Who's on the bag...Martin Rowley

Ian Garbutt's bagman faces the 20 question grilling and provides some hilarious answers!

Martin Park
Tue, 1 Aug 2000

Who's on the bag...Martin Rowley

Martin Rowley, otherwise known as 'Rolls',is the Chairman of the European Tour Caddies Association and when he is not sorting out the vagaries of keeping the caddies in line and negotiating better deals for them around the continent, he caddies for Yorkshireman Ian Garbutt (pictured).

We caught up with 'Rolls recently and grilled him on our famous 20 questions for the caddies to find out some of the inside knowledge and stories you all want to hear about! Take it away 'Rolls'...

How did you start caddieing on tour?
When I was on holiday in Spain, I ran into a friend of mine, DJ Russell and he convinced me to carry his bag the following week in Portugal. And 12 years later, I am still here.

What was your first paycheque worth?
I was paid weekly, very weekly! It was about £150 per week.

What was the biggest mistake you have ever made and what were the repercussions?
Being twenty minutes late one morning getting on to the practice ground and nearly being fired. Luckily, I just got the yellow card for that.

What is your favourite event?
The Dubai Desert Classic. The courses are great and there are good shops, restaurants and everything is of a first class service.

Which tour event offers the best social life in the evening?
I think Switzerland is the best for evenings out. Good pubs, bars, and a great atmosphere every time we go there.

Your favourite drink?
Either a good cider or a nice Chardonnay.

What is the best thing about being a caddie?
Being involved in Professional sport, we are the nearest thing to being a professional sportsman, without being a professional sportsman! It’s a great buzz.

What is the worst side of the job?
Travelling, Airports, Hotels, getting up early on a Tuesday morning to get to Heathrow and not getting home until Sunday night, if we are lucky.

What was your proudest moment on tour?
Probably helping Carl Mason win the Scottish Open at Gleneagles in 1994.

What is the most important decision that you and your boss have ever made?
The whole job is about decisions. We make good decisions every week. I remember when Ian Garbutt had a hole-in-one in Australia to win $100,000. He picked a six-iron and just wanted confirmation that he had enough club to carry the traps.

Have you ever been sacked?
Yeah, Eamonn Darcy. He just said in his usual fashion, ‘Dis ain’t workin mate’.

What type of course do you prefer to caddie on?
A flat one! Links courses are usually better on the legs for me.

Do you play golf?
Yes, I play occasionally, to about 15 or 16.

How do you feel when your boss takes his frustrations out on you?
It is part of the job. One of your roles is a whipping boy. But you have to be professional so that is doesn’t affect you. It's water off a ducks back for me now.

If you could caddie for anyone else in the history of the game, whom would you choose?
Probably Mo Norman. He was the best ball striker I have seen and the straightest hitter ever.

Which caddie is the best golfer on tour?
Jason Hempleman, David Howell’s caddie.

What is your hobby outside golf?
All sports, Cricket mainly, I follow Worcestershire.

What is the funniest thing your have ever seen on tour?
The boys on tour wound me up and they had this girl come along and chat me up. She handed me the room key and said to meet me upstairs shortly. I got to the room, sat on the end of the bed, took my trousers off and ran my hand up this leg. Richard Boxall was in bed fast asleep and sat bolt upright and said, ‘What’s going on Rowley?’ I fell off the bed into a suitcase and when the lights came on, half of the tour was in the room wetting themselves!

Your are on the final hole of a major and in contention, what would you say to your player?
I would just to create that feeling of confidence all the time, just simply reassure him and give him the confidence he needs to finish the job.

Why do they call you Rolls?
Rolls. Probably because I am a smooth ride!