Tour pro’s caddie suffers heat distress in steamy Memphis and fan comes to rescue to tote bag

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MEMPHIS — Perhaps the coolest day Andrew Argotsinger ever had on a golf course was serving as caddie for his brother, Danny, in last year’s U.S. Open qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, where they were paired with PGA Tour player Andrew Putnam. Now it’s the second coolest day of his life.

On Friday at TPC Southwind, Argotsinger was pressed into duty again as a caddie, this time for four-time tour winner Harris English in the middle of the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. When English’s regular caddie, Eric Larsen, got wobbly from heat exhaustion on the second tee, their 11th hole of the day, Putnam pointed English in the direction of Argotsinger, the head pro at nearby Windyke Country Club.

“I had just gotten there when they were making the turn, so I walked the first hole, and then on the second tee I saw Eric take a knee,” Argotsinger said. “Next thing you know, Andrew [Putnam] is telling Harris, ‘Hey, I know this guy can caddie.’ And there we went. It was pretty surreal.”

Larsen, who has caddied for English for the last six years, said he had not eaten much and drank only Gatorade throughout the day as temperatures soared into the 90s and the heat index peaked at 119. Once the heat index exceeds 100, caddies are allowed to remove their bibs, but Larsen hadn’t yet done so when he bent over to tie his shoe on the second tee and felt woozy when he stood up straight. He was taken to the clubhouse and received a saline IV, and by the time English holed out for a one-over 71, Larsen was up and walking around.

“I’m glad he stopped when he did and didn’t keep going ’cause it could have gotten bad if he kept pressing,” said English, who stands at one-over 141 through 36 holes. “It’s tough out there. Really brutal. I grew up in South Georgia, and I think it’s the hottest I’ve ever felt on a golf course.”

Argotsinger, 29, said that English kept it light and did most of the yardages himself, and that he didn’t have to do too much except carry the bag, “though I did suggest he change clubs on the last hole. He hit it to eight feet and made birdie.”

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Argotsinger attended Mississippi State to earn his PGA Golf Management degree. He’s been head pro at Windyke for six years but has had an opportunity to play TPC Southwind several times. His best score is 72, though he never has had to play it when it’s set up for the tour’s first FedEx Cup Playoff event. But walking the fairways with English, Putnam and Eric Cole was way more fun.

“How many guys get to walk inside the ropes and talk to these guys during a PGA Tour round? Yeah, it was a pretty incredible day,” he said.

As he spoke, Argotsinger had two souvenir Yetis tucked under his arm. Larsen also slipped him $100 for his efforts. “I told him to go have a nice dinner,” Larsen said. “Hey, he bailed me out.”

English offered to get him tickets for the final two rounds, but Argotsinger couldn’t accept.

“Nope,” he said. “I have to go back to work tomorrow.”

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