DUBLIN, Ohio -- Professional golfers from around the world convene in Dublin this week for The Memorial Tournament, but during Tuesday’s practice round, a professional hockey player was taking part in the action.
Australian pro golfer Jason Day, winner of the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship and a rising star on the PGA Tour, asked Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski to take over for caddie Col Swatton during Tuesday’s practice round at the Memorial.
Wisniewski, a friend of Day’s and a scratch golfer in his own right, jumped at the opportunity after admittedly getting in his friend’s ear about the possibility. The tournament, hosted by Columbus native and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, draws in thousands of spectators from around the world to watch many of the world’s top 20 golfers this year, such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Luke Donald and Bubba Watson.
|Wisniewski played caddie for Jason Day on Tuesday. (CBJ.com) |
Day’s wife, Ellie Harvey Day, is from Lucas, Ohio and they currently reside in Westerville. Both Day and Wisniewski are members at Muirfield Village Golf Club and play golf together regularly, which is how the caddy position came about for Wisniewski.
“(Jason and I) became pretty good friends and I had been bugging him about doing a practice round for awhile, so he finally asked if I wanted to do it,” Wisniewski said. “It was great that I was able to experience coming out here with him.”
Wisniewski did more than just haul Day’s clubs around the rolling terrain of Muirfield Village on their practice round of nine holes as a caddy—he also helped him reading some putts and made use of the yardage book.
“I think I’ve played these greens enough where I could give him my advice,” said Wisniewski. “A couple times I was spot-on.”
Day appreciated Wisniewski’s advice and suggestions, even praising his golf knowledge and ability – lofty praise from one of the best in the world.
“Wiz is good, he’s really good,” said Day. “He doesn’t play tournaments much because he’s always on the ice. But he actually gave me all the reads out there. He knows this course like the back of his hand because he plays out here all the time.”
Wisniewski plays a lot of golf during the off season it takes up a lot of his free time, but less this year with a newborn baby girl at home. He has played golf for several years and it was a passion before hockey came into the picture.
“Golf was actually my first sport,” said Wisniewski. “I started (golfing) when I was two years old and I didn’t start playing hockey until I was 5. With being on the ice in the winter and golf in the summer, the two just go hand-in-hand.”
Day appreciated the advice from the Blue Jacket and said that he would consider bringing Wisniewski back on as a caddy in the future.
“He did a really great job,” said Day. “If he needs a job after hockey, he definitely has a caddy job with me.”