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Life as a caddy on the PGA Tour

When caddie Scott Gneiser isn't bouncing his new baby boy, Charles David, on his lap, he's lifting weights to prepare for the season as looper for David Toms.

''I'm starting to work out a little bit more now, doing cardio and a little weightlifting,'' Gneiser says. ''I'm 37, and the knees aren't holding up as well as they used to. It starts getting tougher walking a golf course.''

Gneiser's preparation includes pulling out his yardage books, which show distances on each hole at tournament courses, to refresh his memory.

''I do that just to get them ready,'' he says. ''But you never know if they've changed the course. The biggest thing they've been doing is lengthening them.''

If there are changes, Gneiser familiarizes himself at the tournament site.

Looping for Toms puts Gneiser among golf's elite caddies. Toms was fourth on the 2002 money list at $3,459,739.

''It's fair to say you can make a pretty good living caddying for a top player,'' says Gneiser, whose father-in-law is NHL Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, an avid golfer.

Gneiser and Toms hooked up in the middle of 1999, about 10 years after Gneiser started working as a caddie, when Toms and his bag man split.

Toms gave Gneiser a trial run and they clicked. Toms tied for fourth in their first event together, the Kemper Open.

''I've won six tournaments with David,'' Gneiser says. ''There have been some good ones.''

The victory list includes the 2001 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, where Toms made a hole-in-one during the third round at the par-3 No. 15.

''He's been a tremendous help since he's been on my bag,'' says Toms, whose 2003 debut will come in the Phoenix Open. ''We've been a good team.''

Toms believes Gneiser does his best work under pressure.

''When we have to make a big decision or hit a big shot, he doesn't get excited,'' says Toms, 36, a Louisiana native. ''He stays calm enough to keep me calm.''

They discuss shots and situations, but Gneiser picks his spots.

''You know when to say things, tell him he was wrong or argue your case,'' Gneiser says. ''And you know when not to say things. You have to be honest and positive. No negative thoughts out there.''

Virtually all of the Tour's top 125 players employ full-time caddies.

Family members have carried bags, among them Davis Love III's brother, Mark, and Steve Stricker's wife, Nicki.

Some twosomes become good friends, as is the case with Toms and Gneiser.

Toms was an All-American at LSU. He's a big LSU fan and has Gneiser cheering for the Tigers, although Gneiser is from the Midwest and lives in Willowbrook, Ill. Toms lives in Shreveport, La. They have been to each other's houses.

''We pal around together and have dinner together,'' Toms says.

There will be times on Tour when Gneiser's knees will ache. He'll miss his son, who was born Oct. 8. But Gneiser loves the action.

''It's a rush when you're out there,'' he says. ''You live and die with each shot, just like the golfers.

''I'll keep going as long as it's fun and I can make a good living.''

 

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