirit to rise above the physical world.
Although this book is a memoir about Mr. Edwards, you cannot tell a caddy's story without talking about the people he caddied for so there's lots of golf history including Mr. Watson's famous chip-in at the 17th hole at Pebble Beach, his many British Open wins and keen insights into the character of many famous golfers (including Greg Norman for whom Mr. Edwards caddied for four years).
You will learn how Mr. Edwards decided upon caddying as a career. He had caddied at his home country club in Connecticut where a tour event was held annually, and loved caddying for a pro in that tournament. Having disliked the discipline of school, he enjoyed the freedom and camaraderie of the links. Upon graduating from high school, he persuaded his parents to let him try his hand at caddying for a year. At that time, there were few caddies who worked regularly on the tour. Mr. Edwards soon got Mr. Watson's bag . . . and kept it.
Naturally optimistic and positive, Mr. Edwards has always been generous in sharing those traits with other golfers . . . even Mr. Watson's opponents. You'll find out about the many times he helped Mr. Watson get an advantage that might otherwise not have been his.
Facing a near-term death sentence, Mr. Edwards soldiered on as best he could in the 2003 season. He made the best of his rapidly diminishing physical capabilities, and was generous in helping make others feel more comfortable around him. Mr. Watson responded by playing at the top of his game for a man his age so that he could share more success with Mr. Edwards. Mr. Watson also took on a crusade to raise money for ALS research hoping to help save Mr. Edwards' life. It's a beautiful, touching and memorable story.
The book's main weakness is that it is a little too much about Mr. Watson prior to 2003 and a bit too little about Mr. Edwards in those years as well. I would have liked to know more about Mr. Edwards' views on golf and caddying . . . and his advice for the rest of us.
If you don't have that long-time friend, you need to start looking.
I suggest that you consider giving this book as a gift to young people to help them understand how to build a meaningful, satisfying and contributing life.