Flint golfer makes LPGA Tour ‘debut’ caddying for Tiger Woods’ niece
Updated Jul 17, 12:23 PM; Posted Jul 17, 7:07 AM
Willie Mack III of Flint tied for third in last month's Michigan Open.
By Brendan Savage | email@example.com
FLINT, MI -- Willie Mack III of Flint is going to make his LPGA Tour debut this week.
Yup, Mack will be between the ropes for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland but he won’t be swinging a club. Instead, he’ll be serving as a caddie for Cheyenne Woods, a buddy from the days when both were playing on the junior golf circuits around the country.
Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, is among the 144 players who will compete in the first team event in LPGA history. She’ll be playing with former Wake Forest teammate Olafia Kristinsdottir when the event begins today at Midland Country Club.
Grand Blanc's Willie Mack III qualifies to play on PGA Tour Latinoamerica
Mack shot 69-72-70-73--284 at the qualifying tournament in Bogota, Columbia.
Woods was in need of a caddie this week and knowing that Mack was from nearby Flint, she texted him to see if he was interested in looping for her.
Mack was happy to help and will be carrying a bag for the first time since doing it for fellow Flint pro Shasta Averyhardt -- who is also good friends with Woods -- several years ago during a Monday qualifier.
“I think (Woods has) been going through caddies, local caddies, so it’s probably good to have somebody that she’s friends with to keep her loose,” Mack said Tuesday night. "I’m just there for whenever she needs some help.
“We know how to play golf. Whenever (she) needs some help, you can chime in and help out.”
Mack, who said he played Midland CC while in high school, is free this week because he's between events on his schedule.
The 2011 Michigan Amateur champion has been playing various mini-tours and other events around the country while pursuing his dream of making it to the PGA Tour.
He tied for third in last month's Michigan Open after holding the second-round lead and has been a regular on the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour, where his four top-10 finishes include a victory in the Tampa tournament back in March.
The only time he missed the top 10 on the APGA this year was when he finished 15th in Scottsdale.
“There are two events left,” Mack said. "The money leader on the tour gets $20,000 at the end of the year, Q School paid for and an exemption to (the PGA Tour event at) Rivieria.
"I was first going into the last event that we played in Dallas. I came in seventh and moved down to second place by only by 56 points or so. It's pretty close."
After next week’s event in Chicago, Mack will head to the APGA Tour Championship Aug. 19-20 in Atlanta. But before trying to earn that free trip to the PGA Tour Qualifying tournament, he’ll tee it up in the Michigan PGA’s Tournament of Champions July 29-31 at Boyne Falls.
If he doesn’t win the trip to Q School, Mack said he might try and instead qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour -- formerly the Web.com Tour -- or make a run at playing on the European PGA Tour.
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Willie Mack III is thankful to be alive.
Mack said he’s been to Q School "five or six times: and admits it’s been frustrating at times not getting a chance to realize his dream and play on the world’s best circuit. But at the same time, “a lot of people have tried way more times than me and get through on the their 10th, 11th try,” he said.
One good thing is he's been making enough money in the various tournaments to finance his career and is encouraged by the way he's been playing since putting a new set of irons into his bag two months ago.
“I’ve been playing pretty good since I got those,” he said. “I was having club problems for two years and finally got some clubs that I can rely on and trust. Hopefully that brings some better luck this year.”