PINEHURST, N.C. – It’d be tough to have a better week than Kevin Kisner just did.
On Monday, the 30-year-old pro welcomed a new baby daughter into the world. On Thursday, he teed off in his first U.S. Open. And late on Friday afternoon, Kisner gave his father a transcendent Father’s Day gift: the opportunity to caddy for his son at Pinehurst.
“It was a good week for us,” Kisner grinned moments after finishing his round.
Kisner’s remarkable week began at 5 a.m. Monday in his hometown of Aiken, S.C. That’s when Kisner and his wife Brittany left for the hospital to induce their child. (The little one was originally due this coming Sunday.) At 2:49 p.m., the Kisners welcomed Kathleen Grace into the world, and barely 24 hours later, Kisner himself was on the road to Pinehurst.
He managed exactly 12 holes of practice before rain washed him out; the next time he teed it up was 6:56 a.m. Thursday. He played the first nine in +1, and then everything fell apart. He finished Thursday at +5, stumbled to start the second round, and by the 16th hole was +10 and looking at a weekend back at home.
Which would have been fine except for one thing: Kisner had wanted to honor his father Steven by having him carry Kisner’s bag on Sunday. TaylorMade had already stitched Steven’s name onto the back of the bag, part of a campaign to honor all its golfers’ fathers or children. But with such a rugged performance, the only bag the elder Kisner would carry for Kevin on Sunday would be a diaper bag.
So Kevin called an audible. Just before the 17th hole, Duane Bock, Kevin’s caddy, walked over to Steven, who was standing behind the ropes in the gallery.
“Here,” Duane said, “you go finish it off.”
Steve declined at first out of respect for Duane. Plus, as he later admitted, he’d had a couple beers while walking the course. But he quickly relented, donning the blue vest that read KISNER on the back, hoisting the bag that had his own name on it.
“What an experience,” Steven said. “It was tremendous. I’ve followed him since he was a kid. This was the epitome of golf.”
Here's video of father and son in action together:
What followed was … well, it was a bit of a mess, frankly. Kevin bogeyed both of the holes, finding sand with seemingly every swing. He plugged his approach shot on 17 into the lip of the bunker and took two shots to get it out. He then found sand again on 18, and when he received his wedge, found it still covered in dirt from the previous hole.
“You’re not very good at this cleaning-clubs stuff, huh?” Kevin said.
“If you wouldn’t have hit it twice in the bunker, I might have cleaned it,” Steve shot back.
“He does nothing but give me grief,” smiled Steve after the round, “especially if he makes a mistake.”
Kevin has spent most of his career bouncing back and forth between golf’s many tours. He’s got two top-10 finishes in 60 PGA Tour events. He’s also one of eight Georgia Bulldogs, including Bubba Watson, Harris English and Brendon Todd, in the field at this year’s U.S. Open. Sure, Kisner is going home early, but so is Watson … and it’s a sure bet Kisner’s going home happier than the two-time Masters champion.
"I'll forget all about [the score at] this tournament," Kisner said in a weary McConaughey-esque drawl. "This meant so much more than that."
So, yeah … Kevin Kisner basically gave his dad the greatest Father’s Day gift possible. How are the rest of us supposed to compete with that?
“Y’all," he laughed, "better come through on Sunday.”