Honda Classic rain sparks caddie controversy: ‘We need indoor shelter’

An electronic board warns of dangerous weather as play is suspended Saturday during the third round of The Honda Classic.

David Cannon/Getty Images

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. –€“ The third round of the Honda Classic on Saturday included a little bit of golf, 5 inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 55 mph.

Those weather conditions forced tens of thousands of spectators to seek shelter wherever they could find it. Many piled onto buses — where they became stuck because of flooded roads — or fled inside the resort itself at PGA National Resort & Spa and filled every chair, bench and spare floor space in sight.

As spectators scrambled for shelter, tales of caddies doing the same gained traction on social media. Several posts on Twitter suggested caddies weren’t given the same treatment as players or even spectators. Many caddies reported they had been relegated to a metal structure with one side open to the elements and expressed disappointment in the tournament and, by extension, the PGA Tour.

The structure, which could comfortably hold about 30 caddies, was only 10 yards from the trailer that provided food for caddies all week. About 10 caddies sought shelter from the elements inside the trailer. According to those caddies, there was room for another 10 to 15 people inside, but remaining caddies chose not to enter the trailer.

Some bagmen are boycotting the caddie trailer after allegations of poor treatment of one caddie inside the trailer three weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open. The caddie trailer is run by the Professional Tour Caddies of America and financially supplemented by the PGA Tour, which is at odds with the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

The APTC recently filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour in federal court. The caddies’ allegations in the Northern District of California include claims of antitrust and breach of contract.

"I think part of the challenge is our normal policy is not to have the caddies in the locker room," said Ed McEnroe, tournament director at the Honda Classic. "The routing plan is to bring them back to the clubhouse, and we have a cart barn downstairs and we have hundreds of thousands of square feet in the resort as a safe haven as well."

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A frenzy of spectators seeking shelter meant tournament officials did not fully implement the evacuation plan for caddies, who more or less were left on their own.

Still, several caddies took shelter in their cars, which were parked within 50 yards of the caddie trailer, and some did get into the building that housed the locker room and player dining. Those caddies sat outside the locker room, and some used the resort itself for shelter.

Here are some of the comments made Saturday on Twitter:

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Tour tracker: Honda Classic, Sunday